Before "dry January", there's a very, very wet December.
As you imbibe your way through the holidays—right up to the champagne toast on New Year's Eve—there are plenty of checks and balances to consider.
The holidays are a time for giving and sharing, so you should stock your holiday bar with things that you are comfortable to, willing to, and even excited to, give away. It might feel fun and flossy to put a bottle of something extra special on your holiday bar, but it doesn’t look good if you won’t share.
Make Everyone a Bartender
Sometimes it makes sense to hire a professional, but usually I recommend enlisting a few friends/guests and have everyone take shifts. Make a menu and learn a couple drinks together. I am always more comfortable having something to do at a holiday party than being left to my own devices.
Plan an Activity
No one wants to be “that guy” who overdid it. The best way to limit overconsumption is to provide activities that are more engaging, and potentially more entertaining, than drinking for drinking’s sake. Knowing when to cut somebody off is always different, but typically pretty obvious. If you are thinking about cutting someone off, you should probably just do it already.
Try Something New—Like a Mulled Wine
The best thing about mulled wine is the aromas that emanate throughout the house. Brew it in a saucepan with a couple of guests to order, or maybe even set up a station and let people make a batch whenever they feel up to it. I wouldn’t recommend making a ton ahead of time, because the aroma will get lost, and I’m not sure how many people love to drink the stuff. Making it interactive might get people more excited.
Share a Curated Holiday Recipe
Here are Two Variations on the Hot Toddy that can help get the creative juices flowing (maybe even try a DIY hot toddy bar at your next event):
1.5 oz London dry gin
2.5 oz hot green tea (something mild like Sencha)
1 tsp honey
.5 oz lemon juice
Garnish with a lemon peel
1.5 oz reposado tequila
2.5 oz chai tea
2 sugar cubes
1 muddled orange
Garnish with a cinnamon stick
Plan for the Jan. 1 Hangover
The best hangover cure is spicy food and a trip to the spa, both being more effective in the company of friends.