Snow is falling, Mariah Carey is singing, and twinkle lights are twinkling. Yup, it’s December, people.
It’s no secret that the holiday season can be stressful! All the rushed travel, financial pressure, and nosy family members. I finally get why the Grinch stayed up on a mountain with his dog.
All that extra stress seems to craft a craving for a warm, winter cocktail. In fact, the fourth quarter of the year is when retailers report the highest alcohol sales. With a large number of festive gatherings plus the added stress of the season, the winter holidays appear to be a popular time for going to the bar and grabbing a drink.
Lucky for us in the bar industry, this means extra business. We have the chance to rake in extra sales and tips. And that’s the only gift! There’s a day just for us hidden in our stockings this month…
Our team of mixology maestros at Local Bartending School has crafted a calendar full of cheerful, fun, and festive holidays just for bartenders and bar owners. Even if you’re still in bartending school, keep reading.
Use these in your marketing strategy, as inspiration for cocktail recipes, or as talking points to keep the conversation flowing like a skate on ice. We’re serving more than just drinks this month, bartender friends… we’re serving Christmas spirit. After all, this is the Month of Giving.
December 1 – National Christmas Lights Day
Get your Christmas tote out of storage in the office or backroom, wherever it is… it’s National Christmas Lights Day!
And just because you’re a respectable place of business, doesn’t mean you can’t have a string or two of lights hanging from your bar. It’s a lot safer than how they used to hang Christmas lights – attaching real candles to real trees.
Can’t hang lights at your bar? Let your spirit shine by wearing Christmas light attire (like a necklace, headband, or sweater) or by creating a specialty cocktail that’s colorful like a strand of lights.
December 2 - National Mutt Day
In 2005, an animal welfare advocate created this dog-gone holiday to bring awareness to abandoned mixed-breed dogs.
How can you celebrate National Mutt Day at a bar? Here are a few ideas:
- Invite any and all mutts to your outdoor patio (weather permitting, of course)
- Collaborate with a local rescue for fundraising
- Post pictures of your staff member’s dogs on social media
- Play cute dog videos
December 3 - National Bartender Day & Bartender Appreciation Day
Finally, a day just for bartenders! It was beginning to feel like we weren’t going to get our moment, wasn’t it? Considering there are over half a million us bartenders in the U.S., National Bartender Day is kind of a big deal around here.
This holiday lands at the perfect peak time, sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a day made just for people like us and was actually created by the brand Sailor Jerry Rum. Why’d he go and do that? To pay honor to how great we are, of course! Here’s a quote to prove it.
“Here’s to the men and women who give up their late nights out, so we can have ours. Who make our drinks, pour our shots, and give us our nightly meal of nuts and pretzels. We honor their hard work and their unwavering patience. Without them, we would be out on the street or even worse, stuck at home.” – Sailor Jerry
Not to mention, we are basically mini-therapists with all of the types of emotions and attitudes we deal with. Plus, some of us spend years practicing dangerous flair bartending tricks, all just to entertain our bartop (and okay, maybe look cool).
Bar owners, today is the day to treat your bartenders like royalty. The best way to show your gratitude, in my opinion? Free food… duh. But here are some other ideas:
- Shout your team out on social media.
- Plan a night out for bonding and blowing off that mid-rush steam.
- Run a contest for Most Appreciated Bartender
Bartenders, show your appreciation for fellow bar buddies! Visit their bar and be jolly. Bring them a balloon or treat bag! You can also read up on some of the most beloved bartenders. And of course, we hope you all see a little extra cash today. May your Bartender Appreciation Day be bright! And if anything, you have our full permission to bartender like this all day…
December 4 - Cabernet Franc Day
For some wine lovers, every day is Cab Franc Day.
Cabernet Franc is one of the most popular grape varieties for wine production. The grape can be vinified by itself or blended with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon wouldn’t exist without Cabernet Franc. DNA analysis has determined that Cabernet Sauvignon was conceived from the accidental crossbreeding of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. That means Cabernet Franc is the daddy of Cabernet Sauvignon.
