Menu planning for a crowd can be a difficult chore. The next time you are entertaining guests, use the suggestions below to craft delicious dinner and drink pairings for the perfect party atmosphere.


A Spanish Classic: Sangria and Paella


The top trick for self-catering your party is choosing items that can satisfy a crowd and are easily prepared ahead of time. One of the classic make-ahead drinks is Sangria. Whether you opt to use a traditional red varietal like Tempranillo or a refreshing white Albarino, you can mix your pitcher hours in advance. Of course, Sangria pairs perfectly with the traditional paella. This rice dish also works best when made in advance, giving the grains plenty of time to absorb all the accompanying flavors. With recipes that use meat or fish, you can find something for every palate.


The All American: Burgers and Beer


If your crowd is into the classics, you can always rely on the golden standard of burgers and beer. Rather than serving just the basics, use this opportunity to surprise your guests. Throw some bison burgers on the grill, or make your vegetarian guests feel right at home with a smoky portobello patty. When you’re out buying the beer, make sure your liquor store has a wide variety of variety packs. These cases often feature a selection of crowd-pleasers, ensuring that there is something for everyone.


Nothing But Fun: Moscow Mules and Fish Tacos


Tacos are not just for Tuesdays. In fact, they are the perfect party food—handheld, customizable, and endlessly enjoyable. Keep the recipe simple with some lightly seasoned grilled white fish (like Mahi Mahi or Red Snapper) and a few choice toppings. One flavor that goes wonderfully with fish is ginger, making the Moscow Mule a great addition to this menu. They’re a fine choice for a crowd when mixed as a pitcher, leaving more time for enjoying your guests’ company.


Mambo Italiano: Italian and Aperol


One of the most popular aperitifs in Italy, Aperol Spritzes are the perfect selection. As a party drink they stand out for their fun appearance and ease of execution. With just 3 ingredients—Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water—the Aperol Spritz is easy for even the most novice bartender. The citrus kick of this drink pairs nicely with a wide variety of Italian classics. Whether this is a homemade pizza party or an excuse to use tomatoes from your own garden, this is a pairing that always works.


One final tip: when preparing a new meal for a party, it’s always best to read the recipes from start to finish and do a test run before making it for guests. There are endless combinations a host could consider, but these four pairings are sure to win over a crowd.

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