Holiday Tips for Stocking the Bar

- By M.C. Stewart with assistance from Dana Schlotterer.

The family is coming! Stock the bar!

When I saw that it’s National “Tie one on day, “ I giggled.  It could mean a lot of things, but here in the South with football, family and friends for the holidays, my mind instantly went to cocktails. So y’all, we are organizing the bar!

The Basic Bar:

As one who hosts lots of large family holidays, I advise keeping it simple.  Your basic liquors to have on hand are bourbon, gin, light rum, vodka, and tequila. Wine, red and white, and craft beers are a good staple as well. Our family has their ”go to” brands like Tito’s Vodka, Bayou Rum, Tanqueray or Bombay Gin and a variety of Bourbon because, well, we like our bourbon! 1792, Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam (with Coke) are the top three choices.

Basic Mixers: Club soda, tonic water, Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite (Fresca)

Basic Garnish Set Up : Lemons, limes, and olives.


If you want to step it up a notch, here is a better-than–basic bar set up.  Adding a few more variety of liquors is key to this bar. Elderflower liquor, Grand Marnier, Irish Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, Kahlua, Prosecco or Champagne and Brandy are a few things that help you step up your bartender game.

Mixers for this set up would be: ginger beer, flavored sparkling waters, simple syrup, bitters

Garnish: Stuffed olives, candied dried oranges, berries and mint.

setting up your bar

Now that your bar is set, here are some great drink recipes to try! Cheers!

Karen’s Poinsettia:  

Champagne with a splash of cranberry juice!  

Sent in by Valerie:

KQED Cranberry and Rosemary White Sangria:

2 apples, granny smith and braeburn

1 heaping cup of fresh cranberries

1 large sprig of rosemary, extra for garnish

1 bottle of Pinot Grigio

½ cup of white grape juice

¼ cup of sugar, more for garnish

1 can of club soda

To make Sangria: chop, pour, stir, get drunk.  (That’s what it says!)

Mookies Whiskey Sour:  

1 shot of Whiskey

1 shot of lemon juice

½ shot of simple syrup

½ shot of egg white. (Which he doesn’t really like so we have ours without this ingredient.)


Sarah’s Milk Punch(Originally from Taste Fare Cookbook):

1 ½ oz each Vodka, Rum, Bourbon and Cream sherry

2 Tbsp Sugar

2-3 drops vanilla

2 C vanilla ice cream or ice milk

¼ C whipping cream

Add all the ingredients in blender and finish filling blender with milk (About 1 ½ C) The punch may be frozen.  

To sere: remove from freezer and soften slightly.  Chop/stir until it is slushy.

To make a gallon:  Place in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer.