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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY + Home Bar Tips from The Nest!

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The Nest Home Design Book


Build a Bar at Home (Warning: Hangovers Ahead!)

Hi! I’m Carley from, the spin-off home site from the folks at (every bride’s wedding obsession). We recently came out with The Nest Home Design Handbook, a cool 101 on everything casa-related. I’m thrilled to be guest-blogging on HWTM about building a bar at home—because c’mon, how many more times can you drag yourself to a hot, crowded bar and wait twenty minutes for your gin and tonic? Consider this your very own VIP lounge.

The Nest Home Design Book

{photo by: Mark Lund}

Hook Up Your Cart

Okay, if you don’t mind plunking down a bit of cash, we love this sleek bar cart from Restoration Hardware. It keeps everything in one handy zone and can be rolled anywhere in the house.

Budget-conscious? Skip the cart and set up your bar on a side table. Another way to save is to skip a lot of pricey liquors and stick to just vodka. It’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck since it can be mixed with OJ, cranberry, Bloody Mary mix, and more. Download our Stocking the Bar checklist on and toss it in your purse so you don’t get amnesia at the liquor store.


The Nest Home Design Book

Fom left to right: highball, rocks, martini
{photo by: Ericka McConnell}

Don’t Go Overboard on the Glasses

All it takes to get those stiff drinks a flowin’ are three types of glasses: the highball (a Screwdriver’s best buddy), the rocks glass (holds scotch straight-up for Mad Men wannabes), and the martini (enough said). Find ’em for under $3 each at CB2.


The Nest Home Design Book

{photo by: StockFood}

Get Cool Tools for Shaking and Pouring
Skip all the frou-frou tools and get the basics: a good vino and bottle opener, a cocktail shaker (I like the flip-top one from Metrokane with a built-in strainer) and a jigger (fancy word for shot glass).


The Nest Home Design Book

{Photo provided by: Dabney Lee at Home}

Personalize Your Bar with Chic Coasters

Like Saturn rings on your coffee table? Thought not. Pick up these monogrammed drink coasters from Dabney Lee at Home and you’re golden. They’re fun, recyclable, and totally customizable. What’s not to love?


The Nest Home Design Book

{Photo by: Laurie Frankel}

Pour a Signature Cocktail

Here’s my secret to a successful party: one signature drink. I might have some wine and beer on hand, but those are kind of generic—at the end of the night it’s the signature cocktail that everyone will be talking about. This Candy Cane Martini is perfect for the holidays.


1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 tsp. peppermint schnapps
1 oz. club soda
Mini candy cane, for garnish

Pour vodka, peppermint schnapps, and club soda over a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until cold; then pour into a chilled martini glass. Hang mini candy cane over lip of glass.

From Holiday Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission from Chronicle Books


Now that I’ve shared my favorite holiday cocktail, what’s YOURS? Post it in the comments here, and you’ll be entered to win one of TEN free copies of The Nest Home Design Handbook!

Giveaway ends Wednesday, December 17 at midnight PST. Good luck!


WINNER UPDATE – 12/29/08: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the 10 lucky random winners are:

70 – Megan
43 – WVU-Mama
83 – Val
53 – LaurenB

69 – Jaime
78 – Heidi

4 – Sarah W.
56 – Shannon
85 – Whitney
72 – Shelley K

Congrats to all of you! You will be contacted via email for your mailing address. Hope you enjoy the book – it’s fantastic!

Alternative Text
POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

114 responses to “SURPRISE GIVEAWAY + Home Bar Tips from The Nest!”

  1. Abbie says:

    I love a peppermint-chocolate martini this time of year. It’s super sweet, but it definitely gets you in the spirit!

  2. Katie says:

    Not so much a cocktail, but a mixed drink:
    Pineapple Juice and Malibu Rum. The perfect combination!

  3. Lisa T says:

    I love a good White Russian!

  4. Sarah W. says:

    That candy cane martini sure sounds wonderful and could be a new favorite.
    I’m not sure my current favorite drink would be considered a holiday cocktail, but it’s something i love anytime. A strawberry bellini

  5. Greta P. says:

    I like to keep it simple with a glass of wine, but I might have to try the candy cane martini!

  6. lindsey says:

    I’d love to win! My favorite cocktail is a good bellini. A close second would be a raspberry martini. Yum!

  7. Michelle says:

    A sweet and puckering appletini always makes an event a little more fun.

  8. i just had a christmas party at my place this past weekend, and made two simple mixed drinks into punch…

    pinapple juice, passion fruit rum and grenadine (if you mix the pineapple juice and rum first, then slowly add the grenadine you get a very cool sunset effect). i froze pineapple rings and topped the punch with them.

    mulled hot apple cider, rum and tuaca. i just mulled the cider with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, then added the liquor just before the guests arrived.

