Stocking Your Bar Cart

With only 11 days (yes, I just said that...11 days!) until Christmas, now is that time to assess what holiday soirées you will be hosting and determine exactly what you need to stock your bar cart. In Ontario we are lucky enough to have the LCBO which is basically Toy R Us for adults. Even people who do not drink, love to visit the LCBO. Their displays are always lovely, and their magazine Food & Drink is coveted by all. I'm not going to lie, I have left with a beautiful bottle from the LCBO of a type of liquor I have never tried, just because I loved the bottle and the display (I'm looking at you St. Germain which I have no idea how to drink!).

In consultation with my hubby, AMH the connoisseur of fine liquor, I have stocked my bar cart with everything we need to host a multitude of get togethers. I have selected seven liquors that are essential to any bar cart and for each and will be posting my favourite holiday drink using these essentials! They are all easy recipes, something that you can make while still playing host and preparing a meal. These are all my favourite libation recipes and sure to please every one in attendance!  Just a reminder - please enjoy responsibly! And remember to offer non-alcoholic drinks to your DD guests, lots of water to everyone, and  make sure everyone knows how to hail an Uber!

Whisky, Maker's Mark 

Maker's Mistletoe 

1-1/2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
3/4 part Peachtree Schnapps Liqueur
2 parts orange juice
Splash of grenadine

Build over ice in a rocks glass.
Garnish with a half-moon orange slice on the rim.

Dark Rum, The Kraken

Spiked Egg Nog

1 oz dark rum
4 oz eggnog
1 pinch nutmeg

Pour rum into a small highball glass, and add egg nog. Stir together, top with nutmeg, and serve.

Vodka, Smirnoff

Cranberry Christmas Punch

1.5 oz vodka
3 oz cranberry juice
fresh lime

In a rocks glass filled with ice, squeeze a fresh lime wedge. Add vodka and cranberry and stir. Serve with a skewer of fresh cranberries for decoration. 

Coffee Liquor, Kahlua

The White Russian

1 part Kahlua
2 parts vodka
1 part heavy cream

Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes. Add Kahlúa and vodka, finish up with a cream layer. Tip: pour the cream off the back of a spoon. Want a less calorific version? Try it out with milk, skim milk or soymilk!

Apéritif, Cointreau

Hot Cointreau Mulled Cider

12 oz Cointreau
6 oz Fresh Lime Juice
32 oz Cider
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Whole Star Anises
2 Whole Cloves
2 Oranges (thinly sliced)
1 Apple (thinly sliced)

In a large saucepan, bring cider, lime, fruit & spices to a boil. Cover & remove from heat. Add the Cointreau last and steep for at least 20 minutes. Divide among individual mugs & serve hot. Garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick & slice of apple or orange.

Gin, Tanqueray 

I fell in love with this drink after rewatching Mad Men. Betty Draper orders the popular 50's drink at a Manhattan bar and while the rest of the scene isn't great (or maybe it was) it gave me an excuse to finally try gin!

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
lime wedge for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Stir vigorously with a long cocktail spoon until very cold.
Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass, or strain over a rocks glass filled with ice, depending on preference. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve immediately.

Cognac, Hennessy

For the true cognac connoisseurs, serve Hennessy on it's own in a balloon or tulip glass. Swirl and allow your hand to warm the drink and sip slowly. 

1.5 oz Hennessy
.5 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Heaping Tablespoon of Cranberry Sauce (the kind you would have with turkey)
1 dash fee brothers cranberry bitters (optional)
Garnish: Orange Twist, Cinnamon sugar rim


Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice, shake until well chilled. Take the coupe or martini glass and rub the rim with a fresh cut lemon, now dip the rim in a plate of cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 1 part white sugar). Strain the cocktail into the rimmed glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Stocking your bar cart can seem a little intimidating when you are starting from scratch but this is actually the best time of year to buy supplies! Many retailers have special holiday sales or free giveaways with their beverage. Last year I was able to get the cutest glasses from Bailey's and after a free sample with a purchase of  we found out how much we like cinnamon flavoured whiskey. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire tastes like Christmas! 

After you have stocked your bar cart with these essentials, don't forget about wines and beers. Always best to check your guests preferences (will you need more red or white). I'm taking a page from my friend White Cabana who likes to serve one signature cocktail and has it ready for when you arrive, no matter what you will be drinking later. It's a lovely and welcoming gesture and it gets people trying something new! Serve one of the drinks above as your signature holiday drink and get ready for the compliments! Cheers!

1 comment

  1. I'm coming over! You always have great drink options! The signature drink is so easy and keeps me calm when I'm hosting. Of course there's always wine, but a nice cocktail starts off a gathering in a positive way!