The holidays are here, and everyone wants to come to your house. I'll show you how to be prepared to make a great variety of fun and festive holiday drinks to serve to your guests.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your home bar and make yourself into a fantastic bartender if the occasion calls for it. This is what you need to have on hand to make those wonderful holiday drinks.
Remember, mixing drinks isn't hard to do. If you can follow a recipe, you can mix a drink.
Not all of us have a home bar installed in our houses. So, if the list below appears daunting because you have a space issue, just keep these items (the ones that don't need refrigeration!) in a plastic box with a lid and store in a closet or garage until you need to pull them out for your holiday party.
Handy Vessels and Tools
- Jigger measure - with half and quarter ounces clearly marked
- Jazzy chrome cocktail shaker
- Measuring spoons
- Glass stirring rod or long bar spoons
- Bar strainer
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Small sharp knife
- Mortar and pestle or wooden muddler
- Ice bucket with tongs
- Lemon/lime squeezer
- Electric blender
- Small bar towels
- 3-4 oz. Long-stemmed cocktail glasses
- 8-12 oz. Highball or Collins glasses
- 6 oz. Champagne flutes
- 4 oz. Old-fashioned glasses
- 1 oz. Pony or pousse cafe glasses
- Punch cups and a punch bowl
- Maraschino cherries both red and green
- Salt and Pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco or other hot sauce
- Sweet flavorings
- Maraschino liqueur
Even if you are already a master bartender, there are always a few bartender tips to keep handy - particularly when the holidays arrive.
For instance, do you know how to make one of the main ingredients of quite a few mixed drinks? It's called simple syrup, and like the name implies, it's very simple to make ahead of time.
Simply, dissolve 1 pound of granulated sugar in 8 ounces of warm water. Stirring constantly, add an additional 8 ounces of water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, store the syrup in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and use when called for. How easy is that? I guess that's why it's called simple syrup!
With the holidays always seemingly around the corner, here are a few more items you might want to have handy - especially for those specialty drinks:
- Peppermint candy or candy canes
- A block of bittersweet chocolate for grating
- Colored sugar for rimming glasses.
And here are some additional tips for bartenders that you might find useful:
- Serve cocktails icy cold. If possible, store your equipment in the freezer for a few hours before using.
- Have lots of cracked ice on hand. You must discard the ice in the cocktail shaker once you've mixed the drink. And always use fresh ice if the cocktail is “on the rocks. "
- It's not a time-saver, but drinks seem to taste better when mixed individually - especially drinks like martinis and anything with carbonation in the mix. Use a clean, chilled glass for each cocktail - even for refills.
- Be sure you include non-alcoholic choices when serving drinks and ALWAYS encourage your guests to drink responsibly.
Enjoy the holidays!
Sara Gray is an avid lover of appetizers and has created a great website called Easy Appetizer Recipes where you can find delicious ideas for all kinds of hot and cold appetizers, raclette grilling, tapas small plates, snacks, chips and dip ideas, and appetizer soups.