A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"


Cocktail Party on the Beach

June 24th, 2004

Watching the sunset while sitting on the beach is one of the joys of summer. Why not make the most of it this summer, and have a cocktail party with friends. You can get very elaborate, and have a fancy catered soirée, but you can also keep it simple, easy, inexpensive, yet fun.

For drinks either serve wine or mixed drinks – not both. Barbera, Valpolicella, or Cote du Rhone would be a nice red wine to serve. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Pinot Grigio would be a light crisp white. Serve in plastic throwaway glasses. Or for those looking to get a little fancy, buy reusable plastic wine glasses (available at Crate & Barrel or Target for $2-3 each). For those that prefer cocktails, I think it is nice to serve a choice of two drinks. Earlier in the day premix your drinks, store them in quart containers that have lids, and chill in the refrigerator. Note that carbonated mixers will probably lose their fizz, so it may be best to avoid them. Two good summer choices would be a Tequila sunrise and a Vodka with lemonade. Bring a few bags of ice and serve in plastic glasses.

Food is always a nice accompaniment to drinks, but remember to keep it simple. I would serve only two appetizers. The idea is to have them precut, bite-size, and all pre-arranged on a serving platter. Note that if you cut a thick piece of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil, your platter is now disposable. Here are a few appetizer ideas: shrimp with a cocktail sauce, crudités of vegetables with a dip, cherry tomatoes stuffed with blue cheese, prosciutto rolled on the end of thin bread stick, guacamole with salsa, or olives.

Too much work? Fine, grab a bottle of champagne, some plastic cups and a blanket, and head off to see the sunset.


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