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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.

  41. Beth says:

    Mint Chocolate Baileys on ice is my new go-to favorite for the holiday season. I’m obsessed!

  42. AJ says:

    These are both sweet, so only around the holidays!
    Khalua + Orange Juice = Tootsie Roll
    Liquor 43 + Ginger Ale = Orange Creamsicle

  43. I’m not super-big into making cocktails (must be post-tramatic stress disorder from managing a hotel bar while I was in grad school)…I’m into the basic Vodka, Cranberry, with a twist as of late…or in the fall/winter – a shot of Tuaca in a warm apple cider. Yum!

  44. Nikki says:

    I’m really into pineapple martini’s made from Vanilla vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and a splash of sprite!!! It’s been a huge hit with my friends!

  45. Audra says:

    The PF Chang’s recipe for the Key Lime Pie Martini always goes down smooth and garners the best reviews at any party. I

  46. Lyndsay says:

    Wow, I’d love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win! My favorite holiday drink has to be the pomegranate martini. The color, the flavor…yum!

  47. Stephanie Fisher says:

    I like champagne with a splash of pomegranate liquor and a few pomegranate seeds. The bubbles in the champagne make the seeds float around. Very festive for the holidays!

  48. Kate says:

    Does peppermint hot chocolate count as a cocktail since I don’t drink?!? Haha.

  49. Rhi says:

    Hmmmm. I love hot buttered rum!

  50. Bridgette says:

    I am making pumpkin spice martinis for Christmas. Typically we do not discriminate on cocktails, whether it be Captain Morgan and diet coke to an occasional cosmo, but we wanted to mix it up. Tis the season.

  51. Ashley says:

    We’re cosmo girls so change out that lemon twist for a lime twist to go red and green… simple and always a favorite!

  52. Becky says:

    At my in-laws 50th anniversary party, we did the signature drink thing, the Mob Hit. Everyone loved it!

  53. Wynn says:

    Kir Royale. Festive and delicious.

  54. Nali P. says:

    pomegranate martini all the way!

  55. Patty H says:

    My favorite drink is the strawberry daiquiri.

  56. Shannon says:

    For my home bar its all about the bubbly! It is super easy when entertaining and there are limitless ways to dress it up and make it festive. I like adding cryistalized ginger and star anise in the winter, and homemade rhubarb simple syrup in the super. And of course you can’t go wrong with a Kir Royale.

  57. Trisha says:

    Well its not really a mixed drink but I love the simple Bailieys on ice. Sipping that by the fire is so wonderful and cozy.

  58. Silvia says:

    My family is from Guatemala and so for the holidays we traditionally make this Guatemalan punch that consists of various fruits. So obviously our signature drink is punch spiced with some rum. So good!

  59. I would be BEYOND thrilled to win this! As a consultant for the beverage and entertainment industry, my home is surely lacking in this department!

    One of my favorite quick and “fancy” cocktails to whip up is combination of champagne and energy drink. This can be a “Chambull” featuring champagne o’ choice and Red Bull or my favorite budget-savers: André and Burn!

    Either half and half mix, or mix to taste!

  60. Lauren says:

    SO FUN! I’m getting married February 21st and we love to entertain, those coasters are adorable!! YEA for Parties!!!

  61. Lindsay says:

    Brandy Alexander in my grandparent’s low ball glasses with the reindeers printed on them. They’ve been a family tradition since I can remember and I was so excited the year I was finally allowed to drink one.

    1 1/2 oz brandy
    1 oz dark creme de cacao
    1 oz half-and-half
    1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

  62. Melissa says:

    Homemade Eggnog with rum and brandy. And, I love wine too! :)

  63. nayy says:

    Kamakazee’s and mojito’s!

  64. Adrienne says:

    My favorite is the pomegranate champagne punch…picked it up from Bon App last year and it’s become a lasting crowd fave!

  65. My Sweet & Saucy says:

    I love peppermint chocolate martinis!

  66. kari says:


  67. styleosophy says:

    Green Fairy

    3 oz Parrot Bay Rum (the original flavor)
    2 oz Countreau or Triple Sec
    1 oz Rose’s Lime Juice

    Hide your car keys from yourself or find a designated driver. Hurry. Mix over ice and pour into your favorite glass. Or serve over ice.

