For those who enjoy entertaining, having a well-stocked bar is pivotal to your success. A handcrafted cocktail can lighten the mood, schmooze the in-laws, wow a friend, or impress a date. Being able to mix a variety of drinks at home adds a certain swanky swagger to your hosting ego, and rightly so! It’s a heck of a lot cooler than only being able to offer canned beer and shots of Fireball. We’re helping you raise the bar a little bit!
Starting a home bar may seem like an intimidating endeavor, but it doesn’t need to be. Becoming an amateur, yet proficient, mixologist should be fun! Check out our tips for stocking your home bar in an affordable and easy manner.
Home Bar Tip #1: Buy what you like drinking
Picking spirits based on what you think will impress your guests is a great way to spend a bunch of money on alcohol that you’ll rarely use. Sure, your home bar is meant for entertaining, but don’t forget that your bars number one customer is you, so pick spirits that you actually enjoy drinking. Plus, what you stock and why you stock it can make for excellent conversation starters.
Home Bar Tip #2: Start small
You don’t need to have full working saloon right off the bat. Yes, your guests will be impressed by the amount of alcohol you have, but when you aren’t experienced with them, you’ll have trouble making the drink requests and the impressiveness will quickly fade. A much better option is to start small and only stock the ingredients for drinks you enjoy. This will reduce your guests’ choices but ensure them a great cocktail. Just keep in mind that stocking your home bar is a marathon, not a sprint. As you get more comfortable behind the bar, you’ll be able to expand your offerings to include more cocktails.
Home Bar Tip #3: The Staples
These are just our suggestions for a properly stocked bar, so remember to take your personal tastes and needs into account when deciding.
What vodka lacks in color, taste and aroma, it makes up for with mixability. There a numerous cocktail you can make with vodka and just a few other ingredients like a Screwdriver, Sea Breeze, Moscow Mule, Martini, Lemon Drop, and on and on. For affordability and mixability, Reyka is a great choice.
Great for sipping or mixing, good bourbon is an essential spirit to have on hand. It allows you to whip up some of the classics like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and a Mint Julep. Evan Williams Single Barrel is a highly rated and highly affordable option that mixes as well as it sips.
A good gin is always nice to have on the bar as its one of the base spirits for lots of popular cocktails. Think Negroni, Gimlet, Tom Collins, French 75, and of course, the Gin and Tonic. Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin is a wonderful choice and its unique botanicals (and gorgeous blue bottle) help it stand out in a crowd.
Delicious, tropical, and highly mixable, rum comes in dark or light versions. Start with a light rum as those are used for mixing cocktails, while darker rums are best for punches. Popular cocktails include the Pina Colada, Daiquiri, Mojito, Mai Tai, and the simple Rum and Coke. Papa’s Pilar Rum is a great way to kick-up your cocktails or just serve over ice.
For sipping, shooting, or mixing, tequila is a must have. Gold is typically cheaper and used for mixing while silver is great for serving straight up. Popular tequila cocktails are the Bloody Mary, Paloma, Tequila Sunrise, and the Margarita. Pueblo Viejo Blanco is one of the most affordable and tasty tequilas available.
For more home stocking tips, hop on into Spec’s Wines, Spirits, & Finer Foods and speak to one of our experts!