  9. Nicole says:

    I love the cosmo!! ahha those girls from SATC had great taste!!

  10. katelin says:

    mmm i love this juicy pair martini that my friend always serves!

  11. Michelle says:

    I love minimosas! nothing can beat oj and champange!!

  12. melissa says:

    I just love the taste of pina coladas!! yum! hope i win!

  13. Dawn says:

    A non-alcoholic, but nonetheless a fabulous drink, are apple ginger sparklers from Martha Stewart, made with fresh ginger syrup, sparkling apple cider, and served with a piece of crystallized ginger and a cinammon stick for a garnish.

    I served them last year as an non-alcoholic option during a Christmas party, and we just served them in martini glasses at a secet agent party (shaken and stirred).

  14. says:

    Last year at Christmas we served Appletinis and Pomegranate Martinis which made our dinner table especially festive. The Pomegranate Martini was my fave!

  15. Nicky says:

    mmm i love the taste of margaritas!! nothing makes a party better than some awesome strawberry margaritas!!

  16. My favorite holiday cocktail is a chocolate martini garnished with a candy cane using White & Dark Godiva Chocolate and Belvedere Vodka – sooo good!

    It makes a great after dinner or dessert drink, and a really great treat for a romantic night at home!

    Just put on a little bit of Norah Jones or Sarah McLachlan Wintersong, light the fireplace, pour your chocolate martini, get comfy with some good conversation and enjoy the season…

  17. ringo says:

    My favorite would be a peppermint chocolate martini! It brings back memories of my first anniversary with my fiance at a martini & jazz bar during the holidays.

  18. Christina says:

    I just love some malibu rum and pineapple juice over ice. Add a splash of blue curacao for color!

  19. MelissaF says:

    Right now I’m really loving cosmos so I guess that’s my signature drink…for now. Although that Candy Cane martini sounds like something I need to try this season!

  20. Hailey says:

    My favorite holiday cocktail is warm apple pie! Nothing like sipping that on a cold winter holiday!

  21. My mom’s eggnog is a holiday legend. Think Blue Bell vanilla ice cream blended with whiskey & bourbon. It has quite a punch! Happy holidays!


  22. I love pomegranite martinis!

  23. Casie says:

    I like spiked eggnog. Yummy.

  24. Joanna says:

    I am loving a Kir Royale right now, or basically anything with champagne!

  25. Arlynn says:

    Right now, I’m into Flirtinis, Limoncello Bellinis and a nice Spked Cider, especially at this time of the year!

    Happy Holidays!

  26. Erin says:

    we always serve “pointsettia cocktails” on christmas eve – no elaborate process makes it easy for people to DIY

  27. Christine says:

    love this one : white cranberry juice, vodka and fresh cranberries to garnish. (I’ve also subbed the vodka out for a sparkling wine or 7up)

  28. I love the idea of a peppermint martini for holiday parties.

  29. ljcadv says:

    wow these tips are great! Especially since my husband rarely drinks this is perfect for me and our friends! My fav. holiday drink would be good old fashioned hot chocolate.. with a little ‘special’ kick to it! hehehe

  30. Kate says:

    I made lemon drops for a holiday party last week and instead of serving them with ice cubes I tossed in some frozen lemon slices. They were a hit!

  31. Lisa says:

    Mmm, anything chocolate. Or lemonade with sugar and mint, spiked with vodka.

  32. Trayce says:

    Christmas morning = a great bloddy mary. Last year my father in law and I (we kinda tolerate each other)bonded over them, we both loved the mix Finest Call Extra Spicy but the to die for was the celery I would never have thought you could say Celery tasted great.

  33. Kelly says:

    this one’s easy – a great pomegranate martini. check this one out!


  34. Nicole says:

    Holiday Blend coffee with Godiva chocolate liquor! The perfect blend of cocktail and coziness when it is cold outside!

  35. Janine says:

    I recently had a holiday housewarming party and served up Hot Apple Cider spiked with spiced rum. Its warm, not strong of alcohol flavor, and everyone enjoyed it. :)

  36. LaurenB says:

    I love hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. mmmm….

  37. Lu says:

    Mine is the Peppermint Patty made with vodka, peppermint schnapps and white creme de cacao

  38. Tori says:

    I’m rather simple, I love Cosmos. Looking forward to making some New Year’s Eve.

  39. says:

    I love Chambaurd and Hot Chocolate (not sure the name of it).

  40. Jessica says:

    I love Caramel Apple Martinis! They are delicious. Coming in close to that would have to be Bailey’s Mint Chocolate with hot chocolate.