Cooking For Crowds For Dummies
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If you are serving dinner to a Thanksgiving crowd you will need to include room in your budget for drinks. Plan on offering hot and cold drinks, decide whether you will serve alcoholic beverages, and always be sure to offer water. Also, don’t forget to have plenty of ice on hand.

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When serving soft drinks, it’s important when planning your menu and looking at your budget to decide whether to serve them from cans or 2-liter plastic bottles. Generally speaking, the plastic 2-liters are less expensive than cans. However, some people prefer to serve canned soft drinks because they think that if they do, they don’t have to provide cups and ice.

Regardless of how you serve soft drinks, always make sure you provide cups and ice.

One advantage of using bottles is that you tend to not have as much waste, because most people won’t drink a whole can. What usually happens is they get a can, start drinking it, and set it down, and eventually the drink gets warm — and face it, no one wants to drink a warm soft drink. All that’s left to do is get a new can.

When serving tea, lemonade, or limeade, you need to make sure you have a large enough container or enough smaller containers to hold the amount that you need for the event. Keep that fact in mind when you’re making up your list of things to borrow. Many times churches, auxiliary clubs, and the like will have a large drink container.

If you're planning to offer cocktails, be sure to stock up on mixers.

The following is a list of standard cold drink choices:

  • Coke or Pepsi

  • Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi

  • Dr. Pepper

  • Sprite or 7-Up

  • Ginger ale

  • Root beer

  • Orange or grape soda

  • Iced tea

  • Punch

  • Lemonade

  • Limeade

  • Sparkling water

Make sure you use good quality coffee cups, either ceramic or disposable. If you’re serving hot drinks to children, go for “warm” hot chocolate rather than “hot” chocolate, and so on. Here are a few quick suggestions to consider:
  • Coffee

  • Flavored coffees

  • Hot apple cider

  • Hot chocolate

  • Hot punches

About This Article

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Dawn Simmons is a professional caterer and teaches online catering courses.

Curt Simmons is the author of more than 50 books, including iPhoto For Dummies.

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