When you’re ready to stock your bar for a holiday party, there’s only one set rule: Don’t let it run dry. As far as what alcohol, garnishes, and mixers to fill it with, it’s really quite simple. Just follow these guidelines:
To cover all your bases, you’ll need the eight main liquors: bourbon, brandy, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. You’ll also need a selection of beer. One domestic and one imported should do ya. And for a proper toast, you may also need champagne. It may even be a good idea to have a few liqueurs, like Amaretto, Kahlúa, Cointreau, and—because it’s Christmas—peppermint Schnapps. Having a hard time figuring out how much to buy? Go here.
But if all this seems like too much, just pick your favorites or put together a menu of festive drinks for guests to choose from. That way you’ll only need to stock the right ingredients. Bop on over to Fine Living for a few cocktail ideas. I vote for the gingerbread martini, champagne punch, and the minted hot chocolate. And you definitely can’t go wrong with mulled wine. Try this five-star recipe courtesy of my favorite television channel, The Food Network.
If you decide to go the menu route, your garnishes will pretty much be decided for you, but if you’d rather do the open bar, you’ll need to stock a wide array of garnishes. Have on hand citrus (slices, wedges, or peels), coarse salt, maraschino cherries, olives (green and black), pickles, simple syrup, Worcestershire, and Tabasco sauce. You’ll also need lots and lots of ice, preferably crushed.
As with garnishes, pick your mixers based on your recipes. No recipes? You’ll need several varieties of soda, including club. You’ll also need several juices, such as tomato, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit. And I’d also stock up on grenadine (my favorite!) and margarita mix to make things a little easier for the bartender.
While you’re at the liquor story, be sure to grab extra corkscrews, a bottle opener, cocktail shaker, jigger, and bar spoon if you don’t already own them. And to set your bar up properly, gather a blender, measuring cups, knife, and cutting board close by.
Keep in mind, you can stock your bar as high as the Eiffel Tower and still be short something, so if you’re on a limited budget, it’s probably wise to offer up a couple drink options and leave it at that. And, of course, you’d be crazy to let anyone drive away from your party intoxicated, so be prepared to designate yourself as a driver or turn your guest bedroom over to an inebriated visitor.
May your holiday parties be merry, cheery, and full of fun!
The Home Know-It-All