Sailor Jerry's Steve Millar Shares the Secret to Stocking Your Home Bar for the Holidays

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Thanksgiving is next week, and you've prepared the perfect menu that combines traditional turkey with modern twists. That's great, but how is your cocktail game?

Paying attention to hosting a proper bar during the holidays is just as important as the food. No longer is it acceptable to buy a few bottles of Coke and Sprite and hope someone arrives with a really big plastic bottle of vodka. Every home bartender should stock up on some basic supplies and be prepared with a signature cocktail to serve guests.

Sailor Jerry brand ambassador Steve Millar recommends having a few staples on hand. "I'd have to say Sailor Jerry rum, of course. It's reasonable [$16.99 for a limited-edition Fleet Week bottle decorated with Sailor Jerry tattoo art] and mixes well." Millar also recommends having a bottle each of gin and vodka on hand, along with triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup. "They're the little things that every bar has and people kinda forget." Don't waste your money on store-bought simple syrup either. "Just pour equal parts of water and sugar into a pan and cook for 30 seconds."

A bartender worth his or her salt also needs proper tools, according to Millar. "Get a bar spoon, a Boston shaker, and a strainer. If you want consistency in your pours, get a jigger too." If you're serious about your cocktails, you need to graduate from mixing a cocktail with a discarded Starbucks coffee stirrer. "Using the right equipment makes you feel like a bartender. Plus, it makes the bar easier." All of the above-mentioned items can be found at most liquor stores.

With these ingredients and a bit of practice, Millar says, you can learn to make a host of classic drinks. "Basic cocktails include three key ingredients: a spirit, something sweet, and something bitter or sour. So, from the above, you can make a gimlet with lime juice, simple syrup, and Hendrick's gin. Substitute rum, and you have a daiquiri."

Millar also suggests you learn to make one good signature cocktail to serve to guests. "If you wanted, you could do a Sailor Jerry milk punch. It's supersimple." In a punch bowl, mix one bottle of Sailor Jerry with two cups of cream and two cups of skim milk. Then add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. "Optionally, you can fold in some freshly beaten egg whites for froth."

Serving guests punch with ginger or a rum old-fashioned is also a great way to add some festive, spicy notes to your fete. No matter what you serve drink-wise, Millar implores you to have fun: "It's the holidays." Once you create your favorite holiday libation, post it on Instagram and tag @SailorJerry.

Sailor Jerry Apple Ginger Punch

  • 1 ½ parts Sailor Jerry spiced rum
  • 2 parts sour mix
  • 1 part apple juice
  • 1 part ginger syrup
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Add ingredients to mixing glass, add ice, shake, strain over ice into a rocks glass, and garnish with an apple slice and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Jerry Loves Ginger’s Old-Fashioned

  • 1 part Sailor Jerry spiced rum
  • 2 sugar cubes
  • splash of water
  • a few dashes of ginger bitters
  • a few dashes of Angostura bitters

In empty mixing glass, add sugar cubes and dissolve with water and bitters. Slowly break and stir remains until fully dissolved. Add the measured Sailor Jerry spiced rum. Stir to blend flavors. Add ice and continue to stir to dilute. Strain into empty chilled old-fashioned glass. Add a fresh ice block and garnish with candied ginger. Serve.

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