Monday, November 10, 2008

Merry Go Round the World



Reader Brian recently asked for my opinion on a “Stock the Bar” party. I told him that this theme works well for a housewarming or a couple’s shower, but is hard to pull off on a random night. I mean you don’t want to force your friends to bring you a $20-30 bottle of alcohol and then serve them keg beer and tortilla chips.

Brian’s real goal was to have a party where he could serve a number of new cocktails and spirits for his guests to try. In brainstorming, we came up with idea of an Around the World party. While this may or may not end up as Brian’s final theme, it inspired some great ideas.

Consider these tips below to host your own Around the World party.
* Invite friends by sending them a blank passport that they will get stamped at each station.
* If you budget doesn’t allow for you to support the countries, ask friends to host a different stop.
* When guests arrive, create a “security check” when they walk in. Act as a TSA agent and take your friends’ coats. You can also hand them mini-airline bottles of alcohol for their “trip.”
* Create 3-4 stations around your apartment or house. For a bigger space, add more stops on the tour.
* Print and laminate flags from each of the countries to display at each stop.

Here are some tour stop recommendations:

* Hola Senorita: Recreate Mexico with a great salsa, guacamole and a paloma. After my co-workers went on a trip to Tequila, Mexico, they said that the Paloma was more popular with the locals than a traditional margarita. Add an activity to this stop with a piñata.

La Paloma
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- pinch of salt
- grapefruit soda (or Squirt)
Combine the tequila (reposado, preferably), lime juice, and salt in a tall glass. Add ice, top off with grapefruit soda, and stir. If you have some troubles finding the grapefruit soda (Mexican brand Jarritos), you can use Squirt as a last resort.

* Guten Tag: German’s love beer. Serve some specialty brews at this stop paired with giant soft pretzels. Bonus points if you have beer steins for guests to drink from.

* Bonjour: Nothing says France like French fries and Champagne. At this stop, create a photo opp for guests by purchasing a large portrait of the Eiffel Tower.

* Bellisimo Italy: A pizza station will be a hit for the stop in Italy – especially to satisfy those late night muchines. Complements the slice of pie with lemoncellio shots and red wine.

* Ni hao: For a stop in Asia, sample pot stickers and sake. Or you can hand out pieces of orange chicken on toothpicks like the do in the mall!

* Irish Eyes are Smiling: Irish people are known for being drunks. At this stop offers travelers some Guinness and Irish Coffee. Serve mini bowls of Lucky Charms!

Irish Coffee
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey1 tsp brown sugar6 oz hot coffeeheavy cream
Combine whiskey, sugar and coffee in a mug and stir to dissolve. Float cold cream gently on top. Do not mix.

The more props you have on hand at each station, the more fun the pictures will be. After the event, send friends a mini-photo album as a thank you and a way for them to remember their “trip.”

(Sources: esquire.com, drinksmixer.com. Images: walletgear.com, worldmapsonline.com, infus.com, tamu.edu, )

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