Holiday Entertaining: 7 Tips for Stocking a Proper Bar

There’s nothing I love more during the holidays than spending time with family and friends, nibbling on snacks, drinking yummy libations, and chit-chatting about anything and everything. If you’ve been following along with me for awhile, you know how much I love to entertain guests at my home and that, in my opinion, among the most important things to have prepared is the bar.


Now – don’t get me wrong – preparing and stocking a proper bar is no easy feat (as some of you may already know). It can take a lot of accommodation of specific requests and can even include running to the store mid-event to perfect the way you prepare your cocktail accoutrements!

Below, I’ve included my top 7 tips for preparing and stocking what I consider to be a proper bar:

  1. Have plenty of wine (both red & white!)

    • Make sure the white wine is chilled ahead of time. If you have a sink, fill it with ice and nestle the bottles into it for quick chilling and easy access.

    • Make sure your ‘wine tools’ (i.e. corkscrew and foil cutter) are in good, working order and available for use.  

    • Make sure a beer bottle opener is at-the-ready as well.

  2. Have at least 3 “bar snack” options out for guests - any combination of the following:

  • Nuts (a variety is always nice)

  • Gourmet chips (you can’t go wrong with Kettle cooked)

  • Olives of any variety

  • Crudite and dips (we like hummus)

  • A cheese board

  • A charcuterie board

    3. Have a good assortment of mixes and/or juices on-hand, including:

  • Tonic

  • Soda water

  • Ginger beer

  • Juices (orange, grapefruit and tomato always come in handy)

  • AND our favorite MiddleBar bloody mary mix


4. Have a good variety of booze, such as the following:

  • Vodka

  • Gin

  • Tequila

  • Scotch

    • You might even take into consideration any friend or family members’ preferred drink of choice and stock  supplies for that!

    5. Always keep drink garnishes on hand:

  • Olives

  • Onions

  • Lemon twists and wedges for squeezing

  • Lime twists and wedges for squeezing

    • Pro tip: zest and squeeze your citrus ahead of time and display in pretty glass vessels for quicker use!

  • Mint is a great garnish as well, and always makes its way to my bar (my favorite drink is vodka muddled with mint and lime).

     6. Prepare your Glassware

  • Be sure to wipe down all of you crystal and glassware so it looks beautiful when served.

  • Even if you have a glass cabinet easily accessible, having plenty of glasses and an ice bucket out on a tray or on the bar-top is never a bad idea. This will allow guests to help themselves if you don’t have a bartender!

    7. And last but clearly not least, make sure you have plenty of ice on-hand

  • This will ensure that you can mix the coldest, most refreshing drinks for your guests!


Kenzie GallagherComment