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Creative Cocktails: Stocking Your Bar

Carrot-Cardamom Sparkling Cocktails

We’re smack dab in the midst of holiday entertaining season, and what better way to survive the mayhem than to mix up a few drinks?

Crafting cocktails might be a bit intimidating, but if you start with a thoughtfully stocked bar, you’ll be serving holiday cheer straight up — or on the rocks — all season long.

Glassware and Barware

Prioritize. What drinks do you like to make the most? My go-to glasses are vintage-style champagne coupes. They’re totally versatile, great for many types of cocktails and you can use them to ring in the New Year as well.

The only thing they’re not good for is anything on the rocks. For this you’ll need — you guessed it — rocks glasses.

If you don’t have either of these, opt for some pint mason jars. They go with nearly everything.

An inexpensive cocktail shaker, a strainer, a stirring spoon, and a couple of 2-ounce measuring cups will gear you up well for barware.

Honeyed Beet Sparklers

Spirits and Sparklers

This is the foundation of your bar.

With just one or two basic spirits – think vodka, gin, or whiskey -- you can make a plethora of killer cocktails. If you’re making eggnog this year, add rum to your list.

However, the harder stuff isn’t necessary for some really creative creations. Grab a few bottles of Champagne, Prosecco or other sparkling wine and some interesting mix-ins, and you’ve got the makings for some very festive drinks.  

Pineapple Rosemary Crush Cocktails

Mixers

Invite bright colors and unexpected flavors to the party! Put out fresh herbs – such as rosemary, thyme, basil and mint; organic citrus fruit for squeezing, slicing and zesting; a shrub or kombucha, plates of salt, sugar and spices for rimming glasses; and some fruit and vegetable nectars.

Round out your bar with important staples like simple syrup (there’s a reason it’s called that; it’s super simple to make!), club soda or tonic water, ginger ale or cola, and bitters. And don’t forget the ice!

Simple Syrup

Lastly, when building your bar, the best advice is to keep it simple, go for quality ingredients over quantity, and make it your own by pulling together the flavors you love the most. You’ll be the life of the parties all season long.

Find more ideas for festive cocktails and puches, like a Rosemary-Pear Bellini, in our online holiday guide

Are you a master mixologist? Share your favorite cocktail essentials below!