11 Dec

SURPRISE GIVEAWAY + Home Bar Tips from The Nest!

The Nest Home Design Book


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

Hi! I’m Carley from TheNest.com, the spin-off home site from the folks at TheKnot.com (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 TheNest.com 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!

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Shannon Bradly SAYS:

I love Mudslides or Chocolate Martini’s!

December 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Carolyn O. SAYS:

I love a key lime pie martini, it is amazing

December 12, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Megan SAYS:

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

December 12, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Julie SAYS:

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

December 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

dv SAYS:

I recently tried one a Christmas Tree (recipe found here: http://www.whattodrink.com/drinkrecipes/9288-christmas-tree.asp) and I must say it was an instant fave.

December 14, 2008 at 3:06 am

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…

December 14, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Shanea SAYS:

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

December 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

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 :)

December 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Kendall SAYS:

The peppermint martini looks delicious…and strong!

December 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

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.

December 16, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Susan W SAYS:

Great Contest!! Thanks!

December 21, 2008 at 1:51 am

Jessica SAYS:

My fav is the Bellini
Recipe here:


December 24, 2008 at 4:06 am

pat SAYS:

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

December 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm

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

August 17, 2009 at 3:02 am
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