Whether you’re hosting a large get-together or having a mellow night at home, if you plan to stay in this New Year’s Eve, you’ll want to make sure your spirits cabinet is well-stocked. Here are our seven biggest pointers for stocking a superior New Year’s Eve home bar.
1. Make sure you have the basics on hand. If you’re building a basic home bar from scratch, you’ll want to stock a bottle of each of the basic spirits: gin, vodka, bourbon, rum and tequila. It’s good to have vermouth, bitters, seltzer, tonic, fresh lemons and limes, martini olives and ice, too. These home bar essentials are ideal if you’re looking for a hands-off setup where guests can serve themselves.
2. You don’t have to have a full bar, though. In fact, our biggest advice would be this: Don’t overcomplicate the drink situation with too much variety. Pick one crowd-pleasing cocktail (it could be your own signature cocktail!), prep any garnishes ahead of time and mix the same beverage all night long. If you’re more keen on serving, say, wine, select one red variety and one white; Chardonnay and Cabernet are good bets.
3. Know how many people are drinking. As a general rule, designate one bottle of wine for every two to three guests, about 1 liter of liquor for every 10 to 12 guests. Get more details on calculating cocktail party math.
4. Be supportive of sober guests and designated drivers. From ginger beer and fruit-infused seltzer to coffee and iced tea, there are plenty of options you can offer guests who are steering clear of alcohol. We recommend asking ahead about drink preferences.
5. Buy the right amount of bubbly. While we don’t recommend serving sparkling wine continuously throughout the night, you’ll want to make sure you have enough on hand for a toast when the clock strikes midnight (assume one 750-ml bottle is enough for about six Champagne flutes). Be prepared by chilling your bottles 30 minutes beforehand in ice buckets, and keep a couple bottles of sparkling apple juice around as a nonalcoholic option, too.
6. Take stock of your glassware and your barware. Once you know what you’re serving, run a barware and glassware count. Depending on what beverages you’re serving, you may need special glassware and barware (common tools are shown below). If you need more glasses, buy plastic stemware from the party store, or contact a glassware rental company nearby.
7. Don’t forget the ice. Really: Just about every host seems to forget ice. Avoid the wrath of the warm cocktail by setting aside one pound of ice per person.