The Well Stocked Bar

The holidays inspire hosting and hospitality and of course spirited celebration. Stocking the household bar is a way to be ready for a festive party or for a cozy night in. It’s best to start with the basics; the items needed to create a functional bar, and then add in seasonal favorites.

Start with the Liquors:

Vodka

Rum

Gin

Tequila

Whiskey or Scotch (or both!)

Choose your favorite labels to start with. Remember, quality is important.

Add the Tools of the Trade:

Glassware – highball, lowball, martini, wine, and dessert

Shaker

Jigger – for measuring (even top mixologists use a jigger. Mixing drinks is like baking. The right proportion of ingredients is vital.)

Bartender’s Black Book or other cocktail recipe book

extras: cocktail napkins, straws, cutting board and knife for garnishes

Basic Mixers:

Lime Juice

Soda Water

Bitters

Grenadine

Vermouth

Seasonal Favorites:

Bailey’s

Kahlua

Creme de Menthe/Creme de Cocoa

Orange Liqueur

Now that the bar is stocked it’s important to learn a few basic drinks. Knowing at least one drink to make with each liquor on hand is simple and impressive. Start with a few classic drinks, like a Martini, or Manhattan. Also, create a “house” cocktail. A simple gin and tonic or whiskey ginger ale both make a great “house” drink. Always stock the needed ingredients and garnishes for this drink of choice.  
It’s also important to create a functional work space for the bar. Most homes don’t have the luxury of a built-in wet bar and that’s fine. All that’s needed is a shelf, bookcase, tray or any other tabletop space strategically located near the “party space”. Most people gather in the kitchen because that’s where the action is. A secondary gathering space can be created with a well placed bar. It should be away from natural walk ways such as the front door or a hallway leading to the bathroom. The ideal location will feature enough space for a few people to gather, seating that encourages conversation, and room for the “bartender” to work.
Start a fire in the fireplace, serve comforting snacks, turn on holiday music and the stage is set! Just add family, friends, or that special someone. A well stocked bar is a great accompaniment to any gathering, large or small.
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