Now that we’re all “grown-ups” (or, at least, trying to be), we need to entertain like we are.
Meaning, the days of throwing down a few pizza boxes and waiting for the Dial-A-Bottle booze to arrive are a thing of the past. Or they definitely should be.
This is even the case for unexpected company – whether that means a surprise visit from your aunt who’s in town, a last-minute decision to host a pre-drink party, or a special ‘overnight guest.’
Here are our 14 notable essentials you should always have on hand…
Always have at least one bottle of red and one of white on hand. The red could complement that last-minute dinner you whipped up for your guest and the white will keep even the pickiest ‘wine-only’ drinkers (you know the type) happy at the pre or after-party festivities.
2. Bottled Water
It’s only one of life’s essentials. Unless you have a water filter, there’s nothing notable about handing your guests a glass of milky-looking tap water.
3. Dark Chocolate
Always have something on-hand for those guests with a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is always a good option – even if you end up eating it yourself, you can feel better about that decision than you would downing a bag of mini brownies (because dark chocolate is “good for you,” right?).
A young professional house without beer is like a home without Wi-Fi. What would you do if the crew showed up last-minute for a little Sunday football after the beer store closed? Exactly – you’d leave. If you can, it’s all the more notable if you have organic and gluten-free options, too. But good, old-fashioned beer will do just fine.
5. Hummus and Veggies
Seriously, who doesn’t like quality hummus with veggies? Your health-conscious guests will thank you. And if you don’t have company and need to eat it before it goes bad, we can think of worse things to snack on during that solo HBO marathon.
Eggs? Yeah, that way you have breakfast covered in the event that the guy or girl you’re kind of dating finally stays the night (or even for that one night stand you take home from the bar, for that matter).
A selection of cheese is a quick crowd pleaser (well, minus your lactose-intolerant friends, but that’s where the hummus comes into play). Although it isn’t cheap, grab a selection at your local gourmet grocery store. If nothing else, you can indulge alone after a difficult day…or use it in that omelette for said overnight guest.
8. Crackers or Chips
Crackers and chips are no-fail items for unexpected guests not only because they’re usually well received, but also because they don’t spoil as quickly as other items. Plus, what’s cheese without (at least the option of) crackers?
9. Salsa and Guacamole
What would chips be without salsa and guacamole? Unsauced is what. And hey, if you want to melt some of that cheese over it and make nachos (perfect for football on Sundays), all the better.
10. A Fully Stocked Spice Rack
A well-stocked spice rack can transform even the most basic dish that you frantically whip up last minute (even if it’s just pasta and canned tomato sauce). It can also make the pizza from your local delivery place all the better. And on that note, so can hot sauce.
11. Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon always impresses and offers enough substance to complete a last-minute platter of cheese and veggies – and it involves very little work on your part.
12. Clamato Juice
A fridge is not complete without a bottle of Motts’ Clamato juice. This comes in handy for morning brunches, surprise Sunday fundays, and also when you’re slacking in the food and snack department – a Bloody Caesar or two is practically a meal in itself. Of course, you need vodka…but we assume that’s a given.
Even if there’s a Starbucks right next door, having coffee on hand (and, obviously a coffee maker) is essential. Unless you want your wasted friend to end up on your couch for the night, a cup of Joe may be your only hope.
14. Fresh Limes and Lemons
Whether for cocktails or water, they’re always a welcome touch.