  68. Nikki says:

    My favorite beverage during the holidays is Bailey’s and coffee! I love every flavor! it defintely warms you up on a cool winter day!

  69. Jaime says:

    My new favorite holiday drink is spiced wine. BUT, I will definitely try the candy cane martini since I’m a martini girl!

  70. megan says:

    My favorite is a Kahlua hot chocolate with a peppermint stick throw in. Yummy!

  71. Emily says:

    Nothing beats the super easy and very tasty raspberry vodka and Sprite! Love it!!

  72. Shelley K says:

    My favorite beverage during the holidays is Eggnogg. Yummy :)

  73. Amy S. says:

    The Poinsettia:
    3 parts champagne
    1 part cranberry juice
    1 part triple sec

    Shake and pour! YUM

  74. Kristen says:

    What a great book!
    I love a good pomegrante martini!

  75. Holly S says:

    I love pomagranate martinis…pom juice, pineapple juice and hypnotiq!
    So delicious you’ll want more than one!

  76. Diana H. says:

    I just love a Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Martini. There are many variations of this recipe but here’s a good one to try:

    0.5 oz white Creme de Cacao
    0.5 oz green Creme de Menthe
    0.25 oz Baileys Irish Cream
    0.25 oz Grey Goose Vodka

    Shake and pour into a martini glass. And if you have some Thin Mint Cookies stored in the back of your freezer bring them out to garnish the drink. You’ll feel very wintery, like you’re hanging around a fire in a chilly evening, trust me.

    Enjoy – Happy Holidays everyone!

  77. danica says:

    A great holiday hangover cure that I love is the bumosa.

    1/3 beer (any will do)
    1/3 orange juice
    1/3 champagne

    if you want some grenedine throw that in there too. it’s also delicous at night :)

    love the idea of a bar at home. what a great idea and thanks for the checklist!

  78. Heidi says:

    how fun! I would L.O.V.E. a copy of the book, I think it would be perfect addition to my coffee table book collection!! :)

  79. Val says:

    Hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps are the best on a cold winter night!

  80. Emily F says:

    ummm, I don’t drink. But if I did, I think I would like schnapps!

  81. Lauren says:

    I love a hot buttered rum on a cold winters night.

    2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/4 cup honey
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    Pinch salt
    3/4 cup spiced rum
    2 cups boiling water
    4 sticks cinnamon, for garnish

    Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 4-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add the rum and then 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter mixture dissolves. Divide the buttered rum among 4 mugs. Garnish with the cinnamon sticks and serve.

  82. Izzy says:

    Hot chocolate and baileys. Simple and delicious!

  83. Val says:

    Definitely the time of year for warm drinks, my favorites are mulled wine and any warm rum drink, this one is outstanding:

    Cafè Barbados
    1 1/2 oz dark rum
    1/2 oz coffee liqueur
    black coffee
    whipped cream
    shaved chocolate for garnish

    Pour the dark rum and coffee liqueur into an Irish coffee glass or coffee mug.
    Fill with hot coffee.
    Top with whipped cream
    Garnish with chocolate

  84. sommer says:


    1 oz. peppermint schnapps
    ½ oz. créme de cacao
    1 tsp. créme de menthe
    5 to 8 oz. hot chocolate
    About 1 oz. whipped cream
    Shaved chocolate

    Pour liqueurs into a glass mug, fill with hot chocolate and top with whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Now pull out a fresh mug and repeat the recipe for your spouse, friend, or SO (c’mon, this toddy is too tasty to share!).

  85. Whitney says:

    My favorite drink is a peppermint eggnog! It’s delicious! And non-alcholic so the kiddies can enjoy too! :)

  86. Miss Angel says:

    The Candy Cane Martini sounds amazing! And the coasters are so chic and girly — LOVE!

  87. Melissa says:

    A spiked eggnog is my favorite for the holidays. It’s a great way to kick off a holiday get-together. Delish!

  88. Sydney85 says:

    My favorite is a passionfruit martini – cheers!

  89. Susan says:

    I just tried the Hot Apple Pie that you posted about a while back and LOVED it!

  90. Ashley says:

    Not exactly a cocktail but its a super easy punch!
    1 bottle white wine
    1 bottle sparkling wine
    1 2L bottle of ginger ale
    Add some sliced citrus and… THATS IT

    Super refreshning and always a hit!

