Going out to bars can be a lot of fun — and it can also be a hassle. This time, why not bring the party to your place?
Once you gather the right supplies, you can enjoy all of your favorite drinks right at home, and maybe even invent a few of your own. Here’s everything you need to create your own home bar!
How Can You Build Your Dream Home Bar?
Despite the name, you don’t actually need a physical bar to have your own home bar. The best bar for you can be a kitchen counter, bar cart, or even just a table — it’s all about what you have to work with.
Who cares what you use as a bar when you have it stocked this well? Supplies can be broken down into two categories: ingredients and tools.
Building a Home Bar: The Ingredients
You can’t have a bar without drinks. Here’s what you need to stock up on at home:
Hard Seltzer: Ready To Drink and Zero-Sugar
Making cocktails is a ton of fun, but it takes some practice to master. It's a good idea to have a selection of ready-to-go drinks on hand before you get up to speed. We recommend starting with a few crowd-pleasing hard seltzers.
As a lower in calorie, lower in alcohol content, and gluten-free beverage, it’s an easy, convenient addition to your bar that checks a lot of boxes. Unlike Tamagotchi, hard seltzers won’t fizzle out in a flash, so keep an eye on your stock and replenish as needed.
There are lots of varieties to choose from, but our Flying Embers hard seltzers deserve a spot in your bar. These seltzers feature innovative flavors like Watermelon Chili and Clementine Hibiscus and they clearly stand out from the overdone flavors you find in the grocery aisle.
Each of our hard seltzers is handcrafted with superfruits, instead of added sugar. The result is a lighter, brighter buzz, making our hard seltzer the perfect refreshment to add to your home bar.
Hard Kombucha: The Perfect Botanical Beverage — And Mixer
Some drink recipes, like daiquiris, often include a variety of artificially flavored fruit juices. Make a smart swap and sub in hard kombucha. You’ll save on fridge space and unnecessary calories.
Hard kombucha is great all on its own, but it also makes a great mixer. Like our hard seltzers, our hard kombuchas take taste to the next level. With flavors like Mango Coconut, Pineapple Chili, and Grapefruit Thyme, add an extra layer of complexity to your cocktails.
Bonus: our hard kombuchas are shelf-stable, so you can free up valuable fridge space.
Think it can’t get any better? Think again. Our hard kombuchas are sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, and keto-friendly, so everyone at your bar can enjoy them, no matter their dietary restrictions or preferences.
The Classic Spirits
Once you’re ready to get into cocktail making, you’ll need a stock of spirits to go with it. There’s a lot to choose from, but start with these classics:
- Light and Dark Rum
- Tequila Blanco
It’s good to have a variety of spirits for different drinks, but you don’t have to get them all in one go. Start small, choosing one or two spirits that form the basis of your favorite cocktails. Once you’ve mastered those drinks, choose another spirit to add to your collection. Keep going, practicing, and replenishing, until you have a full stock of spirits ready to roll.
Unique Liqueurs for Mixing
Once you’ve built up your spirit collection, the next items to purchase are liqueurs to mix in your cocktails. Find liqueurs with diverse flavors, so you can create a variety of drinks. While the everyday drinker might not have a wide variety of liqueurs, they might have a few favorites on hand.
Excellent starter liqueurs include:
- Orange liqueur
- Dry Vermouth
- Cream liqueur
- Coffee liqueur
- Irish Whiskey or Rye Whiskey
- Triple Sec or Cointreau
- Blue Curacao
It’s also a good idea to have a few non-alcoholic drinks on hand for mixing, like lemonade, club soda, ginger beer, orange juice, or tonic water.
If you’re into making cocktails with lower alcohol content or even mocktails; simple syrups and bitters are a great way to add flavor without adding more alcohol. They come in a lot of flavors. Better yet, they can act as a substitute for liqueurs if you’re making mocktails.
Cocktail Garnishes: Lemons, Limes, and Beyond
Don’t forget the extras! Adding a garnish to your drinks is one of the easiest ways to take your cocktails to the next level. It’s not hard (or expensive).
Citrus fruits like lemons and limes are must-have garnishes for classic favorites like Mojitos or a Tequila Sunrise, as well as citrus-rich, zero-sugar options like our Orange Passion Mimosa. Simply cut these fruits into circular slices and add a slice to the rim of a glass, and your drink is now Instagram-ready.
Other small fruits; like blackberries, olives, and maraschino cherries, are musts in any well-stocked bar. Add these fruits directly into a drink for a pop of color and a small dose of flavor.
Keep salt, Tajin, and cinnamon handy for coating the rim of a glass. A coated rim is an easy way to introduce a new flavor and dress up a plain glass.
Building a Home Bar: The Tools
Your kitchen is stocked with pans, spatulas, and strainers, and your bar needs a few preparation supplies too. Here are a few tools you should have for your home bar:
Two (or Three) High-Quality Cocktail Shakers
Cocktail shakers allow you to blend all your ingredients into one delicious drink. You’ll want at least one, but having a backup or two on hand always comes in handy. With an extra shaker, you won’t have to clean out the same shaker each time you make a new drink.
What’s a Jigger? Does Your Bar Need One?
You might’ve heard of a jigger, a double-sided measuring tool used for drinks. Some bartenders forgo using this tool in favor of eyeballing portions, but when you’re just starting out, you definitely want a jigger.
Measuring out your liquids will help your drinks stay consistent. If your friend asks for a drink that’s not too strong, a jigger can help you determine the right amount.
A Cocktail Recipe Book
When you’re just starting out as a mixologist, it’s a lot faster to have a recipe book of classic cocktails on hand versus looking up every recipe online.
Look for a book with all the basic mixed drinks that bartenders should know, like an Old-Fashioned, Mint Julep, Collins, or Manhattan. What’s more, it can be a great resource for building your menu.
Bottle Openers, Corkscrews, and Other Must-Have Tools
There are a few other miscellaneous tools you’ll want to keep at your home bar.
There’s nothing more annoying than having a great drink sitting in front of you but no way to open it. Prevent this near tragedy by keeping a corkscrew and bottle opener handy. It’s a good idea to have an extra or two at your bar.
Our hard kombucha might come in a ready-to-drink can, but for your cocktails, you’ll need some glassware. Here’s the glassware your bar should have on hand:
- Martini glasses
- Shot glasses
- Cocktail glasses
- Beer glasses
- Coupe glasses
- Margarita glasses
- Rocks glasses
- Highball glasses
- Wine glasses
That may sound like a lot, so if you’re not ready for a huge investment, start out with the glasses you’ll need for the first few cocktails you learn. As you expand your collection, pick up glassware for specific drinks, such as a copper mug for a Moscow mule.
It’s helpful to have items for the presentation of your drinks, such as a cutting board or small serving platter for garnishes, an ice cube tray with a unique shape, or fancy toothpicks to make your own kabob-style garnish.
Stick to tools that you’ll use often. As you grow your bar tool collection, you can pick up less frequently used tools, like a bar spoon, muddler or zester. Sure, you can get away without them, but they can help you deep dive into more advanced mixology.
Having a home bar is big fun, but also a big investment. If you’re not ready to get everything at once, start out with just a few ingredients and barware tools and work your way up to a larger home bar collection. Or, keep things simple with a can of hard kombucha — no equipment required.