This comprehensive guide will prepare you for any party. 

By Amy Zavatto
When you’re hosting, whether it’s a big family Thanksgiving or a casual Friendsgiving, you don’t have time to whip up custom cocktails for every guest. To keep it easy, mix up one big batch of a signature cocktail and let guests help themselves. All 10 of these crowd-pleasing cocktail recipes take just five minutes to make, so they’re almost as easy as opening a bottle of wine. And these 12 recipes require just two ingredients each, so you likely already have everything you need on-hand. A lemony gin punch creates a nice contrast to the rich food, while a rosemary, grape, and gin cocktail incorporates an herb that may make an appearance later in the meal. If you’re preparing for a crowd that really likes to celebrate, do yourself a favor and make a second batch ahead of time to store in the fridge. When the first round is over, you’ll have a second round chilled and ready to go.
David Meredith

Having a well-curated bar cart is a tell-tale sign you've entered into adulthood. The organized assortment of shiny bottles, spirits, and mixers will encourage you to shake and serve like the grown-up you are. Below, a list of bar cart necessities: 

  • London Dry-Style Gin: From the classic martini to the simple gin and tonic, it’s a must on any bar cart. 
  • Blended Scotch: There's always a Scotch-lover in the crowd, so it's best to be prepared and have a bottle on hand.
  • Bourbon: Pick one with a high rye content to please the rye lovers as well as the bourbon devotees.
  • Tequila: A 100% blue agave silver will become the base of a number of delicious drinks.
  • Vodka: A blank canvas that will serve you well, whether you're in the mood for a vodka spritzer or a simple punch. 
  • Rum: Choose one that is light or silver (meaning unaged). Use it for a Mojito and a classic Daiquiri.
  • Aperitif-style Bitters: Campari, the key ingredient in a Negroni, and Aperol, what you need for an Aperol Spritz, are de rigueur—and also great with a simple splash of club soda or brut Prosecco.
  • Armagnac: Forget Cognac. Its southerly cousin, Armagnac, has a complex flavor and is one of the less expensive options in the world of fine French brandy. 
  • Amaro: Opt for an easy-going, not too bitter, not too sweet version, like Nonino or Averna. You’ll impress your nerdiest cocktail friends, have a fantastic digestif on hand at all times, and a great pinch-hitter for cocktails, too.
  • Vermouth: A good quality white and red vermouth are a must. But once opened, keep them in the fridge—they will oxidize if left on the cart. 
  • Bitters: There are two you must have on hand at all times: Angostura and Peychaud’s. These will get you through an abundance of cocktail recipes—and perhaps inspire some new ones, too.
  • Sparkling wine: The secret weapon to any bar, brut-style sparkling wine can turn a boring drink into a festive occasion by the mere pop of its cork. And you can sip it alone, too.

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Now that you have the liquor you need, learn about which glassware pairs with what cocktail