To increase Cab Franc sales, set some special prices for today. Or just have a few talking points ready to share when you tell your bar guests that today is a day perfect for drinking wine.
December 5 - National Repeal Day
Picture this: Your job is illegal. If you’re caught, you go to jail or have to fork over thousands of dollars. It’s the 1920s.
But then, almost 15 years later on December 5, 1933 current President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “nope”. Known as National Repeal Day, today marks our legal right to sell, serve, and consume alcohol!
What a perfect time to flex the fact that our jobs are awesomely legal. And dress in 1920s attire. Here are a few other ideas for today:
- Run specials on popular prohibition cocktails like French 75, Old Fashioneds, and Sidecars
- Throw a speakeasy party
- Play 1920s music
December 6 - Walt Disney Day
Not to be confused with Mickey Mouse Day celebrating the birth of the mouse we all know and love. This day is for the man behind all the love he brings to millions of people not just each year, but every day!
Though his birthday is December 5, Walt Disney and his day happens to fall on December 6 this year.
To get your Disney vibes right, here’s a recipe by Mama Bee in honor of Mickey Mouse:
- Oreo vodka
- White chocolate liqueur
- Ice cream
- Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with two Oreos (for ears) and whip cream.
December 7 - International Civil Aviation Day
Aviation Gin, anyone? Today, that’s what should be on special. I mean, it is International Civil Aviation Day. It’s in the name!
Actually, today isn’t in honor of the popular brand of gin at all. It’s to highlight the flight industry and the impact it’s had on our lives. Basically, it’s made the world feel like a smaller place. And we’re toasting to that today! Because without flights, we wouldn’t be able to offer you national bartending services. Thanks, Mr. Wright.
December 8 - Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day & National Brownie Day
You have two options and two options only. Greet everyone you serve today pretending to be a time traveler or give them free brownies all day.
Okay, okay… you have some other options but those two just scream perfection to us.
Brownies make for rich cocktail inspiration. Here’s a recipe from Tasty that we’re constantly craving.
December 9 - Christmas Card Day
How long do you think this tradition has been around? Longer than you might guess! 1611 is when the first-ever Christmas card was sent. But the 4×6 card we know and love has been sent with love since 1910 when Hallmark took hold of the U.S.’s card industry.
Getting a card feels like a shot of Fireball – all warm inside.
Here are some fun ideas to celebrate Christmas Card Day at your bar:
- Remind your guest to send out holiday cards so they arrive on time.
- Sign a card for your guests and hang it up.
- Bar owners, give your staff a card!
Have you ever received a holiday card from a regular guest or your boss? Tell us in the comments, we hear some great stories from people in the industry this time of year!
December 10 - National Lager Day
Honestly, every day as a bartender feels like National Lager Day. Sometimes you’ll go home smelling like a Lager. But that can be a sign of a good bartender.
Lagers are essentially bottom-fermented and can be brewed at a lower temperature. Plus, they are the go-to beers for a lot of beer drinkers. Think Coors, PBR, Budweiser… the regular beer line-up.
Today seems like an ideal day to shave a few bucks off a few lagers for your guests. After all, this type of beer probably keeps a lot of bars in business! It deserves to be celebrated.
December 11 - International Mountain Day
What do bars and International Mountain Day have in common? Coors Light. Crack open a Coors or two in honor of today. And hey, a discount never hurt anyone.
December 12 - National Ambrosia Day
Ambrosia can be thought of like a tonic of immortal youth. And today being National Ambrosia Day, is all about the “food of the gods”.
Usually, ambrosia is a sort of creamy, marshmallowy fruit salad served as a side plate or dessert. But of course, someone in the industry has to go and make a cocktail inspired by the Greek myth.
If you unlock the secretary to eternal youth, definitely let us know. Here’s a quick recipe from Lemons for Lulu to get you going.
- Rum Chata
- Spiced Rum
- Orange Pineapple Juice
- Lime, splash
- Combine the Rum Chata, spiced rum, and juices in a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes and shake. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with orange wedges and maraschino cherries.
December 13 - National Cocoa Day
Our other calendars for bartenders aren’t lacking in days celebrating chocolate. Humans have loved cocoa or chocolate for thousands of years. Which means as bartenders, we won’t stop adding it to our cocktails anytime soon. And why would we?
