Friday, November 16, 2012

Hosting Large Parties

    In the last year, I decided it would be a great idea to start hosting large parties at my house. This was largely due to a misplaced sense of laziness. I figured if I hosted the party, I could drink with impunity and didn't have far to go to get to my bed. I completely miscalculated. Hosting a party is a, as a previous student of mine used to refer to it, "metric fuck-ton" of work. Where did I go wrong? After a couple more attempts, I figured out what to do to keep the workload to a minimum but still make sure everyone has a good time.

Don't Try To Do Everything Yourself
This is where I went wrong the first time around. I tried cooking enough for everyone, even though people were bringing food. I made labor intensive stuff, too. Far Breton, pan bangat, pizzas completely from scratch, egg rolls, crab rangoon, hot wings. I lose track. I got it all out and it was a hit, but I was exhausted and it ended up being too much food.

Now I keep the food simple. I stick with what's popular with my group. The triple slow cooker comes out and holds a couple of dips and a warmer for hot wings. I might make a pizza. Maybe do a chili bar. I know everybody who shows is generally bringing something, so now I just cook the favorites. I'm done trying to impress a large group.

Have Room In The Fridge
People are going to bring stuff that needs to be kept cold. With my group, it's usually cases of Bud Light, but there you go.
"I need you to make some space in the fridge."
If you're lucky, it will be cold outside and you can just leave the beer on the patio. If not, have coolers ready to go. You don't want stuff melting all over the counter.

Have Enough Ice
This is hugely important. Even if you have an ice-maker on your fridge, it's not going to be enough. Assume you'll need about a pound of ice per person attending. If there's a blizzard, you can always break icicles off the eaves and throw snow in cups. Just don't run out!

Have Enough Booze
I don't expect people to bring booze to my parties. Maybe beer, because I don't really keep it in the house. For a party, I will have at least a fifth of each of the following: rum (spiced and flavored), vodka (plain and at least one flavored), tequila (silver), bourbon (cheap), gin, and a couple liqueurs (Bols, Campari or something like that). I also make sure I have plenty of mixers. Sodas, vermouth (sweet and dry), grenadine, rose's lime juice, bitters, sour mix, etc. I also have a mini-kegerator that I'll load with a 5L mini-keg of some fun beer (usually Kostrizer or Oberon). 
Be prepared to grab car keys or arrange rides. My house has lots of futons, so I can have people crash there. Be responsible. People don't come back to your events if they get DUIs or die.

Realize No Matter How Much Entertainment You Have, Everybody Is Staying In The Kitchen
I had the poker table ready to go. I had the dartboard ready to go. I had the living and game rooms ready to go. Nobody left the kitchen/dining room. 
The fact that this is our dining room tends to keep people in the area.
I actually like it this way. It keeps the damage to a minimum.  Everybody stays in a big, loud group while they eat and drink. It warms the cockles of my heart. Even the sub-cockle region.

Accept That You're Not Going To Sit Down
This drives my wife batty. I don't sit while I'm entertaining. I'm on the move. I'm keeping platters full and empty plates moving toward the trash. I'm swapping out empty bottles and mixing cocktails. Clean as you go. You want to be able to just go to bed when everyone leaves.  I generally don't sit down until almost everyone has left. Then I sit and the alcohol I've been imbibing all night finally hits and I pass out at the table.

Good times!

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