11/04/2011 10:58 pm ET Updated Jan 04, 2012

Just In Time For The Holidays... Bar Essentials

Last weekend's snow storm made me realize a few things: I love electricity, I bake when I'm bored and it's time to set up the bar for those unexpected guests that seem to always show up when there's no wine, no vodka and no regular Coke. So. Freaking. Awesome.

With the holidays just around the corner, it's time to get a head start on a few things around the house. If I've learned anything through my entertaining experience, it's give 'em a drink as soon as they walk in the door! Then, keep their glass full and your guests will instantly feel more relaxed and, in some cases, even more interesting! Go figure. So, how do you set up a bar? Easy! I'll provide the tips, you provide the uninvited guests and we've got ourselves a little old cocktail party! This is what you need to get ready for party season.

Wine: Always have champagne and red and white wine. Some people also like a little Port or Riesling. Keep a few bottles of each on hand and replenish as needed. Don't spend a fortune, there are a ton of wines under $20 that are fabulous. Wine enthusiast makes these chic decanters that hold ice in the middle without watering down the vino. God forbid.

Beer: I recommend keeping a couple of six packs of good imported beer on hand. Some people like domestic, but tell them they can have that at the ballpark. There are also these little mini kegs that you can use with a BeerTender by Krups, which is very cute, for about $100!

Hard Liquor: Vodka, Rum, Scotch, Bourbon, Gin, Tequila, and triple sec. The way I remember it is everything that is in a Long Island Iced Tea. That should tell you a lot about me! I also keep a few cordials on hand for specialty drinks like Kahlua (who has a fab cinnamon flavor this season!) Godiva, Bailey's, Sambuca, etc.

Mixers: Unless you want your guests totally trashed in minutes, make sure you have yourself some mixers on hand.  Club soda, tonic, cola and diet cola, ginger ale,
cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice. Nowadays, it's a good idea to have sugar free varieties, as well.

Glassware: Champagne flutes, wine glasses, beer mugs, highballs and double old-fashioned glasses for mixed drinks and martini glasses. If you think things might get a little ugly, go buy some inexpensive sets of glassware to serve. This is always a better choice than the Red Plastic Cup, unless it's a frat party and you're playing beer pong. Go to Home Goods, Target or any other well priced retailer and get it done if you're freaked out about the wedding crystal. Not worth the drama.

Bar Accessories:  Corkscrew, can opener, cocktail shaker, blender, ice bucket, napkins, jigger, toothpicks and a cutting board. It's also a good idea to get one of those bar guides for recipes or download an app on drink recipes.

Snacks: I'm not going to talk food today, but I definitely recommend always having on hand 4 snacks for the bar. Mixed nuts, some kind of chips, olives and a few nice cheeses. They keep well forever and are the perfect little fixins to serve your guests without taking you out of the room and the fun!

So, is it 5 o'clock yet?


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