Make sure your bar is completely set up before your guests arrive. You’ll need:
• A pitcher for mixed drinks.
• Swizzle sticks for stirring drinks in glasses.
• A shot glass or jigger for measuring precise amounts for mixed drinks (and for pouring sensible quantities of unmixed drinks).
• A shaker set for those “shaken, not stirred” martinis and other drinks. Look for one that’s stainless steel on the outside and that has a glass insert.
• More ice than you think you’ll need. Running out of ice at a crucial moment can be very stressful. Get out the summer ice chests and fill them. Fill buckets and coolers to capacity and count on your guests to use 1/4 to 1/2 pound of ice cubes per person.
• A small cutting board and paring knife for cutting lemons and limes.
• Cocktail napkins. Here, paper rules and more is definitely better.
• A good corkscrew.
• A strainer, which allows chilled drinks to be poured into a glass without the ice cubes falling in.
• A long-handled spoon for stirring drinks in pitchers.
• A bottle opener.
• And last but not least, a designated bartender. Make sure someone is behind the bar to serve guests at least their first drink. Thereafter, partygoers can usually find their own way back to the bar and pour refills for themselves. If you can afford it, however, hire a professional bartender, who will make the setup, cleanup, and everything in between much easier.
PHOTO: © ANGELO CAGGIANO