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Episode 418 - On Hand
Bar Talk
Be prepared...
What to do when friends come calling unexpectedly? Well, you can become the host with the most in no time at all if you know how to make use of the things that you have around the house. It is always important to keep your bar stocked and there are several items you might want to have on hand in case guests surprise you with a visit.

Firstly, red and white wines are drinks that most of us like to enjoy with a meal. I usually keep about four of my favourite red and white wines on hand. If you don't have a wine cellar you can just keep them stored on their side in a very cool, dry place or in a refrigerator (for white). The same goes for champagne. You don't necessarily need to have the most expensive bottle available in your fridge but having a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne on hand is certainly handy for creating a Mimosa or a Morning Glory.

Another good reason for keeping your own mini wine collection is if you have to go to someone's house unexpectedly. Wrap it up and you're on your way with a nice gesture for your host or hostess in hand.

Having worked in the hotel industry, we often talk about "the big five," Vodka, Rum, Scotch, Gin, and Rye. These are liquors that bartenders depend on most for cocktails: Rum and Coke, Gin and Tonic, Rye and Ginger, Vodka and Orange juice, Scotch and Soda, etcetera.

Let's say you or your guests are tea totallers and alcoholic beverages are a no-no. One thing I always have on hand is a case of sparkling mineral water. I like to serve it at dinner parties, perfect if somebody wants a cool, refreshing cleansing of the palate.

If you're really feeling adventurous, why not keep a can of coconut syrup or coconut milk handy? It's the best ingredient for turning a little cocktail reception into a tropical island fantasy.

Lemons and limes are also very important. Great garnishes, they are also wonderful flavour enhancers. However, if you're like me, you often forget to pick them up at the supermarket. Not to worry if you have a bottle of a pre-squeezed juice on hand at home.

Last thing is not to worry about having a perfectly stocked bar. It takes time to build up a collection of yours and your friends' favourites. Take my advice you will find that when you have to be the perfect host at a moment's notice things won't get out of hand because you will have everything on hand.