  91. Cherie B says:

    Well I prefer a glass of good red wine. i’m into Malbecs right now. I would also love to give that Peppermint Martini a try. I didn’t read too many comments but I will have to google that recipe. Sounds like one to try…soon!
    Cheers & Happy Holidays to all.!!

  92. Laura K says:

    I love, love, love Stoli Dolis. Take some vodka, infuse with chunks of fresh pineapple for several days, and enjoy! It tastes just like pineapple!

  93. Miranda says:

    My favorite drink to serve at holiday parties is christmas-y champagne: half champagne, half cranberry juice, garnished with a skewer threaded with cranberries. Yummy & festive! :)

  94. Shawna says:

    I love Apple Martinis and Cosmos….but honestly Fuzzy Navels remind me of the holidays because my Grandpa used to give me sips on Christmas Eve when I was little.

  95. Tanaz says:

    Mango Mojitos baby…..

  96. Anya says:

    Hot buttered rum!

  97. Carrie Z says:

    Bailey’s and coffee is my official Christmas drink!

  98. Haley says:

    Peppermint martinis all the way!

  99. Lisa says:

    Oh, so many favorites to choose from! Spiked Buttered Rum, Irish Coffee, Pomegranate Martinis, and Spiked Peppermint Cocoa for starters!!

  100. Ashley says:

    A staple and classic drink at our house is a White Russian – my fiance loves them and they are easy to make! You can even make them lower-calorie by substituting the cream with whole or 2% milk. Most of the girls don’t mind the low-fat option.

    White Russian
    2 oz vodka
    1 oz coffee liqueur
    light cream

  101. Shannon Bradly says:

    I love Mudslides or Chocolate Martini’s!

  102. Carolyn O. says:

    I love a key lime pie martini, it is amazing

  103. Megan says:

    I was thinking of just making a juice-infused vodka with blood oranges…maybe add a little lem/lime soda?!?

  104. Julie says:

    Mmm – spiked (hot) cider is my favorite holiday cocktail!

  105. dv says:

    I recently tried one a Christmas Tree (recipe found here: and I must say it was an instant fave.

  106. Katie says:

    I enjoy creating a champagne bar for my guests. Different juices and fruit pieces can be mixed for new, exciting drinks…
    cranberry juice and a raspberry garnish, pomegrante juice and a squeeze of lime, peach nectar and a mandarin orange slice…

  107. Shanea says:

    We always do red (cosmos) and green (apple) martinis for our holiday events- adding a candy cane to make it truly festive.

  108. Bree Johnson says:

    Im love shirly temples for the way they look and taste- red is an easy color to incorporate for a lot of seasons :)

  109. Kendall says:

    The peppermint martini looks delicious…and strong!

  110. Sonia says:

    My favorite holiday drink is a New Orleans classic.

    Here’s a receipe from Bon Appetit:

    Cafe Brulot

    6 Servings

    A New Orleans specialty that combines dark coffee with brandy, citrus and spices, this gets its name from the French words for coffee and burnt brandy. We’ve added a couple of twists, spiking it with Grand Marnier and topping it with whipped cream.

    1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
    2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

    1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    8 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-wide lemon peel strips (yellow part only)
    8 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-wide orange peel strips (orange part only)
    2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
    24 whole cloves

    2/3 cup brandy
    3 cups very strong freshly brewed coffee

    Beat cream with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier to stiff peaks in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours.

    Combine sugar, citrus peels, cinnamon, cloves and remaining 1/2 cup Grand Marnier in heavy large skillet. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture begins to simmer. Simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes.

    Return sugar mixture to simmer over medium heat. Pour mixture into large decorative heat-proof bowl. Pour brandy into heavy large saucepan. Set over medium heat; warm to lukewarm. Ignite with long match. Pour flaming brandy over sugar mixture in bowl. Gradually pour coffee down side of bowl (flames will subside). Bring to table. Ladle coffee into mugs, leaving peel and spices in bowl. Serve with whipped cream.

  111. Susan W says:

    Great Contest!! Thanks!

  112. Jessica says:

    My fav is the Bellini
    Recipe here:


  113. pat says:

    To Katie who likes pineapple julce and maliu rum…add some hypnotic to that!

  114. Wedding Planning Bay Area says:

    It is always advisable to build a small bar at your own home place as it not always possible for you drag yourself to a hot, crowded bar and wait twenty minutes for your gin and tonic