Essentials for your Holiday Bar

This list of essentials is what every holiday bar needs for your home.

Scotch Whiskey:  I would offer a higher quality blended whiskey rather than inexpensive single malt, especially if it’s going to be mixed into soda.  Call me old fashioned but I don’t usually mix single malts with sugary soda or juices.

Bourbon Whiskey:  I love bourbon because its just as home on the rocks as it is mixed with things like ginger beer or even in a milk punch!

Gin:  Make sure you have both the London Dry style (nearly no juniper flavor) and the new Botanical Style (Hendrick’s is a great example) for Martinis.  No, vodka martinis are not martinis according to Klaus the Soused Gnome.

Vodka:  I will never have flavored vodka in my bar.  You shouldn’t either.  This is not distilled but manufactured in a chemical lab.  If you want the whisper soft taste of vodka I’d recommend something from Russia.  If you are interested in a more assertive taste from your vodka try something from France.  If you want candy flavors I won’t be able to help you.

Port:  A bottle of Late Bottled Vintage Port is a great way of introducing this historic dessert wine to your friends.  And since it doesn’t need decanting, the bottle is useable from top to bottom with that pesky sediment getting stuck in your teeth.

Sherry:  There is nothing more elegant than a dry Fino Sherry iced with your appetizers.  The Sherry acts as an aperitif, stimulating your taste buds.

Campari:  Have you ever enjoyed a Negroni?  That is equal parts Campari, Gin and Sweet Vermouth.  Have more than two and BAM….

Tequila:  Casa Noble Reposado is my choice

Dry Vermouth:  Dolin.  Dry…. Dry…. Dry…..

Sweet Vermouth: Try Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes.

Liqueurs:  I like Baily’s Irish Cream of course and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.  These are the classics.   You can’t go wrong with them.

Grand Marnier is also nice to have.  It works with good Tequila in a margarita instead of that horrible factory made triple sec swill.

Cognac, sure, but what about Laird’s Apple Brandy?  It’s as American as Apple Pie! (and what makes the Beekman 1802 Generous Fruitcake so delicious!)

I’d also have a nice selection of artisan soda.  Nothing with corn syrup.  Tonic water, ginger beer, cola, NO DIET SODA… awful stuff really, serve seltzer instead or Polar flavored seltzer.  Perrier makes some gorgeous infused seltzers too.

Syrups and Bitters… use your imagination—and don’t be afraid to be creative!







by Warren

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Christine Coggeshall

Love your list. Was looking to buy a good Port and took your advise. I also have Aperol and Prosecco on hand to make a Spritz. You can use the Campari in place of the Aperol, I just think the Aperol is not as bitter.

Warren Bobrow

Aperol has 1/2 the alcohol of Campari. Luxardo now imports a delightfully aromatic bitter as well. I think it is decidedly sweeter than Campari or Aperol.

Christine Coggeshall

Ahh….that’s why in Italy “the men drink the Campari Spritz and the women drink the Aperol Spritz”. I will keep my eyes open for the Luxardo. Can you use the Luxardo for a Negroni?

Beverly Nan Murphy

Great education. thanks. will try them all and you can find me under the bed on
New Years. : )