Tips For Mixing Holiday Drinks

The holiday season is upon us and that means mixing holiday drinks (great, festive drinks!) for lots of folks, so you'll want to be properly equipped.

To stock your home bar for the holidays, you'll need to include a few extras in addition to what you already have for your cocktail fixings.

Mixed drinks aren't hard to do. If you can follow a recipe, you can mix a drink.

I've prepared this page to give you a few good tips that all party-givers should know about mixing drinks. To start, I've compiled a list of what you'll need that will come in handy for mixing up the best holiday drinks ever.

Handy Vessels and Tools
* Jigger measure - with half and quarter ounces clearly marked
* Jazzy chrome cocktail shaker
* Measuring spoons
* Glass stirring rod or long bar spoons
* Bar strainer
* Can opener
* Bottle opener
* Corkscrew
* Small sharp knife
* Mortar and pestle or wooden muddler
* Ice bucket with tongs
* Lemon/lime squeezer
* Electric blender
* Small bar towels

Useful Glassware
* 3-4 oz. Long-stemmed cocktail glasses
* 8-12 oz. Highball or Collins glasses
* 6 oz. Champagne flutes
* 4 oz. Old-fashioned glasses
* 1 oz. Pony or pousse cafe glasses
* Punch cups and a punch bowl

Fruit Garnishes
* Maraschino cherries both red and green
* Olives
* Lemons
* Limes
* Oranges

* Salt and Pepper
* Worcestershire sauce
* Tabasco or other hot sauce
* Sweet flavorings
* Grenadine
* Maraschino liqueur

Even though you've mastered the art of bartending, there are always a few bartender tips to keep handy - particularly when the holidays arrive.

For instance, do you know how to make one of the main ingredients of quite a few mixed drinks? It's called simple syrup, and like the name implies, it's very simple to make ahead of time.

Simply, dissolve 1 pound of granulated sugar in 8 ounces of warm water. Stirring constantly, add an additional 8 ounces of water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, store the syrup in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and use when called for. How easy is that? I guess that's why it's called simple syrup!

With the holidays always seemingly around the corner, here are a few more items you might want to have handy - especially for those specialty drinks:

* Peppermint candy or candy canes
* A block of bittersweet chocolate for grating
* Colored sugar for rimming glasses.

And here are some additional tips for bartenders that you might find useful:

* Serve cocktails icy cold. If possible, store your equipment in the freezer for a few hours before using.

* Have lots of cracked ice on hand. You must discard the ice in the cocktail shaker once you've mixed the drink. And always use fresh ice if the cocktail is "on the rocks."

* It's not a time-saver, but drinks seem to taste better when mixed individually - especially drinks like martinis and anything with carbonation in the mix. Use a clean, chilled glass for each cocktail - even for refills.

* Be sure you include non-alcoholic choices when serving drinks and ALWAYS encourage your guests to drink responsibly.

Enjoy the holidays!

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About The Author, Sara Gray
Sara Gray is an avid lover of appetizers and has created a great Website called Easy Appetizer Recipes where you can find delicious ideas for all kinds of hot and cold appetizers, holiday appetizer ideas, raclette grilling, fondue, tapas small plates, snacks, chips and dip ideas, and appetizer soups.