It’s that time of year when you start to entertain more at home. I really enjoy staying in for some cocktails at home, you don’t need to worry about parking and dealing with crowds of people. It’s also WAY cheaper! You can buy a bottle of Grey Goose for the equivalent of two fancy cocktails out. Andrew was a bartender for awhile so of course he’s really good at shaking up some tasty beverages.
I’ve put together an easy guide to help you set up your home bar to ensure you have the essentials this holiday season…or this Thursday night.
Spirits: When it comes to liquor, you get what you pay for. Just because it’s more expensive doesn’t mean it’s going to necessarily taste better, but the higher the price, the better the quality of the product. Better quality = less severe hangovers! Yay!
- Base Spirits: Vodka(Grey Goose ), Gin (Hendricks and MaGellan), Rye Whiskey (Basil Hayden), Bourbon Whiskey (Blanton’s or Woodford’s), Irish Whiskey (because I’m Irish and it’s a must, we like Teeling), Tequila (Casamigos), and Rum (Mount Gay, Bacardi, and Myers). Some favorites that we keep in the house are in the parenthesis.
- Extras: Aperol, Campari, Chambord, Elderflower Liqueur, Cachaca, Pernod, Lillet Blanc, Grand Marnier, Bailey’s
- Wines: Reds, Whites, Prosecco/Champagne/Sparkles
It’s important to have non alcoholic “spirits” available to mix up some mighty mocktails. People don’t drink alcohol for many reasons and having supplies for a fun and festive mocktail is always appreciated.
- Seedlip Spirits: Garden, Grove and Spice (the bottle are also really pretty)
- Ghia: Perfect for a mocktail spritz! Original Aperitif, Lime & Salt, and Ginger.
Mixers & Garnishes:
- Tonic, Soda Water, Simple Syrup, Soda (I buy the small cans so there is less waste).
- Fruit juices: Pineapple and Cranberry (available in small cans or bottles!) and Orange
- Citrus: lemons, limes, oranges
- Bitters: Angostura, and orange bitters. (Bitters help round out the flavor of a cocktail. They’re also inexpensive and will last for a while since most drinks only call for a few dashes.)
- Olives, pearl onions, cherries
- Vermouth: sweet and dry
- Fresh Herbs: Basil, mint, sage ( if you are planning a certain cocktail)
- Corkscrew and bottle opener:
- Decanter (primarily used to store wine)
- Jigger/shot glass
- Cocktail shaker and strainer
- Muddler and mixing spoon (a muddler crushes herbs and extracts the essential oils and flavors)
- Cocktail picks, coasters, napkins, and straws (great to have on hand for entertaining and to properly skewer that martini olive)
I’m a recipe girl, and while I know some cocktails by heart I can’t just throw things in my shaker all willy nilly and have it taste great. I know my limits.
- The Bartender’s Black Book
- Death & Co.
- Zero Proof Drinks & More: 100 Recipes for Mocktails and Low Alcohol Cocktails
Having the proper glassware is a nice touch when serving up a tasty beverage but it’s not super necessary. It’s nice to have wine glasses but I don’t personally think having both red and white glasses is a must. Especially if you don’t have a lot of storage space. Having basic choices like tall highball glasses, short rocks glasses, martini glasses and classic pints are sure to cover the majority of your everyday needs. IKEA, Crate & Barrel and Target are great places to look for inexpensive glassware.
I hope this little guide helps you set up your home bar. Whether you have a full bar, a liquor cabinet or a cute cart, you can easily make delicious cocktails/mocktails at home. Cheers!
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My husband enjoys making cocktails, which works out well for me! I agree, it’s so much better (and cheaper) to stay in for drinks! Cheers! Linda