How to Stock a Home Bar



home bars

Ideas abound when it comes to how to stock a home bar (as opposed to a liquor cabinet), but at its core the issue can be boiled down to two philosophies: 1) stocking for personal use only, or 2) providing a robust selection for guests and entertaining.

Obviously, idea #1 is out – scientists roundly agree that it’s not healthy to drink alone. So, by default, a full bar is really the only way to go. (Critics of circular logic take note: We are, after all, talking about stocking home bars.)

So, what constitutes a “full bar,” so to speak? One has to draw the line somewhere, of course, but anyone can easily assemble a respectable cocktail selection without getting into weird, expensive liquors that will gather more dust than tasting requests. Let’s take a look:

1. Vodka

A common base for countless drinks, vodka is a liquor that mixes well with many sodas, spritzers and juices (including tomato, for bloody marys). It can also be enjoyed on the rocks and is also a feature in many milk-based and frozen concoctions.

2. Whiskey / Bourbon / Scotch

The smoky, woody flavor of whiskey makes it a popular drink straight up or on the rocks, but it also mixes well with some sodas. Whiskey’s Kentucky cousin – bourbon – is also popular and has a distinctly sweeter flavor than many whiskeys, especially when it comes to blended varieties.

Scotch, technically a whisky (note the spelling difference) made in Scotland, is almost always enjoyed straight up or on the rocks, and stands apart in flavor from other whiskeys.

3. Rum

A liquor made of fermented sugar cane, rum is a staple in many tropical drinks like piña coladas, daiquiris, mojitos and hurricanes. Then, there is always the classic cuba libre, otherwise known as a rum & Coke. Rums come in dark and light varieties, but a full bar requires only one type on hand.

4. Tequila

Tequila is a popular “shooter” in many corners of the tippling world, but its status as a bar necessity is cemented as the base for margaritas. Every once in a while you may get a call for a tequila sunrise or Mexican martini, but it’s the ‘rita that rules the cantina.

5. Wines / Beer

There are no rules here, really, and tastes will vary by region. It’s good enough to have a small selection for your guests.

6. Mixers

Sodas, spritzers, premade mixes and juices (orange, cranberry, etc.) are must-haves, but you’ll also need a few extra items to round things out. Garnishes like olives, cherries, lemons and limes are helpful, as are specialty items like bitters, grenadine and vermouth.

ATGStores.com hopes this helps give you an idea of how to fill out your home bar in a way that will ensure everyone at your next party gets their favorite drink.

Crosley Furniture''s "Newport" expandable home bar features a hand-rubbed finish and includes ample storage for wines, spirits, glasses, mixers and more. 

The Greystone "Madison" home bar features a brushed steel footrest and hardware, removable wine storage rack and locking cabinets for added security.

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