Holiday Hosting

It’s Holiday Hosting season! Admittedly, I’m a planner. I’m an organiser. I’m a Virgo. I love hosting people in our home anytime of the year. I love planning the food, drink, decor, all of it. But… I know that hosting others in your space can be stressful for a lot of people. We worry about things that truly don’t matter – if people will enjoy themselves, if our house is clean enough, if they like us… all of the things!

What actually matters when hosting guests at your home (besides everyone’s enjoyment!)? The offerings that you have for them! I’m here to help simplify the drinks that you serve at home when having guests over for any occasion (because any day can be fit for celebrating!). The easiest way to have nice cocktails for your guests is to make a whole bunch of them ahead of time. This then means you get to spend all the time with your people, instead of being stuck in the kitchen slinging drinks all night (and working out how much gin goes into what!).

Take your favourite cocktail, multiple it by the number of guests or drinks that you think that you’ll need and get making! Store them in a resealable container in the fridge until the magic moment of guest arrival.

Classic Cocktails that work well to batch:

  • Cosmopolitan
  • Martini
  • Gin & Tonic
  • Negroni
  • Manhattan
  • Old Fashioned

For batched cocktails like above, you can take it a step further by creating a self-serve station for your guests that include a pitcher of the cocktail, glassware plus garnishes that they can choose to add themselves. We totally stole this idea from Evelyn Chick’s For the Love of Cocktails book. Seen here is her Group G&T with all the fixings.

Holiday Hosting | Bartender Atlas

Group G&T from For the Love of Cocktails by Evelyn Chick. Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith


What’s in a punch? Anything and everything! Punches are a great way to use up any spirits that you have kicking around including those that you do not know what to do with and those that maybe, you are not wanting to drink neat (if you know what we mean). There are a plethora of punch recipes online – or you can expand on and experiment with any recipes you find.

When making a punch, a few tips to remember:

  • You’ll want to add spirit, sugar and mixer (like soda water or soda pop) and ice.
  • The ice is here to not only keep your drinks cool but to also dilute your punch. When putting your ingredients together, you’ll want it to seem a little overproof at first to compensate for when the melted ice mixes in.
  • Ideally you should freeze a big block of ice to sit in the punch bowl while it is out. The larger the ice block, the slower it will take to melt meaning, it’ll keep the bowl cooler for longer.  You can freeze a water in any container that you have in your home. Bundt tins work great and they look pretty! Bonus: put some fruit or edible flowers in the water before freezing your ice for extra visual impact.


Below is a punch recipe from Evelyn Chick’s book For the Love of Cocktails.


Holiday Hosting | Bartender Atlas

Spiced Berry Beret from For the Love of Cocktails by Evelyn Chick. Photo: Jessica Blaine Smith


Spiced Berry Beret by Evelyn Chick from For the Love of Cocktails
An explosion of berry flavours paired with the reposado tequila, this Sangria-inspired punch is too good to last the entire party! My mother used to make Sangria with cinnamon infused orange juice, cassis and boxed wine. While I always thought it was an amazing party trick, I never admitted that to her. So, this is an ode to my mother, and the many pitchers of Sangria I snuck a taste from. Have fun and make lots of substitutions–anything goes with this one.

3 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries and raspberries
10 oz Patron Reposado Tequila
20 oz dry red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
½ orange, sliced into wheels
5 oz vanilla agave syrup
10 oz acid adjusted pineapple juice
20 oz premium soda

In a large punch bowl (at least 128 oz in volume), combine mixed berries, tequila and wine. Take a wooden spoon and gently mash the berries and let sit for at least 1 hour. Add cinnamon sticks, orange slices, syrup and juice, and give it a stir. Add a large ice chunk or a couple of large ice cubes and pour in the soda. Serve immediately by ladling the cocktail into rocks glasses filled with ice.

TIP: This is an easy one to play with. No berries? Use peaches. No red? Use white. Be creative and don’t be shy in exploring flavour pairings!

Jessica Blaine Smith
Co-creator at Bartender Atlas
Jess co-created Bartender Atlas with her bartender husband Josh Lindley. She has worked as a full-time freelance photographer for the past two decades. Her photography focuses on lifestyle portraits, food & drink photography and corporate portraits and events She recently photographed Evelyn Chick's For the Love of Cocktails book. While not a bartender herself, she definitely loves a strong stirred cocktail, preferably one that is brown and/or smokey. Jess is a proud ambassador of her home city of Toronto.
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