Sure, you can buy a few cases of beer and call it a day, but if you really want to set the stage for a special evening and impress your friends, play bartender and mix guests a real drink. From liquor to jigger, here’s everything you need to set up a full bar at home.
Ideally, stock a bottle of each: cognac, white rum, gin, bourbon, vodka, tequila, and blended Scotch. However, if you don’t have the room or the budget to collect them all, start with your favorites; after all, it’s your bar. Alcoholic mixers to have on hand: triple sec, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Nice to have: a liqueur or two (for example, Irish cream or coffee- or almond-flavored).
Nonalcoholic Mixers and Drinks
Go ahead and pick up your favorite mixer, whether it’s a citrus-flavored soda or margarita mix, but also stock up on the basics: club soda, tonic water, cola, ginger ale, cranberry juice, and orange juice. These can also double as beverages on their own for those who don’t care to imbibe.
Though wine is the most common host(ess) gift (in other words, you don’t need to buy a lot of it), you should have at least a couple of bottles of your favorite red, white and rose on hand when the first guest arrives.
For those who want nothing more than a nice cold one, keep some bottles of light and dark brews in your fridge or an ice chest.
Garnishes add a splash of visual appeal and flavor to a finished cocktail. At a bare minimum, provide lime and lemon wedges, pitted green olives and kosher salt. Extra points for mint leaves and lemon twists.
In order to have a full bar you must also have a full glass set: beer mugs, shot glasses, martini/cocktail, rock glasses (tall/short), and wine glasses. This collection ensures that your guest will be able to enjoy absolutely anything that your bar can offer.
Cocktails don’t just pour out of a bottle and into a glass. Here are the standard bar tools for most mixed drinks: