Holiday Bar Tips: A Do-It-Yourself Drink Stand
Dec 22, 2016

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Ambition can get the best of party hosts over the holidays. You want to take great care of your guests, but ultimately, there's only so much you can do. While many home entertainers have learned the art of preparing food beforehand, they often overlook the drinks, leading to a party spent tending bar and taking drink orders rather than having fun. Thankfully, there's a better way—two, in fact.

Method 1: Drink creation as a party activity.
Since parties serve to entertain, why not put refreshment options in the hands of your guests? Preparing a do-it-yourself drink station is as simple as choosing two cocktail recipes, purchasing the ingredients, and assembling a work station (complete with index card instructions) for guest assembly. While your drink options are endless, you'll appeal to the greatest crowd with two classics, one featuring dark liquor and one with light. You can't go wrong with the Whiskey Buck and Tom Collins.

Whiskey Buck Ingredients (multiply for larger gatherings):

  • 1 750ml bottle whiskey
  • 1 2-liter bottle Vernors Ginger Soda
  • 1 bottle ReaLime
  • 1 bottle Angostura bitters

Notecard directions:

  1. Pour 1.5 oz of whiskey into iced glass.
  2. Add .5 oz ReaLime.
  3. Add 2 dashes of bitters.
  4. Stir.
  5. Top with desired amount (suggested 3-4 oz) of Vernors Ginger Soda and serve.

 

Tom Collins Ingredients (multiply for larger gatherings):

  • 750ml bottle gin
  • 1 2-liter bottle Schweppes Club Soda
  • 1 bottle ReaLemon
  • 1 bottle (or batch) of simple syrup (1:1 mix of sugar and water)

Notecard directions:

  1. Pour 2 oz of gin into iced glass.
  2. Add .75 oz RealLemon.
  3. Add .5 oz simple syrup.
  4. Stir.
  5. Top with desired amount (suggested 3 oz) of Schweppes Club Soda and serve.​

 

Method 2: Pre-batched drinks topped with fizzy mixers.

If you prefer to have your guests do less work, there's another solution: Batch your main cocktail ingredients ahead of time, then top them with soda or fizzy mixers immediately prior to serving. This reduces serving time from a few minutes to a few seconds, and batching means that you can simply pour "rounds" when needed rather than start from scratch each time. Leaving the carbonation for last preserves the freshness and fizz for the holiday cocktail—batching with the soda can lead to flatness and is not encouraged. Here are two examples of easy pre-batched beverages perfect for a winter gathering: the Paloma and the Ward Eight.

To batch 12 Palomas, mix:

  • 1 750ml bottle tequila
  • 6 oz ReaLime

When ready to serve, pour 2.5 oz of mix into an iced highball glass, then top with 4-6 oz of Squirt Soda. If desired, salt the glass rim, then serve.

To batch 12 Ward Eights, mix:

  • 1 750ml bottle rye whiskey
  • 9 oz ReaLemon
  • 9 oz Nantucket Nectars Premium Orange
  • 1.5 oz Rose's Grenadine

When ready to serve, pour 3.75 oz of mix into a Collins glass with ice and stir, then top with an ounce of Schweppes Club Soda.

These recipes and methods should make for easy entertaining and happy holiday guests. Sometimes the simplest preparations make the biggest impressions, and utilizing high quality ingredients from Dr Pepper Snapple will ensure consistent and satisfying results. Cheers!