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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. 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.

  2. Izzy says:

    Hot chocolate and baileys. Simple and delicious!

  3. 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

  4. 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!).

  5. Whitney says:

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

  6. Miss Angel says:

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

  7. Melissa says:

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

  8. Sydney85 says:

    My favorite is a passionfruit martini – cheers!

  9. Susan says:

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.!!

  12. 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!

  13. 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! :)

  14. 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.

  15. Tanaz says:

    Mango Mojitos baby…..

  16. Anya says:

    Hot buttered rum!

  17. Carrie Z says:

    Bailey’s and coffee is my official Christmas drink!

  18. Haley says:

    Peppermint martinis all the way!

  19. Lisa says:

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

  20. 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