Whether you’re moving into your first place or finally have the time and money to renovate that basement, CrowdInk has your list of essentials for creating the ultimate home bar down. Here’s everything you’ll need from alcohol, to mixers, to garnishes, and even glassware.
**If you’re on a budget, well drinks (the cheap, standard versions) are fine, but if you’re really looking to impress, go big with your favorite brands.
- Dark Rum
- White Rum
- Tequila (Light if you’re having one, add gold if you’re having two)
- Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
- Whiskey (Irish, Bourbon, or Scotch – your choice matters)
- Vermouth (both sweet and dry)
- A Single Bottle of Bubbly (Prosecco or Champagne, you should always have a bottle on hand for those special occasions)
**If you have taps available – that’s amazing, abuse them. If not, bottles over cans any day of the week.
- Dark (Stout or Porter)
- Ginger Ale
- Club Soda
- Orange Juice
- Cranberry Juice
**Make sure to keep fruit unsliced until the day you’re planning to use the bar and jars covered. Dried out lemons and limes and cherries with fruit flies are not cute.
- Maraschino Cherries (save on Grenadine and use the juice from the jar instead)
- Pitted Green Olives
- Kosher Salt
- Splurge on Hot Sauce, Nutmeg, & Cinnamon. You’ll only have to buy them once and they cost about $1 each.
- Wine Glasses (a set of white and a set of red if you can afford it. If not, go with white.)
- Pint Glasses (and highballs if you’re going big, but just use pints for mixed drinks otherwise)
- Rocks glasses
- Martini Glasses
- Standard Shaker (Don’t use plastic. I repeat. Do not use plastic. Get a metal one.)
- Long Cocktail Spoon
- Jigger (Especially if you’re learning. One side should be 1 oz the other 1.5 oz. It’ll help with your pour.)
- Cutting board & Paring knife
- Wine Key (This is a fold-up corkscrew with small knife attached. You can find nice quality ones with bottle openers as well.)
- Cocktail Toothpicks
- Cocktail Napkins
- Both a recycling (sharps) bin and an all-purpose bin. Glasses will break, bottles will break. Be sure to have somewhere to put them where no one’s going to get hurt.
You know what you and your guests are likely to drink – so plan accordingly! If your bar is poolside, be sure to figure out how a blender works, because everyone is going to want frozen daiquiris and margaritas. If you have a garden, start growing mint, rosemary, and dill, because those fresh herbs can make a world of difference to otherwise classic cocktails. If you find yourself hosting after-event, late night dos often, load up on frangelico, baileys, and scotch and keep some espresso beans around for garnish.
Finally, cocktail books are great for coffee tables and décor, but if you’re trying to enjoy the event, just download a mixology app. It’s just more practical than opening up a book on what is probably a small workspace. The internet is a beautiful place. Use it; abuse it.