A major question I get about hosting people at your house and making cocktails for them is the question of what to make. It is very common among new bartenders and people new to cocktails I have a set of four questions I like to ask just to see the pallet of the person I’m going to serve and try and determine what drink will be best.
What liquors do you like?
The list of questions begins broadly to narrow down from the nearly endless supply of potential cocktails. This question will at least give you an idea of what people tend to like: light, dark, neutral, full, etc. While this narrows down the list a lot, there are still many possibilities.
What flavors do you like?
This helps to narrow down the other ingredients you may add to the drink. They can be further prompted with words like floral, sweet, citrusy, fruity, etc. You may naturally know from previous bartending and mixology the flavors that pair well together so you should be able to provide a decent list for them to pick from. This question should narrow it down to about 1-5
Cocktails you like?
This is the final “real” question for determining what cocktail you’ll make for them. This will lead you to pick a similar cocktail or even serve them one they already know that they like, which is always a safe bet. This should narrow it down to one or hopefully two, one for now and one for later.
Do you like the drink?
After they have had a few sips it’s time to ask the scary question: if they liked the drink you made them. But, whether they did or did not you will learn something about your guest’s palate and be better educated to serve them for their next drink!