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5 Essential Tips For Entertaining Guests

Custom Newport Fire Pit

Entertaining Guests

When entertaining guests, there are tried to tips and tricks for a successful night of entertaining guests.  We outline the 5 most essential of those in this latest article.

Drink To Guest Ratio

Dinner party hosts all share a common frustration in not knowing how much alcohol to buy for a set quantity of guests.  This battle can be won, and there is a magic ratio which will allow you to plan ahead without over buying.  A successful night of entertaining guests hinges on having the right amount of beverage for your guests.drink1

Amount Per Guest

Guests will drink 2 drinks the first hour they arrive and then 1 drink per hour after that.  For the scientific types, Bevmo has a nice calculator that does all of the work for you.


Most cocktails call for 1.5 ounces of spirits.  If you divide this by the typical 750ml bottle, you will be able to make 16 drinks.


Depending on how you pour, there are 5 glasses in a 750ml bottle of wine.  The rule for planning is to have 1 bottle on hand for every 3 to 4 guests per hour of the party.


A 12 ounce bottle of beer per person (who drinks beer) per hour will satisfy your beer purchase.

The difficult portion is knowing the tastes, likes and dislikes of all your guests to purchase the proper ratio.  Again, the calculator above works nicely for this scenario.

Long Tables Stimulate Conversation

There was a method behind the madness of the long royal tables of the medieval era.  The reason being was that with long tables, all of the guests were able to congregate at a single location.

The effectiveness has not diminished with the onset of our digital age and has been adopted by some of the most popular restaurantes today.  Last week*, we installed our 10 foot long tables for patios at TGIFridays restaurants around the world.

At your next dinner party, you can create a memorable night by placing all of your guests at a single table.  You will see conversations and interactions take flight like you never would otherwise.  Each guest will have potential for exchanges on both sides of them and in front of them.  This will occur amongst the whole table as a chain reaction of merry making ensues from the long table effect.

Multiple Course Meals

mealThere is nothing more special when entertaining guests than to have a 4-7 course meal. There is no more sincere sign of friendship than to prepare a meal for your friends.  Below are some of the courses you can focus on to wow the guests you are entertaining.


As mentioned below, have appetizers accompanied by an aperitif wine when your guests arrive.  The combination of the two are a great way to catalyze the appetites of your guests without overfilling them before the main course.  Some great examples of aperitif drinks are: vermouth; champagne; pastis; gin; rakı; fino, amontillado.


The entree is a chance to wow your guest with the new recipe you have been wanting to try.  This is a smaller plate and often in the form of a salad.  A lighter less full bodied wine is a good pairing.

Main Course

This is the time to shine and really treat your guests above and beyond restaurant quality because you are able to buy at market prices.  Seafood and aged cuts of beef are all fair game here.  A bold and appropriate wine pairing is the best choice for the main course.  A Screaming Eagle cabernet sauvignon, lobster tail, and filet mignon are an ideal combo.


The dessert is the closer for your grand night of entertaining guests.  A rich and memorable dessert accompanied by coffee, and a digestif drink will leave all of your guests more than satisfied.  Some great choices for digestifs are brandy, scotch, fortified wines like port, and largely anything else high in alcohol that aids digestion.

Stimulate all Senses

When you are entertaining guests, making the experience a memorable one is the chief aim.  A long held secret of imprinting this experience in the mind of your guests is to target all of their senses with your home preparation.  Here are five ways to target the five senses:


As soon as your guest walk into your home, they should be greeted by a sweet aroma of the meal to come as well as the cleanliness of your home.  Use of herbs and spices within your meal a short time before the arrival of your guests is a sure way to waft that memorable scent into your guests olfactory.  For the cleanly smell, candles and diffusers are a perfect way to show off that just cleaned fragrance.


There is no more visual experience that can wow your guests than flame. This is especially impressive as it sits on top beautiful granite and glass chips.  As the flame dances and throws shadows around your home, it is sure to leave a lasting impression.  The Cooke Furniture Balboa Fire Pit table is the perfect example of visual component of your dinner party, sure to be unforgettable in the minds of your guests.


A distinctive soundtrack that exemplifies your family and fits the taste of your guests, will truly stimulate the hearing sense of your guest.  The guests you are entertaining will come to anticipate that genre of country or smooth jazz music as they recline at one of your Cooke Fire Pit tables.  It will be the soundtrack for a night of entertaining, your guests will never forget.


Delicious food, and plenty of it is a must for a successful night of entertaining guests.  This sense has two sides to it though.  Bad food is equally memorable in the minds of your guests.  Have hors d’oeuvre readily available as soon as your guests enter the door. It is another sense you will be able to touch upon entrance of your home and will create an image in the mind of your guests they will never forget.


There is no better way to touch your guests than by the warmth of a Cooke Fire Pit Table.  Since every Cooke Fire Pit Table runs off of either propane or natural gas, the table is equipped to keep your guests comfortably warm at any time.  The guests you are entertaining will never forget a warm night around the fire.

Talk to Each Guest

This is one of the most understated tips, but arguably the most important.  Being present and sharing time with each guest is indicative of a successful night of entertaining guests.  We all have memories of being at loved one’s houses who run around the kitchen and house preparing and taking drink orders.  While this is an element of hospitality, it should be streamlined and carried out with ease.  Touching your guests by sharing a moment to catch up with them is the point of the reason you are sharing the night together.  Take the time to chat and connect with every guest on your invite list and your esteemed attendees will never forget the night of entertaining at your house.