Adding a home bar is the perfect way to entertain in style and keep the fun flowing. And some real estate experts peg adding a home bar as one of the top ways to double a home’s value.
But a poorly prepped bar can leave a party high and dry.
It’s not always easy to know where to start when you build a bar from scratch. But there’s no need to fret. We’ve got you covered.
We’ve picked out the 12 home bar essentials you must have for your next home event.
Nailing Down Home Bar Essentials
Building a home wet bar can provide a lax spot for entertaining or a completely new hobby. Either way, there are simple home bar supplies that are important regardless of the bartender’s skill level.
But here are some tips to savor before chugging down all 12 home bar must-haves:
1. Don’t skimp on your own tastes. There are definitely basic types of liquor that go a long way in mixing drinks for guests.
But the homeowner should start out stocking their fridge with ingredients for drinks they like. If you’re good at making a cocktail or it’s a personal favorite, start there and grow the booze selection.
2. Do a little research. Once that perfect home bar is prepped, someone has to still pour the drinks. Invest in some quality drink-mixing books or research popular drink recipes. A little bartending knowledge can go a long way.
3. Start simple and build out the bar. Stocking the shelves with every type of fancy booze out there will lead to dusty bottles. Instead, start with the essentials and add any missing links.
And the same goes for garnishes. This can save money and help make sure the bar is full of things guests actually want.
With those tips in mind, here are the 12 home bar essentials to get the party started:
Shakers cool down a cocktail and make sure ingredients are in the right proportions. They also can add essential texture to drinks like fizzes or drinks with frothed egg whites.
It’s best to grab a two-piece shaker with a strainer. These are easy to clean and keep extras from falling in the drink.
2. Measuring Musts
A measuring device like a jigger can make sure a drink isn’t burnt with too much alcohol or too weak. They make measuring quick and easy.
And things like pouring spouts can make mixing a breeze. They focus pours, cut down spills, and make it easy to drop the perfect amount in a glass.
Muddlers crush ingredients that are essential to many of the most popular classic cocktails.
As they break up ingredients like mint or fruit, oils and aromas are released. Muddlers make this process smooth, precise, and mess-free.
4. Quality Ice
Ice from a convenient store can splinter and throw off the proportions of a drink. And it can ruin the appearance of a good cocktail.
Solid ice molds can maintain the integrity of a drink. And there are home bar ice machines, like this, for anyone wanting to churn out drinks like a pro.
5. Good Garnishes
A good garnish can make or break a drink. But with so many garnishes out there, it’s hard to know which ones to stock up on. The key is to use fresh garnishes.
That means fresh fruits, quality onions, and premium cherries.
6. Mixing Spoon
It’s best to not even bother with regular spoons when mixing drinks. It’s smart to use a bar spoon. These have long handles and are made especially for preparing cocktails.
And it’s a good idea to pick up a bar spoon with a speared end. This will save headaches when trying to pull olives or cherries out of the jar.
Fresh juice can be the difference between a bland cocktail and a remarkable one. And there are hundreds of drink recipes that call for fresh juice.
It’s smart to pick a larger juicer that can tackle plump citrus fruits. It should be able to handle key cocktail fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges.
8. Good Booze
There are several liquor staples that you can use to whip up most cocktails. These are usually called “base liquors.”
They include whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, and tequila. It’s not a bad idea to keep a bourbon whiskey and a scotch whiskey at the home bar.
Another good idea is to start out with white rum. This tends to be better when mixing up cocktails. Darker rums usually are found in punches, so they can be picked up when the occasion calls for it.
There’s a huge variety of options out there for bitters, but it’s best to keep it simple to start.
A good place to start is with angostura bitters. These are a key ingredient in drinks like Manhattans, hot toddies, and Old Fashioneds.
They tend to be in whiskey-based cocktails and add essential aromatic spice.
This is a common ingredient in cocktails like Manhattans and Negronis. And it’s a key part in martinis.
To start out, a small home bar should have a small bottle of red vermouth and white vermouth. If demand grows for vermouth-heavy drinks, you can always stock up on more home bar supplies.
11. Simple Syrup & Sugar Cubes
Like vermouth, sweeteners are a key part to lots of cocktails. It’s a good idea to stock up on simple syrup, which is basically a liquid sugar recipe.
Sugar cubes are also a must. And brown sugar cubes should be kept on-hand. They add a flavor that can’t be imitated by other sugar.
Citrus is the cornerstone of many classic cocktails. And it can work double-time as a garnish.
Some classics, like Old Fashioneds or Negronis, call for oranges. Other times, drinks may need a twist or a fragrant addition.
Good citrus to keep at the home bar is oranges, lemons, and limes.
More Lifestyle Tips
These 12 home bar essentials are the perfect ingredients to build a bar for a happy homeowner and guests. And we have even more ways to bring your home project or passion to life.
Check out our lifestyle section here for the latest advice, life-hacks, and living tips.