Make the best of these times by shaking up your own quarantini. Here are all the tips and tricks for stocking a home bar from a former bartender…ME! Get all of my cocktail recipes here.
Home Bar Essentials
The perfect home bar doesn’t have to be big in size. In fact, it can all be kept in a cabinet, or on a bar cart (sharing my favorite styles below).
Stocking up your home bar with essential liquors (even non-alcoholic liquors), tools, glasses, and garnishes will prepare you for quarantine and will be a great excuse to invite your friends over after social distancing is done!
The Drink Checklist: Must-Have Alcohol for Home Bar
What are your favorite drinks to order when you go out? Personally, I gravitate towards cocktails with vodka and gin so, I always make sure to have those two liquors on hand at home. If you’re like me and love cocktails like Gin Fizz, Tom Collins, French75, Gimlet, Moscow Mule, Negroni, — the list goes on, but you get the point — You’ll want to keep some bar basics at home to make your favorite cocktails.
Stock your Bar on a Budget
Trips to the liquor store can get expensive! If you’re wanting to stock your bar on a budget, stay away from the top shelf when shopping for liquor. There are some really good mid-to-lower grade liquors that taste great in craft cocktails.
Whether you’re starting from scratch to stock your bar or just need to check your current inventory, see my list below for the types of liquors and cordials you need to properly stock a home bar.
Types of Liquors and Cordials to Stock at Home
- Flavored Vodka – Prairie Cucumber, Kettle One Botanicals, Stoli Lemon, etc.
- Rum (I like to have coconut rum)
- Silver Tequila
- Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
- Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
- Dry and Sweet Vermouth
- Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germaine)
There are so many more liquors you can add to expand your home bar, but in my opinion, these are the bare necessities to make the most popular cocktails at home.
Bartender Tools You Need to Make Craft Cocktails at Home
Are the drinks at restaurants and bars usually better than the ones you are making at home? I’ve gone so far as to say the vodka & soda at Hot & Hot Fish Club is better than I make at home. Why is that? I’ll tell ya!
The reason that bartenders’ drinks taste so much better than yours at home is because they use better quality ingredients and balanced measurements. Once you have the right ingredients, best tools, and kick-ass recipes, there is no reason why you can’t make your favorite craft cocktails at home.
Essential Bar Tools you Need at Home
- Cocktail shaker with Glass (this is what the bartenders use)
- Strainer (get this cute set with jigger, strainer, opener, and spoon)
- Citrus Zester
- Bottle Opener
- Handheld Juicer
- Cocktail spoon
- Paring Knife and Cutting Board
- Rubber Spill Mats
Glassware and Accessories to Stock the Bar
- Low Ball Glasses
- High Ball Glasses
- Long Stem Wine Glasses
- Champagne Flutes
- Plastic Glasses for Outside Use
- Whiskey Rocks
- Large Square Silicone Ice Trays
- Bamboo Straws
- Glass Straws
- Moscow Mule Mugs
Best Cocktail Mixers and Garnishes
- Quality Sodas, Ginger Ales, and Ginger Beers
- Maldon Sea Salt
- Coarse Sugar
- Jarred Olives
- Edible Flowers
- Maraschino Cherries
- Fresh Fruits: Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit
Bar Car Styling Essentials
Consider adding these items and accessories for a perfectly-styled home bar cart.
Bar Carts Under $350
After choosing a bar cart you love, it’s time to stock it and style it with the home bar essentials.
- The first order of business when styling a bar cart is the libations, of course. Pitch the tallest liquor bottles in the back and create a cluster of your favorite and most used liquors.
- Place some pretty glassware or bar tools out for display
- Organize your bar cart by placing items inside a tray or a bowl
- Add some height and color with books and a faux plant
- Line up the mixers. We love S. Pellegrino, Fever-Tree, etc.
Cheers! Your home bar is stocked and ready to rock with the essentials. Bartending at home can be so fun and is a great way to entertain yourself and your guests.
Pro Bartender Tip: When testing recipes, always put your liquor in last. If you mess something up with the other ingredients, you don’t want to have to throw the good stuff out!
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