The holidays are about spending time with the people you care about. And while this year will be a little different (i.e. less big bashes, more low-key nights with family and a few of your closest friends), having a well-equipped bar is always important. After all, what better way to celebrate a new year on the horizon than with homemade cocktails in hand? Read on to learn how to stock your bar for the holidays — from what liquor and mixers to buy, to what bar tools will come in handy.
Now, before you go out to buy all your drinks, you need to figure out how much you need. Take into account how many people will be partaking and how heavy of drinkers your guests (or family members) typically are. On average, it’s recommended to assume people will have two drinks in the first hour of a get-together, and one drink per hour after.
Once you figure out the “how much,” now comes the fun part: choosing the actual alcohol.
Unless you’re planning on making specialty cocktails, it’s best to stick to the classics when you’re entertaining. That way, you don’t spend all your time making complex drinks. You should be set with rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, and tequila. If you want to splurge on a bottle or two, go for a higher quality rum or whiskey for a more noticeable difference.
You’ll also want to consider making a batch of specialty cocktails before your guests arrive to cut down on the number of drinks you make while people are hanging out.
With just a few mixers, you’ll be able to make a variety of popular cocktails. To make some of the most common drinks, stock up on tonic, some classic sodas, cranberry juice, ginger beer, lemons and limes, bitters, and, because it’s the holidays, at least one container of eggnog.
You can always add some garnishes, too. Cinnamon sticks, mulling spices, mint, lemon zest, and orange slices are a good place to start.
And make sure you get plenty of ice.
You can’t go wrong buying local craft beer. Get a couple different styles with a mix of IPAs, pale ales, stouts, and maybe even a seasonal brew.
Get a nice mix of red and white wines. A few bottles of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot grigio, and chardonnay are safe bets when it comes to the wine lover's palate. You may even consider getting a riesling if you want a light, sweet option for guests.
Don’t forget about your friends who don’t drink, and those young ones who may be sticking around more often this year. Mulled cider is easy to make and shows that you put thought into making sure all of your friends and family have a good time. Some of those mixers you bought will also be great as stand-alone drinks for those who don’t want to imbibe.
Even if you have all the right ingredients, without proper barware, you won’t be able to wow your guests with your drink-making skills. Make sure you have glasses for your wine and cocktails. You’ll also need a bottle opener, corkscrew, shaker and strainer, jigger, and bar spoon. Check the recipes for any drinks you know you’ll make in case you need any specialty tools.
Explore our full selection of barware here, as well as our Gift Guide for the Host.
Written by Dani Howell
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