Between the endless string of events and the chill in the air this time of year, it doesn't take much to convince your friends and family to have a night in. No matter if you're planning the party of the year or just inviting a few friends over, a great home bar is essential to make it a night to remember.
Having everything you need on hand is the base of creating the perfect home bar. From smooth spirits to glasses to tools for mixing drinks, when your bar arsenal is complete, there is no drink you can't make at home. -Even if you're starting from empty, a few simple steps will help transform you into a home bar master, and impress even the most discerning cocktail connoisseur:
* Choose spirits carefully. Look for distinctive spirits that have a reputation for quality. New Amsterdam Vodka, for instance, is a premium vodka known for its unparalleled smoothness, which means you can drink it straight or mix it into a variety of equally smooth cocktails. Flavor profiles are also important in some spirits, so look for brands that emphasize a good balance. New Amsterdam's award-winning gin is renowned for its balance and subtlety, which makes it a modern approach to this classic spirit. Be sure to have a good variety of the most popular spirits available so that you're able to make a range of drinks to satisfy any whim.
* Prep your cocktail supplies. Plastic cups are out - real cocktails made with New Amsterdam spirits need the right tools of the trade. That includes glassware, so make sure you have everything you need, from highballs and lowballs to champagne flutes, red and white wine glasses and pint glasses for beer. Other barware you might want to consider includes a shaker, a strainer, a muddler, an ice bucket and a jigger, which will come in handy when measuring out proportions.
* Customize your cocktails. Since you're home, you're in charge of the garnishes, and can pick your favorites. A supply of citrus fruits like limes, lemons and oranges let you add twists or a squeeze of fresh juice. When you're hosting, make it fun by setting out items like pickles, olives, cheese cubes or celery and letting guests create their own skewers to garnish their drinks. Keep up the customization theme by offering your guests a signature cocktail or two, particularly if you're celebrating a special occasion.
Whether it's a large party or an intimate gathering, hosting at home allows you to man the bar and personalize the evening. New Amsterdam offers two signature drink recipes that will show off your smooth bar skills, and are as easy to make as they are to drink. Add these to your bar repertoire, or get more ideas at facebook.com/newamsterdamspirits.
A "wintry mix" of New Amsterdam Gin, maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon, this steamy cocktail is the perfect storm.
2 ounces New Amsterdam Gin
1 ounce maple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Fill with hot water
Directions: Add ingredients in a mug.
Garnish: a pinch of cinnamon
For those who don't ski the Bunny Slope.
2 ounces New Amsterdam Vodka
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce maple syrup
Directions: Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish: lemon peel