Creating Your Holiday Bar

If there’s one thing you can count on at a party, it’s the fact that everyone will make their way to the bar for a refreshing beverage.  Setting a festive display and adding a few special details is simple with these ideas and tips. 
I decided to design a bar that would coordinate with my Cocktails & Cheers party.  By following the same color scheme and incorporating the felt circle swag & other circle/dot details, the look is modern and whimsical.  

I began by setting up a card table and covering it with a fabulous fitted table cover from TableVogue.  

  • My first tip is to serve juice mixers in pitchers, bottles, or other decanter.  This looks so much nicer than having all types of commercial containers on the table. 
  • For soda mixers, I like to set out smaller size cans or bottles.  This way you can store the extras for later, instead of throwing out a half empty 2-liter.
  • A little detail to add to your ice bucket is to freeze ice cubes in silicone trays with fun shapes.  I used a star shape for this party and added a cranberry to some while keeping others plain.
  • I also like to have a savory snack on the bar.  It’s nice to have little nibbles while your getting your cocktail or chatting with someone.  I made spicy nuts for this table and am sharing the recipe for this slightly sweet, slightly spicy snackhere.  Other good choices are chex mix or flavored popcorn.

  • My next tip is to add some type of glass garnish whether it’s a wedge of lime, a sugar rimmed edge, or in this case, a mini candy cane hanging off the side.  Everyone loves this thoughtful touch.
  • Round up your items in trays for an arrangement that looks neat and deliberate.  It also helps contain spills or drips.  
  • Adding playful or humorous cocktail napkins is one of my favorite ways to incorporate personality, and can even help generate conversation.
  • Keeping your liquor choices to the basics can keep your budget in check as well as being a space saver.  I find that bourbon, vodka, and rum usually satisfy most tastes.  For extra options I like to add in a flavored rum such as coconut or spiced rum.  All these liquors can be mixed with the same sodas or juices, again minimizing your space and cost.
  • One of my favorite ‘special occasion’ projects is making an ice cooler.  It’s an impressive presentation but is simple to prepare – you just need a couple of days for freezing.  The one I made here holds vodka but you can also make them to hold white wine.  You can see the tutorial for the ice cooler here.  
 I hope these tips will help you organize your next bar set-up.  CHEERS!

For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!


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  1. Ashleigh Dorfman of posh parties, LLC says

    Nice presentation! I love the ice cooler. My fruit would never freeze so perfectly =)

  2. Half Baked says

    Looks great Chris! I love the cranberry ice… so simple but makes a statement. Will have to add this to my Christmas to-do list. :)

  3. Jonnie Fox says

    I'm glad to say I do most of these things with our Christmas bar (the nice decanters, pretty stirrers, Christmas decor and cloth, etc), but you really WOW'd me with the "ice snuggie". I LOVE that! Can't wait for the tutorial.

    BTW…LOVE your new profile photo!