Become the perfect hostess with the perfectly stocked drinks bar.
Whether you're serving alcohol or not, keeping a well-stocked drinks cabinet is a must for the holiday season. Guests will be delighted by a variety of beverages with something to please everyone's tastes.
Keeping a huge variety of drinks on hand is not necessary if you choose your selection wisely. To step it up another notch, choose a special drink that will be your 2013 & 2014 signature cocktail to offer your guests. Follow these simple tips for a successful holiday bar.
1. Start with the basics
Every good bar has the staples which make up the majority of drinks that are most commonly consumed. You should always make sure your home bar comes complete with a few white spirits like vodka and gin and don’t forget the brown spirits of whiskey and rum.
2. No need to wine about it
Choose a 3-4 bottles each of a nice white wine, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay being the most common and 3-4 bottles of red wine like a lovely pinot noir or syrah. Most wine bottles these days come with a twist top, but just in case you choose a wine bottle that still has a cork, make sure you have a wine bottle opener at the ready!
3. Sir mix-a-lot
A well-set up bar is not complete without the classic drink mixers. Make sure you have on hand a couple of bottles each of tonic, ginger ale, cola, lemonade and orange juice. If you want to get technical then also have on hand a bottle of milk and cream and some tomato juice just in case a bloody mary is called for.
4. Ohhh Schnapp!
A favourite of the ladies is liqueurs like kahlua and baileys. Also of note, is a good schnapps like butterscotch or peppermint. Invest in a couple of your favourite liqueurs and if the budget is tight, you can buy the budget versions of the classics rather than going for the branded bottles.
5. Dont forget the bubbly
Most celebrations are incomplete without a bottle or two of your favourite bubbly. You don’t have to splash out on expensive bottles of French champagne but can instead opt for more reasonably priced bottles of local sparkling wines. For as little as $10, you can find sparkling wines on the shelf that are either brut or sec. Brut being dry and sec being a little sweeter. If you like it heavily on the sweet side try a moscato, with Australia having some great examples of well priced sparkling wines.
6. Bar essentials
A drink wouldn't be a drink without something to serve it in. You could either serve drinks in glassware or disposables depending on your personal preferences. If you are sending your drinks out in glass, you need to ensure you have a collection of tall glasses, tumblers, wine glasses and flutes. As well as your serving vessels, fit your bar with a small cutting board, a knife and an ice bucket complete with ice.
7. The finishing touches
Attention to detail can be the making of a good cocktail or drink. Choose a few thoughtful garnishes to help complete your offerings. Lemons and limes are good place to start along with cucumber for gin and tonics, maraschino cherries for pina coladas and olives for a dirty martini. The paper umbrella can be a nice addition to a kids drink along with straws for lipstick free glasses.
8. Watering the troops
Not enough emphasis can be placed on the importance of having lots of water available. A good host will be filling up glasses of water as often as they offer other beverages. Either have jugs of water constantly available or fill a large container with water and ice and flavour with some mint leaves and cucumber for a delightfully festive touch.
Try this great festive drink idea for your signature Christmas cocktail.
The Christmas Cracker
60 ml Campari
60 ml Martini Rosso
Pour the campari and martini rosso into a tumbler glass filled with ice. Top with lemon soda and serve with a slice of orange and a piece of lemon zest.