But since today is National Cocoa Day and it is pretty darn cold outside, a nice hot cocoa (or hot chocolate, whatever you call it where you’re from) is in order. Here are some things around your bar that pair well with hot cocoa.
- Mint liqueurs
- Marshmallow flavored vodka
- Spiced rum
- Coffee liqueurs
December 14 - Roast Chestnuts Day
Cue the open fire! We’ve got chestnuts to roast.
Okay, you probably can’t have an open fire in your bar. And if you do have a fireplace, you better have some freakin’ chestnuts nearby!
If not, that’s cool too. Plenty of whiskeys around you may have a hint of chestnut. Sounds like a great suggestion for a day like today.
December 15 - International Tea Day
Right up there with alcohol, tea is one of those drinks that’s consumed by pretty much every civilization throughout time. Today is thought to be focused on that fact alone, but the original intent was to bring eyes to the tea trade and its workers.
And you know how we bartenders like to celebrate these fun, wacky holidays? Make a cocktail. Try adding some booze to teas like black, chai, or earl grey.
December 16 - National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
We told you there’s no shortage of holidays celebrating chocolate! But for me, every day is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.
And the way to celebrate seems pretty straightforward to us. Just add chocolate to anything and everything. Guest orders a beer? Nope, they’re getting chocolate instead. Just kidding! But for real, you can definitely get away with selling a handful of extra chocolatey nightcaps tonight.
December 17 - National Ugly Sweater Day & National Maple Syrup Day
National Ugly Sweater Day should have been an official holiday a long time ago as far as we’re concerned. Big, festive sweaters adorned with deformed Rudolph’s and Santa-hat-wearing-kittens? We. Are. In.
Today’s agenda – easy. Wear that ugly sweater you’ve had since freshman year of university and rock that baby during your shift tonight. Trust me, people love a good ole’ festive spirit. You might see your tips go up, just sayin’.
Plus, today’s not just National Ugly Sweater Day. It’s as if Canada has a whole day to itself because it’s National Maple Syrup, too.
And like Buddy the Elf (more on him later, cause yes – he has a day too), we think syrup goes on everything… behind the bar.
December 18 - Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day
Here’s a new challenge. Answer the phone like Buddy the Elf all day today and see if you still have a job.
Bar owners, would you let your staff answer the phone like this? We need proof or it didn’t happen.
December 19 - National Hard Candy Day
Giving chocolate a break, it’s National Hard Candy Day.
Leve bowls of candy out for your bar top today. Or you could even make your own lollipops or hard candy-flavored cocktails.
December 20 - National Sangria Day
Sorry, Virginia… you can’t sit with us today. You outlawed sangria, a delicious fruity drink popular in Spain and Mexico, and we just can’t let it go.
Though not typically served at bars, why the heck not serve it today? Sangra is easy to whip up, pretty economical, and what else are you gonna do with all that extra fruit?
December 21 - Winter Solstice
Ah, the winter solstice. The shortest day of the year. Giving us plenty of dark hours to sit in a lonely bar feeling those winter blues.
Other than serving up cocktails to bring some light to one of the darkest days of the year, let people know that after today the days get a bit longer. That’ll give them something to look forward to.
Wanting to go to bartending school before spring hits? Local Bartending School has both online and in-person courses where you’ll learn the ins and outs of bartending before the groundhog has a chance to even peek at his shadow.
December 22 - National Cookie Exchange Day
Thousands of cookies are dispersed on the 22nd of December, and we are not complaining. It’s a common tradition with roots stemming back to medieval times, believe it or not.
At your bar, you can cele-bake today by:
- Have a cookie decorating competition for your staff
- Encourage your guests to bring in cookies to share
- Create a cookie-themed cocktail
December 23 - National Christmas Movie Marathon Day
National Christmas Movie Marathon Day has one purpose and one purpose only. And you’ve probably guessed it from the title.
Sitting at the bar watching a Christmas movie is better than sitting at home! Why? We’ll give you one reason. Bartenders bringing you cocktails.
