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How to Plan Your Bar

Jen Dennis
How to Plan Your Bar
If you’re hosting this holiday season, chances are you’ll want to plan some sort of bar setup for your party. But what do you need? Here’s a quick rundown to keep in mind.
1) Drinks: If you’re setting up a cocktail bar for your home, investing in every alcohol option is probably not a financially feasible idea. Instead, to get your bar started, choose a range of alcohols that can be served on the rocks, or that will mix well into simple, popular cocktails.

A starter-bar might include liquors like gin, rum, vodka, tequila, and whiskey; one or two flavored liqueurs (hazelnut- and orange-flavors are popular holiday options), plus mixers (think tonic and seltzer)—and don’t forget the ice!

2) Tools: Once you’ve got the ingredients, you’ll need to make sure you have the gear. Start with a bar tools set that contains needed items like shakers, stirrers, strainers, jiggers, and citrus- or hard-cheese knives. Consider a dish to keep cut fruit or olives, too. And keep in mind that for some items—like bottle openers, or ice buckets and tongs—having more than one on hand is a smart, time-saving idea.

While gathering your tools, don’t forget the things you’ll need to keep the drinks-making area clear while you party. You’ll definitely want towels and/or sponges for picking up spills, and a mat or other surface to work on that won’t be marred or stained by liquid splashes.

3) Glasses: As with the alcohols available, a glass for every beverage might not be possible. You’ll definitely need something for cocktails and on-the-rocks drinks (high ball or old-fashioned glasses), and glasses for beer or wine if you’re serving it. Martini glasses are also good for getting started.

If creating a full bar feels like too much to-do amid the rest of the holiday prep, there are great ways to make it easier. Instead,  offer an edited selection of drinks at a bar table instead—this video will show you how.

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