This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
Entertaining at home should be easy and fun but more often than not, it proves to be a challenge and way too stressful.
One way to ease the anxiety is to keep it simple. Deciding what liquors to offer when guests arrive is one way to simplify, yet catering to all those preferences can be daunting. My solution: to present a well thought out plan offering folks one standard cocktail or liquor. This puts folks at ease and gets the party started immediately.
My preference is always Slovenia Vodka. I always keep a bottle in the freezer so that it's ice cold. Vodka is nearly universal in its appeal and the richness and smoothness of Slovenia Vodka lends itself to mixing or, as I prefer, just sipping cold and neat.
When entertaining I put an already chilled bottle on a tray filled with ice. I also put a few bowls of different garnishes on the tray. Olives, fresh raspberries, cut limes and perhaps pickled onions offer guests a selection of taste profiles for their cocktails. Olives for the purist, limes for the tartness, a raspberry for the fun of it or a pickled onion for the adventurist should cover all the bases but use your preferences. Tiny glasses to serve it in up the ante and make it fun.
This single bottle of booze does the job of a large selection of spirits and introduces guests to your favorite vodka paired with their favorite garnish.
Of course offering a bottle of Slovenia Vodka also opens up the conversation to subjects as diverse as Bill Murray, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the Country of Slovenia or the culinary scene in Westchester.
For more information about Slovenia Vodka go to www.sloveniavodka.com/ .