AT HOME MAGAZINE

Raising the bar this holiday season

The spices, aroma and gorgeous deep burgundy color of this cocktail are tantalizing. (Handout/TNS)
The spices, aroma and gorgeous deep burgundy color of this cocktail are tantalizing. (Handout/TNS)
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Holidays bring the most wonderful hosting opportunities. I find such joy in putting together the perfect table and decking my halls to the fullest in anticipation of my nearest and dearest joining me for some festive fun. However, as I prepped for my hostess duties this year I was reminded of an area that is highly trafficked but sometimes neglected: the bar. I spend so much time thinking about my dishes and decor that sometimes I tend to play it safe with my beverage selection. Not this year! To take my bar to the next level I knew I would need some guidance. So I picked out a few of my favorite glassware pieces and called out for professional help. Luckily, just a short drive away from us is a cocktail destination with all the style, skill and delicious sips I needed to take my entertaining to the next level.

The Campground, located in Kansas City, Mo., is where I go when I want a well-balanced and beautiful classic cocktail. Owner Cristin and her co-owner/husband, Chris, have created a fun and unique space, and I am in love with their antique glassware. I love finding places with their own sense of style and point of view. Walking into Campground, the first impression is of a dark, moody and hip bar that is campy in every sense of the word. From the taxidermy pieces scattered about (all currently decked out in Christmas finery) to the statement-making bronzed bar, it is a fun balance of nature and machine. A surprising amount of traditional elements and vintage accents also adorn the space. I knew they would be the perfect pair to help me craft three delicious (and feasible) cocktails to complement my chosen glasses.

With all the beautiful glassware, I first had to narrow down my selection. To anyone but decor lovers, picking out glassware before deciding on the cocktail menu might seem backwards, but not only is it a fun challenge, it is a visual feast. I knew I wanted a variety of different drink options for my guests that also paired well with my decor. With this in mind, I went with a 1920s-inspired gold-accented coupette glass for a bit of holiday glamour, a visually interesting but simple glass mug (hot cocktails are the best this time of year!) and an intricate goblet that is stunning in any setting.

For the coupette glass, Chris created a twist on one of my all-time favorite cocktails, the French 75. The addition of vermouth adds an earthy touch that was a missing piece to the already amazing drink. Since this is a cocktail that was created during World War I and popular during the 1920s and ‘30s, it fits in with our chosen glass perfectly. This light and refreshing drink is easy to make but made me feel like a bartending pro. Anything topped with sparkling wine is a winner in my eyes.

I could not wait to see what he would suggest for our glass mug, and I was not disappointed. I love curling up with a hot beverage by my fireplace, with my favorite candle and book for a bit of relaxation and the mulled wine Chris created had that warm and cozy feeling all in one glass. If the spices, aroma and gorgeous deep burgundy color weren’t enough to make this my favorite, that you can batch it out ahead of time sealed the deal.

Our last cocktail creation was a sherry cobbler, and was by far the prettiest cocktail we made. It’s almost like an adult snow cone with a mountain of ice resting on a lovely mauve base. The gorgeous color truly allows the details on the glass to shine. This is another cocktail that is able to be made ahead of time, which is great for when you are busy hosting.

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