As someone decorating and stocking a home bar, there’s a lot you need to consider. Whether you need a man cave, a cozy room for ladies’ night, or a tasteful bar cart for family get-togethers, you need to plan everything.
And as you plan, you want to be prepared for anything your guest wants. That means you need to have a supply of goods that can accommodate even the fussiest of drinkers (you know, the ones that have self-proclaimed exquisite taste).
With the right preparation, you can surprise your guests with how well-stocked your supplies are, and you can provide them with a night that’ll be stamped in the memory books.
Although alcohol plays a key role in this, there’s much more to home bar essentials. You need to have supplies to make, serve, and even garnish your drinks.
Plus, you can take it further by adding attractive decorations and accent features. By adhering to the following tips, your friends or family will be begging to come over to your place every weekend.
First and foremost, every home bar needs to have spirits stocked. While you may think buying and stocking aesthetically appealing bottles is the way to go, it’s not practical. You may buy a fancy-looking bottle that ends up tasting bad or mixing poorly.
When you’re stocking your spirits, you should buy what you like to drink. In the case that you don’t drink spirits, but you want to stock them anyway, ask a friend, family member, or coworker what they recommend.
With that in mind, you should attempt to have one bottle of each of the major spirits. As a host, it’s vital to have a variety of options for your gust. For example, you may not drink bourbon, but you’re likely to have a guest who will appreciate the option. The essentials are the following.
- Irish Whiskey or Bourbon
- Triple Sec or Cointreau
- Dry and Sweet Vermouth
If you’re someone who makes cocktails frequently, you may have other liqueurs you prefer, and in that case, choose whatever you like.
Additionally, most of these spirits come in several options. You can buy white or gold tequila, dark or silver rum, and so on. Like mentioned, buy whatever you prefer or follow someone else’s advice.
To get started with some easy cocktails, check this out.
As someone with a home bar, you likely will think more about the spirits than the beer. However, beer should not be left out. Many people stay away from hard alcohol and opt for a cold, crisp beer instead. Because there are endless brands and beer styles, it may be hard to know what to choose, especially considering many people have very specific tastes for beer.
If you’re a regular beer drinker, follow the same rule as above and stock whatever you prefer. On the other hand, if you don’t know where to start, we have you covered.
You can start by buying a mid-size pack—12 to 18 depending on the party—of a light, easy-drinking beer.
Don’t stop there, though. You should also find some craft beers and stronger beers for those brew lovers out there. Consider buying two or three six-packs of pale ales, stouts, IPA’s, blonde ales, or dark ales. Some great options include the following.
Craft beers are endless in the US. Go to your local liquor store and ask an attendant for help choosing a variety of quality beers. Alternatively, you can learn about different types of beer and order them here.
Here’s yet another type of alcohol that makes a list, unsurprisingly. Every home bar needs to have some wine. While you don’t need to go out and buy several expensive bottles of wine, you shouldn’t have a box of wine sitting on the counter, either. There’s a nice middle ground to find.
Wine is a great addition to any bar for several reasons. Most importantly, it’s sort of healthy (at least we tell ourselves so). Plus, wine is a great easy drink for someone who just wants to hang out and have a light drink to sip on throughout the night.
The only unfortunate thing about wine is that it can be tough to pick out a good bottle for some. If you don’t know wine, that’s okay. Just stick to the following rules.
- Ask for help at a liquor store.
- Don’t overspend as most people can’t tell the difference between a $10 bottle and a $50 bottle.
- Choose at least one red and one white.
- One bottle is about five servings.
- Remember, wine is tough. Don’t stress about getting the perfect bottle.
For those who have worked behind a bar, you’ve seen all the tools and pieces of equipment you use. And for those who have not, you’d be surprised at how many tools can be used in making only one cocktail.
That’s why if you want to have a complete home bar capable of making any fancy cocktail, you need to have a supply of bar-ready tools. The following tools should suffice just fine.
- Lemon squeezer
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- Bottle opener
- Long cocktail spoon
- Standard shaker with a strainer
- Jigger with a one-ounce measurement
- Carafe for holding water/wine
- Ice bucket
- Cocktail toothpicks
- Cocktail straws
The list of bar tools could go on and on. However, this list should be more than enough to get you started.
Glassware is key to hosting a proper party or getting together in your home. While you may not care what kind of glass you use when nobody is around, you should care when you have guests over.
That means you must get a thorough supply of glasses in different shapes and varieties for any drink. You wouldn’t want to serve someone a glass of champagne in a beer glass, would you?
Some of the essential glasses for your bar include standard wine glasses, shot glasses, beer glasses, whiskey glasses, and champagne glasses. However, if you’re looking to go above and beyond the standard, consider the following glasses.
- Margarita glass
- Martini glass
- Highball glass
- Specialty cocktail glasses
- Select white and red wine glasses
Mixers and garnishes
Now that you have all your spirits, you need the mixers and garnishes to go with them. If you’re planning on having a full bar capable of making several cocktails, you might need a decent stock of mixers.
Alternatively, if you’re having a select themed party, maybe all you need is enough mixers to make one type of cocktail. Thus, the mixers you need depend on what your goal is.
However, the list below shows the most common mixers that any home bar should have.
- Some type of cola
- Ginger ale
- Sparkling water
- Soda Water
- Tonic water
- Cranberry juice
- Bitters—Angostura or other
- Orange juice
The following garnishes are also perfect for any home bar.
- Mint Leaves
You cannot forget the ice. It’s one of the most important features in any bar. For example, you’ll use ice to make almost every cocktail you try. If you’re not using ice to make the cocktail, you’re probably serving the cocktail over ice. And as mentioned previously, an ice bucket is an essential tool.
Rather than placing beers in the fridge behind the bar, you can put them in ice buckets or even coolers. Furthermore, you can keep a couple of bottles of white wine in an ice bucket or just let a bucket of ice sit on the table for guests to help themselves with.
Just having the proper bar equipment and drinks will not suffice for your bar. You need to have the right accessories to surround your bar. You can’t have your guests standing all night, can you?
You need to have plenty of comfortable seating that can accommodate all your guests. Whether that’s a few cozy armchairs where men can sit around, drink whiskey, and talk about the ball game, or just nice barstools where people can sit and chat casually.
Depending on the utility of your bar, you’ll need to find the right seating, tables, lighting, and decorations.
Stocking your home bar with drinks, glassware, mixers, and all the rest is a fun event. Don’t let the stress of getting ready for an event overwhelm you. By following the above tips, you’re guaranteed to have a well-stocked home bar for any gathering or even just for yourself.
Keep in mind, as you set up your home bar and host events, drinking in moderation is key. While everyone enjoys a nice drink and evening out, it’s important to consider your health and the safety of others.
Binge drinking can lead to serious health complications such as an increased risk for heart disease, liver disease, and high blood pressure.
If you enjoyed learning about what kind of items to stock, check out the drinks you need for the fall.