Cheers – DIY Holiday Cocktail Party with Crate & Barrel

The holidays are the most beautiful time of year.  I think we all can agree that the schedule is on overload and time is precious, am I right?  If you want to throw a party for colleagues, friends, or family but have limited time, I have a great alternative….  

Throw a holiday cocktail party!  I found that it’s all of the festive-fun and none of the stress.   


In all my years of hosting, my parties have been dinner/food focused.  This year, I wanted to try out an approach that offered up drinks as the highlight. The party was such a success. Hours in, we decided to order food from one of my favorite restaurants a few blocks away and had an impromptu takeout dinner party. Totally meant it when I said “none of the stress” : ) .

Since my place was so cozy and warm with all my new holiday pieces from  Crate & Barrel, everyone wanted to extend the evening by the fire and under candlelight.  

As the host I could not have been happier. It was definitely a night to remember.

All you need to get started is Crate & Barrel and your living room, coffee table and bar. Over on the C&B blog, I’ve provided the simple steps I took to plan the cocktail party. Make sure to check it out here! Below you’ll find the drink recipes.

I hope you feel inspired to host your own party this weekend.  Make sure to share your moments with @crateandbarrel and @christiannkoepke!

Holiday Spiced Mulled Wine with Infused Rum

Think warm, cozy and all things holiday. A cup of this mulled wine by the fire will surely help you settle into the beauty in the season.


  • 1, 1.5 liter 2, 750-ml bottles Merlot
  • 3 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 pears one halved, the other quartered
  • 1 orange rinsed and peeled (minimal white on peel)
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks plus 8 for garnish garnish optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
  • 2 green cardamom pods in shell
  • 2 cups infused rum see recipe
  • ¾ cup sugar

Infused Rum

  • 1 bottle 750 ml (unspiced) aged rum
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon cloves whole
  • 6 cardamom pods in shell
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Infused Rum:

  • Combine rum and spices in a glass jar. Cover jar tightly; shake lightly once or twice. Set in cool dark place and infuse for 1 day.
  • Strain mixture through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bottle; discard spices. Will keep indefinitely if sealed tightly and stored in a dark, dry place.

Mulled Wine:

  • Over medium heat, add merlot, cider, orange peels and spices in a large dutch oven. Bring mixture almost to simmer.
  • While liquid is warming, rinse and halve pears. Remove visible seeds but retain stem (for presentation). Add to liquid as you go.
  • When wine reaches a “near simmer”, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer lightly for 10 minutes to infuse spices further.
  • Add sugar. Stir.
  • Just before serving, add rum. Stir and garnish in mug with cinnamon stick.


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