Food & Drink

How to Stock Your Bar for Holiday Parties

by Dani Howell December 10, 2018

The holidays are about spending time with the people you care about. What better way to do that than celebrating together with homemade cocktails in hand? When you host a party, you want all the bar essentials at the ready. That way, everyone will be able to relax and socialize with their favorite winter drinks.

The first step in crafting any drink your guests may ask for is having a well-stocked bar. We’re here to make sure your bar is equipped with everything you need to create all the classic holiday cocktails whether you have people coming over for the night or staying for the weekend.

To prepare your in-house bar this season, you’ll need alcohol, mixers, and barware.

Now, before you go out to buy all your drinks, you have to figure out how much you need. Take into account how many people will be attending and how heavy of drinkers your guests typically are. On average, it’s recommended to assume people will have two drinks in the first hour and one drink per hour after.

Once you figure out the “how much,” now comes the fun part: choosing the actual alcohol.


Unless you’re planning on making a specialty cocktail, it’s best to stick to the classics when you’re going to have a big holiday bash. That way, you don’t spend all your time concocting complex drinks. You should be set with rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, and tequila. If you want to splurge on a bottle or two, go with a higher quality rum or whiskey for a more noticeable difference.

You’ll also want to consider making a batch of holiday-themed cocktails before the party to cut down on the number of drinks you craft while guests are over.


With just a few mixers, you can create a variety of popular cocktails. To be able to make some of the most common, stock up on tonic, some classic sodas, cranberry juice, ginger beer, lemons and limes, bitters, and, because it’s the holidays, at least one container of eggnog.

You can always add some garnishes, too. Cinnamon sticks, mint, lemon zest, and orange slices are a good place to start.

And get ice. A lot of it.


You can’t go wrong buying local craft beer. Get a couple different styles with a mix of IPAs, pilsners, stouts, and maybe even a seasonal brew.


Stick with a nice blend of reds and whites. Consider a few bottles of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and chardonnay. If you want a lighter, sweet option, I’d recommend a riesling or gewürztraminer.


Don’t forget about your friends who don’t drink. Mulled cider is simple to make, and it shows you put thought into ensuring that all your friends and family have a good time. Some of those mixers you bought will also be great stand-alone drinks for those who don’t want to imbibe.


Even if you have all the rights ingredients, without proper barware you won’t be able to wow your guests with your drink-making skills. You’ll need glasses for wine and cocktails. You’ll also want a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a shaker and strainer, a jigger, and a bar spoon. Check the recipes for any drinks you know you’ll make in case you need another tool, too.

Explore our selection of barware before your next party.

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