Holiday Party Season

When I have a party, no matter how experienced the bartender is, I have to lay out the tools to be used to make most types of mixed drinks. I don’t assume that he or she will come equipped. Who, after all, has a set of gadgets? This goes for a personal or company party. For both, you want to hit all the buttons and take care of all the details. This goes for everything from the liquor, beer, and wine to the corkscrew and martini shaker. Make yourself a checklist and you won’t go wrong.

In other words, I understand that bartenders have tools of the trade without which they cannot make magic. I know that hairdressers carry around scissors in a roll up pouch and even an assortment of brushes. This is not true for the bartender trade. They expect supplies to be awaiting upon their arrival. They usually don’t give you a master list when they are hired. You might think of the obvious ones, like a cocktail shaker and some wine glasses, but what about one of the other essentials – a portable ice maker? As party coordinator or host, you just have to know this stuff. Hence this practical, how to run an office party blog post.

Come holiday time, you better book plenty early. Bartending is a great temp job to have and pays well by the hour. You can be guaranteed four hours or more, plus you may get a bonus tip for a job well done. Many people are vying for such work in December, but there is often a short supply and great demand. I don’t think it is unwise to book a month or more in advance. This goes for all your holiday party help including caterers, wait staff, cleanup crew, valet, etc. Be a boy scout and be prepared.

The bar is, of course, the focal point of any party. People socialize as they wait for their drinks. The fact that there is a lineup is actually a good thing. The bartender will work his or her fanny off if there is a crowd, but some waiting is inevitable. If your hired help has the right tools as mentioned, the work will flow much faster. You can’t have too many bottle openers and corkscrews by the way, at least enough for all bartenders on call.

Food is on a par with the drinks. People like to eat fancy fare, but they get busy talking and chatting, so they often go hungry. Inviting people to the buffet table is one important host or hostess job. As for the bar, well people find it themselves! You might have separate food stations for appetizers, entrée, and dessert. If they are dispersed, there is more room for people to move about and mingle.

Party etiquette goes without saying. At a company part, no one should get drunk. If so, they can be politely asked to leave with a designated driver. Never let an employee who looks and acts inebriated to drive a car, and certainly not with any passengers. Other etiquette has to do with flirting and possible sexual harassment. When the liquor flows, the mind goes, as they say. Your corporate policy on such things should carry over at party time and be understood by all right at the start.

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