Holiday Survival Guide

How to Stock Your Holiday Bar

How to stock your holiday home bar

Holiday Survival Guide

How to Stock
Your Holiday Bar

What drinks to have in your refrigerator
and on your bar this time of year

Ernest chrome bar cart, $199 by CB2

Ernest chrome bar cart, $199 by CB2

The holidays are all about good times. And let's get real for a sec—they're also about stress and all-day affairs that very likely involves family members with whom you may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to, say, politics. But good or bad, it all leads to booze, right? Of course, most casual drinkers don't keep a fully stocked bar year-round. As we head into the thick of party season, a small but smart bar setup is essential. Make sure you're stocked with all the bottles to ensure your thirsty houseguests are properly lubricated for a jolly evening.


In the Refrigerator

Anchor Brewing Co. Christmas Ale

Seasonal Beer

This is an occasion to go beyond the everyday bottles. Breweries around the country are making some spectacular holiday-inspired brews. Like this tasty brown ale infused with citrus rind, spices and a touch of spruce needles.

Christmas ale,
$11.99 for a six-pack by Anchor Brewing Co.

Stella Artois Cidre

Hard Cider

An easy drinking beverage for those who aren't beer lovers. This crisp hard cider also makes a great mixer for seasonal cocktails as well.

$10.49 for a six-pack by Stella Artois

Martini & Rossi Prosecco

Mini Prosseco

Sparkling wine will lose its effervescence if it's open too long. Plus, these individual bottles are just so damn fun for everyone.

$2.49 each by Martini & Rossi

Straus Family Creamery Organic Eggnog

Egg Nog

Festive, rich and decadent but non-alcoholic. It's best to leave the level of spiking to guests.

Organic eggnog,
$6.79 by Straus Family Creamery

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer

Ginger is a great holiday spice to add to cocktails and balances out stronger spirits. Or it can be drank on its own.

Ginger beer,
$5.99 for a four-pack by Bundaberg

Lakewood Organic Cold-Pressed Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit Juice

Citrus season is in full swing in the winter and grapefruit pairs particularly well with spirits like gin and tequila.

Cold-pressed grapefruit juice,
$11.94 by Lakewood Organic

R.W. Knudsen Pineapple Juice

Pineapple Juice

A great winter fruit that adds a tropical vacation vibe. There's a reason why it's on so many winter bar menus.

Organic pineapple juice,
$6.62 by R.W. Knudsen

Schweppes Club Soda

Club Soda

An easy mixer that can stand on its own as well. Spring for the small bottles so each drink is fresh and bubbly. We like Schweppes because of the velvety, microscopic bubbles.

Club soda,
$4.99 for a six-pack by Schweppes

Note: We didn't include regular wine on this list as it's our experience that many guests will show up with a bottle.


On Your Bar

Home bar ice bucket
Home bar ice bucket

You don't need a vast stretch of bottles littering the top of your bar. That will only overwhelm and confuse your guests. Or have people mixing crap they don't even plan to drink. Five or six key bottles will do the trick. Rum, whiskey, gin, tequila and maybe vodka. Sit those next to plenty of cups and a large bucket of ice. Be a gracious host and set out some garnishes (orange slices or peels, mint leaves, rosemary sprigs and pomegranate seeds.

How Much to Buy:

Plan on two drinks per person for the first two hours, one drink per person for each additional hour, according to most entertaining experts.

Assume ...


Will drink beer (or cider)


Will use hard liquor


Will sip wine

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Holiday Survival Guide

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