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The holidays are underway, which means you’ll likely be playing host in the near future. While there are many elements that come together for a successful gathering this time of year, there’s no denying that libations play an integral role when it comes to setting the mood and keeping everyone in good spirits.

Here are a few tips for stocking your home bar (or bar cart) this holiday season that are sure to please friends and family.

Tools of the Trade
First off, make sure that you’re properly equipped to handle any elaborate drink orders that may come your way. At the very least, a quality shaker, muddler and bar knife are the bare necessities, but it’s also helpful to have a jigger when crafting cocktails. If your guests enjoy sipping spirits on the rocks, a large ice mold for making hefty cubes is sure to impress.

Seasonal Ingredients
When the temperature drops, there are certain ingredients that beg to be infused in our beverages, like maple, ginger, peppermint or pumpkin. You can give your favorite concoction a seasonal twist, like a cinnamon-spiced Old Fashioned. Or, if you want to have something pre-mixed when everyone arrives, a hot mulled cider or eggnog with brandy is the perfect way to greet your guests after they’ve been traveling through the cold.

Stock Up on the Essentials
You don’t need to have 20 different types of gin readily available, but just make sure that you have a solid selection of high-quality spirits to serve your guests. Bourbon, in particular, is always popular this time of year and you can go a long way with just a few mixers and garnishes. Throw in a selection of wine that pairs well with hearty winter meals, like Malbec, chardonnay and shiraz, as well as some hoppy brews, and you’ll be covered on all fronts.

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