BYOB (Be Your Own Bartender)

The holidays afford the perfect opportunity to make your home a party hot spot.  According to Ray Foley, author of the new Bartending for Dummies®, with a little planning and minimal investment, your home bar can provide as many libation choices as the local watering hole.  “Entertaining doesn’t have to be extremely expensive,” says Foley.  “All you need is to learn the basics and anyone can create the ultimate party and become the best bartender in town.”

For those with a case of “cocktail confusion” remember-keep it simple.  Think beer, wine and liquors.  Make sure your bar has the essentials.

  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of gin
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of whiskey (Bourbon, Canadian, etc.)
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of rum
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of white wine
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of red wine
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of tequila
  • (1)   750-ml. bottle of vodka
  • (12) 12-oz. bottles of beer
  • (3)   750-ml. bottle of liqueurs and cordials of your choice (Irish cream, coffee liqueur, Grand Marnier, triple sec, Frangelico, amaretto, schnapps etc.)

Don’t skimp on the mixers.  You need one bottle of the following for every five guests

  • Cola/diet cola
  • Cranberry juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemon juice of lemon mix
  • Lemon-Lime soda
  • Lime juice
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Seltzer water or club soda
  • Tomato juice
  • Tonic Water

Finishing Touches “push an already tasty beverage into the category of divine”

  • Lemon twists
  • Lime and lemon wedges
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Olives
  • Orange slice
  • Augostura bitters
  • Salt and pepper
  • Superfine sugar
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce


Classics are Classics for a reason

Brandy Alexander

  • 1-1⁄2 oz. Brandy or Cognac
  • 1⁄2 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz. Sweet Cream or Ice Cream

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a Margarita glass

Bloody Mary

  • 1-1⁄4 oz. Vodka
  • 2-1⁄2 oz. Tomato Juice
  • dash Worcestershire Sauce
  • dash Tabasco Sauce
  • dash Salt and Pepper

Pour vodka over ice in a tall glass. Fill with tomato juice. Add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Stir and garnish with a celery stalk. For those who enjoy their Bloody Marys extremely spicy, add more Tabasco or even horseradish

Long Island Iced Tea

  • 1⁄2 oz. Vodka
  • 1⁄2 oz. Rum
  • 1⁄2 oz. Gin
  • 1⁄2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1⁄2 oz. Tequila
  • 3 oz. Cola

Shake the first five ingredients with ice and strain into a tall glass. Fill with cola. Garnish with lemon

Mai Tai

  • 3⁄4 oz. Bacardi Light Rum
  • 1⁄4 oz. Bacardi 151 Rum
  • 1⁄2 oz. Orange Curacao
  • 1⁄2 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice
  • 1⁄4 oz. Orgeat Syrup
  • 1⁄4 oz. Simple Syrup

Stir ingredients with ice in a tall glass. Garnish with mint, cherry, and pineapple


  • 2 oz. American or Canadian Whisky
  • splash Sweet or Dry Vermouth
  • dash Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry


  • 1 oz. Tequila
  • 1 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix or Lime Juice

Shake ingredients with ice or blend ingredients with crushed ice. Serve in a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wheel


  • 2 oz. Gin
  • dash extra dry Vermouth


Shake or stir gin and vermouth with ice. Strain and serve in a cocktail glass straight up or over ice.

Garnish with a twist or an olive

White Russian

  • 1-1⁄2 oz. Vodka
  • 1⁄2 oz. Kahlúa
  • 1⁄2 oz. Cream, whole milk or half and half

Shake ingredients and serve over ice in a rocks glass