Spirits and Cocktails are an important
part of our holiday celebrations. Egg Nog and Old Fashioneds were a part
of the holidays in our household and we always beefed up the home bar with
a couple special items for holiday visitors. We might add a bottle of Anisette
or Irish Cream to the liquor cabinet to share over coffee after a holiday
meal. Having a bar table set up during holidays makes drop-in guests feel
welcome and takes the pressure off the host or hostess. Here are some ideas
for a bar set-up in the home for the holidays.
SETTING UP A BAR
FOR YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY
- The placement of the bar table will help in the success
of your gatherings. Choose a room that has easy flow from more than one
direction and is a focal point of the party. Cover the table with a festive
- Place the bar table so it is accessible from at least three
sides. At a certain point in all gatherings the bar becomes serve-yourself
and it should be easy to access.
- Use a table large enough to accommodate the bar and some
snacks. A six-foot table would be an ideal size.
- Offer a group drink like punch or egg nog so that your
guests can serve themselves. This will allow you the leisure to enjoy your
guests after the initial cocktail has been served.
- Featuring a special drink for the arrival of the guests.
Provide a recipe card on the bar with the special drink recipe
- Offer spirits on trays in the center of the table so they
are accessible from both sides. Have a selection of glassware on both ends
of the table. Offer a rocks glass, a highball glass, an all-purpose wineglass,
If you're serving Champagne stock champagne flutes, and a cordial or snifter
style glass for after dinner drinks.
- Have condiment stations at both ends of the bar with the
proper serving utensils. Place ice buckets (covered) with ice tongs at each
end of the liquor display. If you are planning cocktails set up a cocktail
shaker station on either side of the bar, along with cocktail napkins and
- Offer a soda and juice selection at either end of the table.
Use large bottles of soda unless you have a staff to replenish the small
a staff to assist you at your party doesn't need to be the privilege of the
very wealthy. Hire a neighbor's teenage son or daughter to help with clean
up and replenishment; they will be happy to have the spending money, and you
will enjoy the party much more.
on you budget choose one or two in each of the following categories:
Rum- Premium Brands: Bacardi, Mount Gay, Appleton,
and Barbancourt, also try the flavored and spice rums from Cruzan and Captain
Morgan at holiday time in your nogs and punches.
Vodka- Premium brands: Belvedere, Kettle One, Absolut,
and Skyy, but Smirnoff is more than acceptable.
Gin- Premium brands: Beefeaters, Tanqueray, Leyden,
and Plymouth, good value with Gordons and Seagram's.
Blended Scotch- Premium brands: Dewars, J&B, Cutty,
and Johnny Walker, a good value is White Horse. Single Malt Scotch- Glenlivet,
Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie have a wide appeal but if you like smoky try
Laphroaig or Lagavulin.
Bourbon- Premium Brands: Makers Mark, Wild Turkey,
Old Fitzgerald 8 6°, and Jim Beam, a good value is Old Forester or Mattingly
Tequila- Tequila is very popular and getting expensive,
but value for the dollar choices are available. Super-premium brands: Patron,
El Tesoro, Jose Cuervo Reserve De La Familia, and Profidio, but in the more
affordable middle category Jose Cuervo Gold is still a good buy, and in the
100° Blue Agave category Sauza Hornitos is the best value for the dollar.
Sweet Vermouth- Choose an Italian brand, Martini &
Rossi or Cinzano.
Dry Vermouth- Choose a French brand, Noilly Prat or Boissiere.
Brandy/Cognac- An inexpensive California or French
brandy is a good addition to the bar for cocktail like the Sidecar which are
popular again and also for some cooking applications. A VSOP Cognac is optional
depending on budget and taste, most important is there someone in the family
who is a brandy drinker?
Here are some choices: House Brandy: Deville, Christian Brothers, and Korbel,
VSOP Cognac: in the medium price range are Courvoisier VSOP and Remy VSOP.
Choose two from the aperitif category Dubonnet Lillet Sherry Campari
Cynar Cinzano Bianco Punt e Mes Wine
For a dinner party have one bottle of wine for each three
people, but for cocktails only one bottle for every seven or eight people
is plenty. For about $12 .00 a bottle you should be able to find excellent
wines for your party. Consult your wine and spirits merchant for help in choosing.
Flavorings and Condiments: Angostura Bitters Grenadine
Roses Lime Juice Tabasco Worcestershire Sauce Cocktail Olives Cocktail onions
Maraschino Cherries Salt Pepper
Juices Orange juice, Grapefruit juice, Cranberry juice,
Tomato juice, Pineapple Juice
Fruits & Garnish Lemons, Lime, Oranges, Mint