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How to stock a bar for your holiday party

Plan the perfect party

Who has time to make canapés and polish crystal stemware? Let's keep hosting as easy as possible.

IF YOU'RE IN THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS SPIRIT...There is no group of guests you know better, so use what you know to tailor the bar. "Show you're a gracious host by stocking up on the exact bourbon or microbrew that a friend drinks. It's a thoughtful gesture," says Jollon. "Think about a theme that unites you," says Page. "If you traveled to France together, re-create the moment by serving a selection of French wines and matched French cheeses." If you're all from the same area, consider serving a selection from that state's winery. "As of 2002, there are now wineries in all 50 states, so you could serve a wine from the state you're from," adds Page. Expecting lots of couples? Try stocking more a variety since women tend to gravitate to wine, champagne, and mixed cocktails, while guys tend prefer beer and single liquor drinks. "If you're making cocktails, stick to ones that everyone will feel comfortable holding," says Jollon. "No pink cosmos, please!"

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