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Drink · November 27, 2017

A Rookies Guide to Building an At-Home Bar for the Holidays

Streamline Your Selection

Its possible to get away with only having one type of alcohol on handand if thats all you can handle, Eben Freeman, the Director of Beverage for AvroKO Hospitality Group, recommends cognac. Cognac is classy. You can sip it straight after dinner or make a cocktail before dinner, he says.

Bubbles Are Never a Bad Idea

Its always good to have a few bottles of something sparkling on hand for last-minute festivities. Mitch Einhorn of Chicagos Lush Wine and Spirits suggests grower champagnes, also known as farmer fizz. "Made by the growers of the grapes themselves rather than the big champagne houses, these champagnes offer better quality at slightly gentler prices than the Veuves and Moets, he says. An affordable pick (around $20) is the Luis Pato Baga Bruto, a sparkling wine from Portugal.

Upgrade Your Party Cups

Were fans of saving your stemware for more intimate affairs, but that doesnt mean you need to go the Solo cup route. Master sommelier Laura Maniec prefers glasses that can accommodate wine and cocktails for larger get-togethers. Her genius tip: Write guests name on them with a Sharpie and they can have them for the entire party. Don't worry, it will rinse right off in the dishwasher.

Invest In a Scene-Stealing Punch Bowl

Punch is an easy and cost-effective crowd pleaser, especially when you serve it in something beautiful. Were obsessed with this vintage glass set from Etsy, but you can also repurpose a large serving bowl. As for a recipe, try this big-batch version of an Old Fashionedit will warm your guests right up.

Coasters Are Always Classy

In addition to being a fun way to add a bit of flare to your holiday soiree, coasters are a practical way to ensure that your guests protect your tabletops and furniture surfaces. Coasters can also help distinguish whose drink is whose, says Einhorn. These beautiful floral ones from Rifle Paper Co. will make even the simplest cocktail feel fancy.

Ice, Ice, Baby

If you want to get creative with your ice, weve got a few ideas for how you can step up your cube game. But, sometimes all a drink needs is a little ice (or whiskey balls!) to chill it down, says Einhorn. Masa Urushido, head bartender at Saxon + Parole, advises investing in different types of ice trays. Whether youre looking to make Kold Draft-like cubes or larger squares for Manhattan or Old Fashioned cocktails, having a variety of trays on hand keeps you flexible.

Author

Alicia