Planning to entertain? Impressing the Joneses? Simply think it’s too neat not to have? Whatever your reason for wanting a home bar, be sure to weigh it against the investment costs. If you’ve decided to dive in or need a glance at what’s involved, here’s a quick guide to the basics of stocking one.



Find sets of tender’s implements for the price of a single bottle of spirits. They’ll make the entire operation easier.

Bar spoon – Shaped to stir and remove more easily than tableware.

Jigger – A standard “shot” (1.5 oz) sized measuring cup useful for maintaining ratios.

Muddler – Like a thin pestle. Used to crush mint, fruits, etc. to press out their flavor.

Shaker – Forms a watertight seal around liquids and ice for chilly mixing.

Strainer – Serve cold drinks that don’t dilute with time by sieving out ice during pours.

Ice trays – Prettier than machine ice.

Glassware sets: Something small, something tall, and if you keep wine, something stemmed.


Collect indulgences and favorites as you will, but do maintain a ration of each of the following.

Bourbon – For your American classics.

White rum – Less prone to overpowering flavors than dark rum.

Gin – What’s in most martinis. Divisive conifer taste.

Vodka – What’s in some martinis and a great deal of other drinks. Largely flavorless.

Tequila – Many suggest not bothering with anything less than 100% agave.

Mixers and additives

Whatever you might want to fix your drinks of choice. Popular choices include:

Fresh citrus – Both the juice and the peel are useful.

Citrus liqueur – Curacao or triple sec.

Vermouth – Aromatized wine. Comes sweet or dry.

Bitters – Added in dashes, these are a strong accent.

Simple syrup – Granular sugar doesn’t dissolve well at low temperatures.

Carbonated drinks – From sparkling water to cola.

Optional others:

Consider stocking wine, good beer and nonalcoholic drinks as drinkers might desire. Include corkscrews and bottle cap openers as needed. Bottle spouts may ease pouring.