Must-Haves for a Home Bar

If you’ve got a home bar, that’s awesome! Good for you! Do you know what you should have, besides whatever it is you personally like to drink? Probably not, if you are reading this post. So read on and I’ll give you a few must-haves for your home bar.

  1. Good tools. This includes a cocktail shaker, a strainer, bar spoon, muddler, and a jigger (handy little suckers like measuring cups, but for alcohol. If you are making a mixed drink, a jigger helps you get the ratio correct). A bottle opener and a corkscrew are non-negotiable tools you must have.
  2. Beverage staples. Having a bottle of a few standards will allow you to make many different drinks. A bottle of gin, vodka, whisky, vermouth, bourbon, tequila, and rum should cover most things.
  3. Some sour mix, club soda, tonic water, bitters, fruit juices, and garnishes like olives, cherries, salt, limes. You know what you and your guests like, so be sure to keep it in stock if it helps make the drink.
  4. Speed pour spouts. These aren’t quite necessary but they certainly are fun. You’ll look cool pouring drinks and they make life easier, too.
  5. The right kind of glasses. Now, you know what you’re serving, so you might not have to buy every single type of glass there is. But it’s good to have red and white wine glasses as well as champagne flutes. Also, beer mugs and pint glasses. Then there’s martini glasses, rocks glasses, margarita glasses… the list goes on and on. If you’re on a budget, get a mix of tall and short glasses and build your collection from there.
  6. A place to store all this stuff. It doesn’t work if you have to constantly hunt it all down.
  7. A fridge! If you want to be able to serve beer on tap, you’ll need some kind of kegerator. If you plan on serving white wines, get a wine fridge. A fridge can also keep your juices, water, and milk cold when you need them for mixing, as well as a place to hold sodas for your guests who don’t want alcohol.
  8. A good cocktail guide. You will get the odd request now and then, and you’ll need a reference as to how it is made. Doesn’t matter if it is a book, a bunch of recipe cards, or an app, you should have something. Because chances are, the more pretentious the drink sounds that your friend-of-a-friend ordered, the better the chances are that they have no idea what’s in it.

Those are my recommendations to get you well stocked from the get-go. You can obviously tweak this list and add things as needed (for example, I know at least one person who is going to yell that I didn’t put a blender on here, but not every bar needs one – it depends on what you like and what you want to make). Let me know what else you use in the comments to give others ideas!