WHY should you cut down on the variety and quantity of drinks you offer your guests at home when all you really have to do is think ahead a little? Home bars needn't take up lots of space - unless your lifestyle demands they do. Advance preparation and proper organisation are the key to entertaining people at home, says the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild, whose latest publication, The International Guide To Drinks has just reached Hong Kong. Few people are fortunate enough to have professional bartending facilities, they add. But that doesn't mean your friends have to be subjected to 'a single concoction, prepared long in advance, which is topped up from time to time (this can cause wild and sometimes treacherous fluctuations in its content)'. If you are having a party, start your preparation with plenty of ice, kept in the bath or a spare sink to avoid the mess when it melts. Always have at least some ice in your freezer, so that you are never caught unprepared. Slice oranges and lemons for garnishing ahead of time. Cover them with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and refrigerate. This will keep them fresh. Fresh fruit juice can also be squeezed in advance. If you are planning drinks containing sugar, make up a sugar syrup with one cup of sugar to one cup of water. Boil until the sugar is dissolved, bottle and refrigerate. The mixture will keep indefinitely. The ideal number of glasses is twice the number of guests. 'Guests can be embarrassed if they hear ... frantic washing up of glasses,' the guild says. 'They will get the impression that they are putting their hosts to a great deal of trouble.' Glassware should have brilliant clarity, good balance and a fine rim. Make sure all detergent has been rinsed off. Remnants will flatten beer and ruin the flavour of most drinks. Wipe all glasses with a clean dry glass cloth. For an imaginative range of drinks, your basic alcohol stock should include, among others, brandy, gin, vodka, light and dark rum, tequila, Scotch whisky, Bourbon whiskey, dry and sweet vermouth, sherry, tawny port, Cointreau and peach schnapps. Additional items are limes, oranges, cocktail cherries, small cocktail olives, celery salt, cubed sugar, grenadine syrup, a variety of soft drinks and fruit juices, grated nutmeg, coconut cream and angostura bitters. As to what to do with them, the Guild's guide has 100 pages of recipes from bartenders around the world, from the award-winning French Raph Buddy to the Finnish Dolce Donna and the Swedish Greenfee. Your guests may not have to go home punch-drunk after all. The revised and updated version of The International Guide To Drinks compiled by the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild is available from The Panhandler in Prince's Building, Central. Tel: 2523-1672/2521-8543.