For over a year, we were deprived of the opportunity to celebrate occasions with one another. Happily, now it’s time to clink glasses, if for no other reason than we can.

The holidays present so many occasions to see friends. Mike and I frequently entertain, sometimes with a seated dinner, and other times with cocktails and seasonal nibbles. Regardless of the gathering’s scale, I am always game to set up a bar filled with a variety of libations so we can toast each other and the year that just passed, while we anticipate the new one to come.



The first step to creating an elegant bar is the location. There is no need to assume that a bar cart is the only place to display drink options. Here at our home in the Catskills, I set up the bar in our dining room on an antique Anglo- Indian carved side board. This is a graciously sized surface that I styled with pieces from my own collection mixed with personalized bar accessories from the sparkling festive collection available at Mark & Graham.

There’s a time and place for a signature cocktail. But with the frenzy of food, hostess gifts, and heavy coats that comes during the holidays, I like to simplify my get-togethers with a bar that allows guests to drink what they like. It’s nice to have a  couple of decanters at the ready-to-fill with different whiskeys. Mark & Graham etched “R’s” onto a pitcher and a variety of barware from highball to double old-fashioned glasses.



Chances are you’ll want to clink glasses at some point. You’ll need champagne and sparkling water, plus a lovely champagne bowl to display them in. This golden stunner is elevated on a pedestal and engraved with my monogram. If you are in need of gift inspiration and a hostess gift that shows you planned ahead, make your entrance with a personalized gift for the bar. The silver, rope-handle bar tools, here, are an ideal thank-you for someone who loves to concoct and pour. For something a little less specific, monogrammed napkins like the red tartan plaid ones I used, are versatile and are fun for a number of different occasions.

One decorating element that tops all others is to always add a moment of nature. Because it’s Christmas, I filled Mark and Graham’s classic silver julep cups with simple, no-fuss arrangements of winter greens and berries. Another plus? Silver or silver-plated julep cups always have the capability of being engraved. So consider one of these for your hostess or as a party favor. Whether used for flowers or a festive libation on Derby Day, your sentiment will be appreciated.

Isn’t it exciting to send and receive invitations again? I know that I’m looking forward to hearing my dogs scampering paws when the doorbell rings and the people I hold dear pour into the house for holiday cheer. Of course, as soon as I take their coats, I’ll escort them to the bar for a festive drink. I am so looking forward to the joyful moments and peals of laughter and joy that come from hosting a party.  Cheers!