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Stock up on the spirit(s)

In December, it pays to have a well-stocked bar. And it doesn’t have to cost you a bomb. Girija Duggal guides you about high spirits...

india Updated: Dec 19, 2008 16:37 IST
Tavern talk | Girija Duggal

Scene 1: You’ve invited guests for a Christmas party and you are running around frantically trying to locate the corkscrew
Scene 2: A lady you’d rather not disappoint would like a simple rum-and-cola. You don’t have one — or either. By the time you arrange for it, she’s left, and you’re left with an unused bottle and a dampened holiday spirit.

What it boils down to is this: in December, it pays to have a well-stocked bar. And it doesn’t have to cost you a bomb.
Here’s a guide:

Vodka: This neutral spirit should take top spot, for you can use it for a range of cocktails. Flavoured vodkas are a superb holiday idea, too.

Whisky: Keep at least two bottles in stock, to be served on the rocks. Better yet, make hot toddy.

Rum: Like vodka, it’s a very versatile spirit. Try something other than rum-and-coke; a rum toddy, perhaps?

Brandy: Always a sure shot way to beat the cold.

Beer: In this season? Really? If a guest asks, plead zero reserves.

Wine: Christmas without wine is unpardonable. Stock up on a few bottles of reds and whites; go the extra length by including a bottle or two of rosé. If you really want to have a memorable evening, make mulled wine in advance and serve warm. And don’t worry about having to spend a fortune — Indian wines are great value for money!

Champagne/sparkling wine: A New Year eve favourite more than a Christmas special, a couple of bottles are a must. Again, Indian labels are great VFM.

Juices, colas and soda: Unless you want to have a bland affair, these are a must — orange and cranberry juices in particular.

Right equipment: A shaker, an ice bucket, a peg measure, a corkscrew and a bottle opener are basic tools.

Liqueurs: Kahlua, Irish cream or drambuie are great after-meal options.

Garnishes: Lime wedges, cherries, olives, etc are prime show-off material.

Try out some basic cocktails beforehand (you’d do well to check out for classic recipes). Enter the season’s spirit in style. And a merry Christmas to you!