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The Ultimate Home Bar Essentials Guide

Posted by Joseph Hakim on

Whether you just moved into a new place and need to create a whole new home bar or you already have one and are just looking for ways to improve it, this guide will give you everything from A to Z on what you'll need.

Don't want to bore you with mumbo jumbo so let's get right to it!

1. A bar

This one is kinda obvious. I'm sure you know you can't create a home bar without a bar..

Okay good.

Now, the bar that you want will depend on a lot of different things. Are you a home owner or a renter? House or apartment? Style? The list goes on.

Generally speaking... renters tend to go for bar carts because they are more portable and have a low-key style. If you're a homeowner and have the space, you may want to consider a bar cabinet or a full home bar set. Up to you.

If you need help finding a bar, feel free to reach out to our friends at and they'd gladly help you find something you'll love.

2. Alcohol

Again, this one may seem straightforward. But the variety of alcohol you choose to stock in your home bar will depend on your taste.. and maybe your guests' taste.. but let's focus on you right now cause you're your main critic.

Nothing is worse than having 3 year old bottles sitting at your bar taking up real estate so if you don't think you're going to use it, lose it.

Here's a list of essential booze I think make up a good bar...

One suggestion I have is to start simple. If you don't know how to make drinks with all of these different spirits, you'll be tossing the bottles.

If you need help finding some spirits, contact us for recommendations and we can set you up.

3. Barware

The barware you'll need will depend on your level of mixology. I'll leave you a list of things I use, you can use it as a guide as you put together your perfect set of bar tools...

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer
  • Jiggers
  • Juicers
  • Muddler
  • Bar Spoons
  • Bottle Opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Coasters
  • Whiskey Rocks
  • Ice Ball Tray
  • Pourers
  • Citrus Peelers
  • Aerators
  • Decanters
  • Stoppers
  • Ice Buckets
  • Cutting Boards
  • Toothpicks
  • Straws
  • Cocktail Napkins

Again, if you need some accessories to go along with your bar, has a massive variety of bar supplies.

4. Glassware

The drinkware you'll need will depend on the drinks you're making.. duh! Although there are specific glasses for specific cocktails... if you're looking for the general basics, here they are...

  • Rocks / short glasses
  • Highball / tall glasses
  • Martini glasses
  • Copper Mugs (for the mules)
  • Red and White wine glasses
  • Beer mugs / pint glasses
  • Shot glasses also has a great selection of drinkware available.

    5. Mixers

    A lot of the cocktails we like to make - as outlined in our 13 Essentials Cocktail Recipes Guide - don't necessarily need mixers but when your friend asks you for a simple rum and coke, you may want to deliver. A general idea of mixers to carry include..

    • Club Soda
    • Tonic Water
    • Cola
    • Lemon Lime Soda
    • Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer
    • Orange Juice
    • Cocktail Juice
    • Tomato Juice
    • Pineapple Juice
    • Angostura Bitters*
    • Orange Bitters*

    *Although bitters aren't technically mixers, we like to add a few dashes to some of our cocktails. There are a bunch of different types of bitters but we mainly use Angostura and orange.

    Browse our Extras section to find the right mixers for you.

    6. Garnishes

    Garnishes add some extra poise to your bar area, as well as flavor and pizazz to your drink.

    They're the cherry on top of your cocktail...literally.

    The type of garnish will depend on your drink - whiskey based cocktails go well with orange peels while tequila based cocktails go well with something citrusy like limes. 

    Note: Depending on your bar setup, you might not want to have all the garnishes around until the day of your cocktail party.

    Here's a list of the basic garnishes...

    • Ice
    • Limes
    • Lemons
    • Oranges
    • Cherries (we recommend regular maraschino and bourbon soaked cherries)
    • Olives (we recommend standard martini and blue cheese stuffed)
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Fine Sugar
    • Tabasco Sauce (great for the Bloody Mary's)

    7. Extras

    This is the part where you add your own flair. Get creative and add things you truly enjoy.

    For example, I love having recipe books on my bar cart. They make a great decorative piece and I'll also turn to them when I'm in the mood to try something new.

    My girlfriend likes to add flowers which gives it a very homey, cozy feeling.

    So whatever it is, promise me you'll add your own touch okay? Maybe some kind of picture or art? Or a wine rack? A great turn table? I'm just spitting out ideas off the top of my head...

    But most important thing to remember is you're building this bar for you... don't forget it's your home and you'll be looking at it everyday!


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    • Great stuff!! Keep up the blog posts!

      Michael on

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