Capella Marigot Bay Resort in Saint Lucia

A study by British formalwear company Austin Reed found that one in fi ve men said the most important element of a good wedding was getting everyone tipsy. Roger that. But planning a bar at a destination is more complicated than at home you can’t simply drive out to your favorite liquor store, load up the trunk and set up shop. Here’s how to make your reception bar memorable. 1 Incorporate local booze Stocking your bar with local alcohol is great, off ers Derek Brown, a spirits writer and judge who owns several acclaimed bars in Washington, D.C. It off ers something distinct and something you can’t usually get. Some destination off erings might jump out at you, such as ron (rum) in Puerto Rico or wine in California.

But don’t always go the most obvious direction. Mexico is one of my favorite countries for spirits, but don’t just throw yourself into tequila, warns Trevor Frye, beverage director of the whiskey bar Jack Rose and mixology expert on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. Instead, opt for mezcal. It’s smoky, it’s got a lot of body, and you can treat it just like a whiskey.

Embrace the trends Signature punches are popular choices that also save you cash and streamline logistics. Instead of off ering any cocktail available to mankind, just do a special punch or two, says Brown, something for the bride and something for the groom. That also limits the number of spirits you need. When you’re on a private beach with minimal service support, handle the legwork in advance. If you don’t have a bar staff , pick a mass-appealing recipe and just batch it out, suggests Frye i.e., pre-make the drink and pour as needed. But even at a hotel, the bartenders might not always be up to snuff . They might just be servers who are put behind the bar, laments Brown. Having a punch is an easy way to get around that skill level and make sure you have something delicious. Offer a preview Plan a group excursion during your stay.

Make going to a winery, brewery or distillery part of the itinerary, suggests Brown. Guests can get a sneak peek at what to expect behind the bar, and you’ll get bonus points for keeping everyone entertained. 4 Have a plan Knowing your guests and their drinking habits is important, says Emily Andersen, catering manager at Capella Marigot Bay Resort in Saint Lucia. Do your guests drink more beer and wine, or liquor? Are your guests heavy drinkers? If you’re buying the supplies, she suggests planning for at least six to seven drinks per adult. Don’t just leave the airport with crates of booze from the duty-free shop, either. Buy directly at the local establishments you’re touring (prearrange this so they’re ready) or contact a local distributor. For an open bar, expect to pay at least $20 to $25 hourly per person, with premium wines and spirits potentially doubling that fi gure.

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