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Stock-the-bar parties have been around — for housewarming or welcoming a new bartender into the fold — but recently there has been a lot of buzz about them as wedding showers.


Guests bring two bottles (one for the party and one for the couple’s bar) or bar-related gifts. The host sets up food and mixers and the newlyweds get a stocked bar.

Hosting:


First: Relax. The host is not expected to provide two of everything. Cover the party, and maybe provide the recipients with your list so they can recreate it later. Plan on providing a course of snacks for the guests and the essential mixers and garnishes for a working bar. Here is a shopping list for your convenience:

Mixers
Soda water
Tonic water
Sodas
7-Up and/or Sprite (Yes … it matters)
Cola
Ginger ale
Juices
Orange
Grapefruit
Cranberry
Pineapple
Tomato
Grenadine
Concentrated
lime juice
Bitters (Angostura is fine for most drinks)
Simple syrup (You can save time and buy it or save money and make it)

Garnishes
Cocktail olives (Don’t get fancy)
Cocktail onions
Horseradish
Tabasco
Salt and pepper
Sugar and artificial sweetener (Just trust me.)
Fruit
Cherries
Lemons and Limes
Ice (Get more than you think you will need.)

Building a Bar
Consider what kind of bar you are going to make and for whom you are making it. A simple home bar does not need all of the things a pro might want, but if the owner is a lover of the tipple, more is better. Determining who brings what can be daunting, but will assure you don’t end up with six bottles of the same liquor or wine. You can assign things to some of your guests, make recommendations or just start a tally sheet. Here are the basics to shoot for:

Basic Spirits
“The Five White Liquors”
• White rum
• Vodka
• Gin
• Tequila (Blanco or
Plata, White or Silver)
• Triple Sec
Scotch
Bourbon

Feel like taking it to the next level? Try adding these liquors for advanced imbibing.
Whiskey (Canadian or Irish)
Brandy or cognac
Dark or spiced Rum
Tequila (Reposado or Anejo)
Curaçao
Vermouth
Liqueurs and aperitifs
Amaretto
Frangelico
Midori
Chambord
Applejack
Grand Marnier
Campari
Akvavit
Cordials

Guests:


Don’t try to go too fancy when choosing your bottles. And you don’t necessarily need the most expensive brand — bring your favorite. I also recommend bringing a recipe that showcases why you love it and teach everyone how to make this masterpiece. Just remember to bring any special garnishes or additions that wouldn’t be in the average bar, say, pickled herring, for example.

Not sure what to bring? Talk to the host. Have a great non-alcoholic drink recipe? That works as well. Bringing wine and beer to these events is also fine, as long as you bring two of something you love.

Bar tools (just one of each, thanks) are also fine gifts. Again, check in with your host to see what the recipients already have. Mixing tins, decanters, muddlers, drink guides, an ice bucket or wine key are always welcome, but glassware can be tricky due to variety of styles. Check the wedding gift registry first.

To the happy couple!
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