Home Bar Essential Liquors and Tools

Whether you’re hosting a formal holiday party or a casual gathering in your backyard, if you’re serving cocktails, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got these home bar must haves.

Home Bar Essentials and Equipment

If you’re going to get serious about mixing drinks, you’ll need the following home bar essentials and equipment:

  • Ice Bucket. An insulated, stainless steel ice bucket will keep cubes frozen for hours and is the perfect vessel for chilling wine or Champagne.
  • Shakers. Certain cocktail recipes call for shaking, not stirring a drink. Generally, cocktails that contain citrus or other juices, cream, eggs, or other dairy products should be shaken, so a quality cocktail shaker is a must-have.
  • Mixing Glasses. A good mixing glass will enable you to create those delicious, stirred cocktails, like a vodka tonic or a Tom Collins.
  • Bar Spoons. Bar spoons have long handles designed explicitly for stirring cocktails you may be mixing in a pitcher or large mixing glass.
  • Strainers. A strainer allows you to pour your cocktail into a glass while acting as a barrier that keeps fruit pulp or ice from slipping into your drink from the shaker.
  • Jiggers. A jigger allows you to measure alcohol or mixers precisely when creating your libation.
  • Drinking Glasses. Drinking glasses are designed to deliver the best taste and flavor of whatever drink they hold. Depending on what you’ll be mixing, you’ll want to have a set of highball and lowball glasses, as well as wine glasses, Champagne flutes, Margarita, martini, and Collins glasses.
  • Wine Saver. A quality wine saver is going to add to the shelf of your favorite bottle of unfinished wine. A wine saver acts as a vacuum, removing any air inside the bottle, thus preventing oxidation which reduces the vibrancy of the wine’s color and flavor.
  • Corkscrew. Even though screw caps have increased in popularity, there are quite a few wines that still come with the traditional cork. You won’t want to be caught without one when it comes time to open that bottle of Chardonnay.
  • Napkins/Coasters. Fun cocktail napkins can be a conversation starter, as can humorous coasters. They’ll also help protect the surface of your bar. 

Essential Liquors for a Home Bar

A fully stocked home bar should contain a variety of liquors and wines from which your guests can choose. You can’t go wrong when you have at least one bottle of the following behind your bar:

  • Vodka for mixing a Vodka Martini, Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, or Moscow Mule.
  • Gin for when you’re planning to serve a Gin Fizz, Tom Collins, Gibson, or a Gin and Tonic. 
  • Tequila is essential if you’re creating a Paloma, Tequila Sunrise, Margarita, or Negroni.
  • Rum is needed for creating a Daiquiri, Pina Colada, Mojito, or Mai Tai
  • Whiskey should be on hand for mixing a Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, or a Manhattan

Mixers To Stock

Again, depending on the kind of cocktails you’ll be serving, you’ll want to stock up on mixers:

  • Lemon and lime juice.
  • Orange juice.
  • Tomato juice.
  • Club soda.
  • Cola.
  • Tonic water.
  • Grenadine.
  • Sour Mix.

Organizing Your Bar

When organizing your bar, you’ll want to put all your essentials within easy reach. Determine where your tools will be (corkscrew, jiggers, strainers, etc.) and make sure that’s where you always keep them. This saves time wasted searching for a tool you really need that inadvertently got tucked away somewhere. 

If yours is a dry bar, make sure you have a pitcher or two of water on hand, so you won’t have to leave the bar to fetch it. If you’re using water for rinsing out glasses, keep an empty bucket under the bar to dump out used water. 

Keep a mini-fridge or ice chest under the bar for chilling mixers and garnishes. Lastly, keep a few dish towels on hand for spills. 

And now you’re set. Time to get the party started.