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

Yield about 2 liters OR 8, 8 oz servings

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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


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