Appetizer and Beverages Basics

An appetizer and beverage buffet is a fun twist on entertaining and lends itself to a less formal atmosphere than a traditional sit-down dinner. But don't be intimidated by such an undertaking. These helpful hints make it a snap!

For an appetizer buffet that serves as the meal, offer five or six different appetizers (including some substantial selections) and plan on eight to nine pieces per guest. If you'll also be serving a meal, two to three pieces per person is sufficient.

In order to appeal to everyone's tastes and diets, have a balance of hearty and low-calorie appetizers as well as hot and cold choices.

So that you can spend more time with guests, look for appetizers that can be made ahead and require little last-minute fuss.

Chill all punch ingredients before mixing so that you don't have to dilute the punch with ice to get it cold. Or consider garnishing a cold punch with an ice ring (which lasts longer than ice cubes) made from punch ingredients instead of water.

For hot beverages, avoid shattering the serving bowl by making sure the bowl is heat-resistant and by warming the bowl with warm water before adding the hot punch. If you don't have a heat-resistant bowl, serve the punch in a chafing dish, fondue pot, slow cooker or in an attractive pan on the stovetop.

More Beverages »