December 24 - Christmas Eve & National Eggnog Day
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the bar,
not a creature was stirring, except a regular named Mark.
If you’re working at a bar that doesn’t close on Christmas Eve, expect to see some people by themselves. But not Santa, I don’t think he visits pubs.
Offer your patrons some eggnog today, too! With it being Christmas Eve and National Eggnog Day, they have no choice but to drink your special eggnog.
Are you trying to get your entire team in shape for the holiday season? We can help! Let one of our nationally recognized instructors show your crew the ropes before peak season hits. Click here to learn more.
December 25 - Christmas
You might not have to work at all today! Merry Holiday to you! But some bars choose to stay open and throw a party that Clara’s uncle would be proud of.
If you’re open today, make sure you’re ready with seasonal favorites like:
- Delicious holiday food
- Popular winter cocktails
- Classical Christmas tunes
- Festive decorations
- Fan-favorite holiday movies and songs
December 26 - National Candy Cane Day
You have what feels like a million leftover candy canes. What now? Celebrate National Candy Cane Day, of course.
With peppermint being the main character, our bar doesn’t have to be left out in the cold. Here are some ways you can twist things up on National Candy Cane Day behind your bar:
- Used crushed and whole candy canes as a garnish
- Create cocktails using mint liqueurs
- Give your coworkers, staff, and/or bar guests a candy cane
December 27 - National Fruitcake Day
Here’s a huge tip! Today is not a day to throw around the derogatory term “fruitcake”.
Rather, it involves what we know and do best – liquor. Fruitcakes are chewy, sugary, and boozy, made with nuts, dried fruit, and your favorite liquor. It makes a treat that’s dense, sweet, and textured.
Be on the lookout for Fruitcake Toss Day, though… that’s coming up in January.
December 28 - National Call a Friend Day
We know this time of year can be a bit chaotic and stressful for a lot of people. It’s important to check up on your pals, ya know? National Call a Friend Day reminds us to do just that.
Encourage guests to call their friends today! And while they have them on the phone, they should invite them out for a drink. And you have the perfect place to catch up – your bartop!
December 29 - Tick Tock Day
No, no… this isn’t a special day just for the popular social media app. But if it ends up being that way, just know we called it first.
Tick Tock Day is supposed to be an audible reminder of the clock winding down before the end of the year. It’s saying, “Remember all of those goals you set? Time’s running out!”
As a conversation starter today, you could tell your guests about Tick Tock Day to light some motivational fire under their barstool. Or you can give them some comfort when they realize they’re not crushing their goals before NYE.
December 30 - National Bacon Day
Mmm, bacon. Any Bloody Mary’s that are ordered today? They get an extra slice just ‘cause.
In fact, for a marketing strategy, run a special on any and all drinks with bacon and your bar is sure to get hog wild.
December 31 - New Year's Eve & National Champagne Day
54% of American adults drink on New Year’s Eve. Plus, about 1 in 5 are heading out to the bar. What does that mean for bartenders? We’re getting our a**** kicked tonight.
Watch out for messy situations that might come with the New Year. And even though it is National Champagne Day, remember your main goal is to provide safe service of alcohol!
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be extra vigilant while checking IDs
- It’s okay to cut someone off
- You can be held responsible for any drunk driver that leaves your bar
Bar owners, you need your staff in tip-top shape for this time of year. Don’t lose out on potential revenue just because your team can’t keep up! Or worse, you get fined for serving excise. Fully train and certify your staff so that doesn’t happen. Local Bartending School is ready to help you today!
There’s No Place Like Your Local Bar for the Holidays
December is the best time of the year, or so they say. Now we know that it’s also the best time of year for drinking, too. And you have thirty-one days to celebrate on top of everything else!
Already have your two front teeth and all you want for Christmas is to be a bartender? Luckily for you, Santa shared his nice list with us and we know you’ve been good all year long. To get the gift of bartending, enroll at Local Bartending School today!
Or perhaps you’re already Santa’s main elf behind the bar. LBS can give you the gift of teaching at a nationally recognized bartending school. Ready for new employment (and maybe even an event side job) next year?