5 Tips for Stocking a Family Bar

October, 2013 · By Coryanne Ettiene

If you know me, you know that I will plan my holiday bar as well as I plan my holiday dinner.  But for some of us, hours of menu planning frequently go into delivering the perfect Thanksgiving dinner and stocking the family bar is a last minute shuffle that is done the night before.   The complexity of my family’s drinking habit is enough to see me pour my first cocktail at dawn.  We all host guests who simply cannot pass up a drink, and guests who stay well clear of the alcohol, making bar stocking a real talent, especially when sensitivities to drinking often appear when large families gather over the holidays.  Here are my top 5 tips for stocking a family friendly bar:

Thanksgiving BarTips by Coryanne Ettiene


  1. Go Clear.  Drinking and spilling go together like Vermouth and olives. To avoid the embarrassment and frustration of cocktail stains on your carpet or upholstery, opt to serve vodka, gin, champagne, and white rum. Compliment with clear mixers like 7up, Indian tonic and soda water, then garnish with lime, lemon and olives.
  2. Get Creative.   Don’t leave the non-drinks in the inspiration dark, be as creative with their drinks as you are with the cocktails.  Consider infused syrups, herbs, fruit, sugar rims and decorative ice cubes when planning your non-alcholilic line up.
  3. Embrace Tradition. The delight of being a child at a family bar is the endless supply of Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers.  The best way to be a hit amongst your younger set is to keep these free flowing, heaping with cherries, served in fabulous glasses with fun straws. And for a healthy twist on a Shirley Temple, opt for a fruit juice and sparkling water blend.
  4. Bubble Up.  A toast is not a toast without a few bubbles. Have a few bottles of sparking wine or champers on hand, along with the non-alcoholic version, to ensure that when you do raise your glass that everyone is raising a bubbly glass right alongside you.
  5. Over Stock.  When hosting a family party, be sure to have more than you need on hand, after all, family gathering make people thirsty.


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