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This time of year is and always has been my favorite. Not just because of celebrating the holiday’s but because countless friends, relatives and neighbors open up their homes and their home bars to me(and others) not just for the holiday, but to show off their homes, families, and to celebrate their own good fortune. I appreciate this more than most, for it’s not the homes or the food I care about…this is the time when I get to drink some incredible liquor. Most people that invite me in their homes do so with the intention of trying to impress or surprise me with a spirit which I may have never tried or even heard of, good for me! So please continue to pour me 25 year scotches, single barrel craft whiskeys, the vodka your uncle Anatoly snuck in from Poland! I love it all, but remember these should be for quiet moments not for the general public. The typical holiday goer doesn’t care for the finer spirits, they are usually mixing them with juice or soda. I wanted to impart and share my experience and knowledge so that you can have a successful holiday home bar for you and your guests will both enjoy!!

Rule# 1 Size matters, just not the way you think. As Americans we are conditioned to thing that bigger is better, not so. Let’s start with the spirits, even though a large bottle (1.75ml) is the best value I recommend a smaller one (75http://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/2bb3db6e7e5http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgml), particularly for a self-serve bar. Firstly they are easier to handle and due the smaller size your guests will be conscience of this and pour lighter. This is important because you don’t want anyone leaving your home and getting behind the wheel impaired. One last thing, put pourer spouts on all of the bottles, not only does it look better but it will help control the amount poured.

Rule# 2 Glassware. Use smaller glassware. Most people don’t understand how to pour so give them your barware should be 5oz. – 7oz. It looks more elegant and will help you guests enjoy their cocktails. If you are serving wine, the same rule applies; you don’t need to use your Bordeaux glasses for this event. Please find something smaller and universal (one 7oz – 9oz. glass for both red and white wines) I also advise against leaving a corkscrew out. Either open a few ahead of time or get wines with a twist top. Just so you know, more and more great wines are coming with a twist top as compared to a cork.

Rule# 3 Mixers, Fruit and garnishes. This should be pretty simple. Mixers are easy. Seltzer, tonic, Angostura Bitters and Cola, That’s it! Keep it simple. If someone has a special need they will ask. As for fruit and garnishes, the same applies, keep it basic! Lemons, limes, and Spanish olives. And ice. Get good clear cubed ice!

Rule# 4 Salty snacks. Absolutely never! Salty snack are served at bars to make you thirstier, and hence drink more. Your home is not a business (and I also disagree with this tactic for businesses) you need to see that your guests get home safely.

Rule# 5 Anthony’s Rule – that special bottle. Now this is my favorite rule, mainly because I named it after myself. If you have a special spirit, wine, cordial etc. that you would like to share with someone it is best not to do it publicly. I would advise asking the intended recipients of your generosity to arrive 3http://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/2bb3db6e7e5http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg minutes early or stay a little bit late and explain why. You don’t need everyone at your party draining that one special bottle! If it can’t be done before or after, I would suggest finding a private room and excuse yourself and your quests quietly. Ask that they finish the drink before going back out to join the others, and remember to keep this to yourselves; you don’t need your guests knowing that only a select few get to partake in this experience.

It’s my belief that celebrating at this time of year should be joyous and festive. These are just some rules that I have found that will help to enhance your party experience. I wish you all the happiest of holidays and a joyous New Year! Remember its 5:http://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/2bb3db6e7e5http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpghttp://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/2bb3db6e7e5http://cdna.tid.al/2bb3db6e7e50742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpg742ed45cffec65d92db47156e18a.jpgpm somewhere!