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.


Having 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.

Depending 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 & Moore.

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



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