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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 EXPECTING VIPs...Boss coming over? Not a good time to experiment with mixing drinks. Stick to what you know. If there's something that bonds you, play it up with your choice of what you serve. "Let's say you finished a big project for Tropicana at work. Make a pitcher of a cocktail with orange juice," says Page. Don't have anything that quite bonds you like that yet? If you're a little more adventurous and know your VIP's favorite ingredients, invent a cocktail named in his/her honor (hey, a little sucking up never hurt). If you're not sure who exactly what the crowd will be like, Page suggests chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. "It's a safe option, but if you want to encourage others to enjoy new experiences, serve an obscure white and red from Spain that they may have never tasted — take them somewhere!" With special guests, service and hospitality is key. Make sure to keep things easy on your guests. "Have premade drinks ready, ice easily accessible, and everything easily laid out so it won't get too congested and possibly curtail people's drinking," says Kalman.

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