How to Stock a Home Bar How to Stock a Home Bar

What You'll Need
Liquor cabinet
Drink recipe guide
Liquor and liqueurs
Glassware and tools

Stocking a home bar is more fun than it is work. There is something gratifying about going to the liquor and/or grocery store, purchasing the basic tools, glassware, mixers and liquors and setting up your home bar. You know it entails some early costs, but it pays off in the long run in terms of entertaining guests or just having your own personal bar within the comfort of your home. When stocking a home bar, make a list of the things you’ll need. While the variety of mixers, liquors and liqueurs are too numerous to mention in full, there are very basic considerations. After you have built the basic bar, add to it gradually as you develop new tastes or learn about different spirits and drinks. 

Step 1: Designate a Place for the Bar

If you haven’t already, designate a fair amount of cabinet space for your home bar. Perhaps you have a freestanding antique cabinet with a flip-top lid and ample room inside to use, or you have glass-faced cabinets specifically designed for a home bar. Whatever the case, even if it’s a simple cabinet in your kitchen, have the area cleaned out and ready to stock. 

Step 2: Basic Liquors

The basic liquors you will include in your home bar are vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey and bourbon. There are many, many varieties of each, but for mixing drinks you do not need to spend a fortune on each bottle. Good, relatively inexpensive brands of each are: Smirnoff vodka, Seagram’s or Beefeater gin, Bacardi rum, Sauza tequila, Evan Williams whiskey and Jim Beam bourbon. From there, the sky is the limit, but get started with the basics. There are far cheaper varieties as well, but your bar should be quality, so avoid them when possible. 

Step 3: Basic Liqueurs and Mixers

Next, consider a few basic liqueurs to add as well as the basic mixers. Liqueurs you should stock include Bailey’s and Kahluha coffee liqueur, Christian Brothers’ brandy, Peach Schnapps, Triple Sec orange liqueur and Amaretto. Essential mixers to include are dry vermouth, Rose’s lime juice, sweet and sour mix, Bloody Mary mix, tonic and soda water, orange, cranberry, pineapple and grapefruit juice and various soft drinks. You may want to keep a small supply of energy drinks on hand as well. Premixed concoctions include margarita mix, daiquiri mix and cosmopolitan mix. 

Step 4: Glassware and Tools

For a complete home bar, you’ll need a few of each of the basic glasses. Include 2-4 of each of the following: martini glasses, highballs, rocks glasses, shot glasses, cocktail glasses, snifters and glass coffee mugs with handles. The basic tools you’ll need include a shaker, strainer, bar mat, measuring jigger, muddling spoon, salting container and extra ice cube trays. You might include a pepper shaker, cocktail napkins and straws and a small cutting board with knife. 

With the basics in place, begin to add top shelf liquors and liqueurs of your choice as you see fit. There are countless varieties to select from, so it is really a matter of personal preference. 

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