When hosting parties or dinners at home, a cute and well-stocked home bar comes very much in handy. It can serve as a beautiful piece of decor while allowing you to cater to everyone’s tastes in drink. Not to mention, a unique home bar is a great ice breaker as it gives your guests something to talk about while they peruse and mingle.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share this super helpful home bar essentials guide from Shutterfly. It includes everything you need to put together a complete home bar. From tools, to garnishes, mixers and of course, alcohol––you’re sure to perfect your mixologist skills in no time. If you’re not a pro yet, I’d recommend starting with a few three-ingredient cocktails to get you acquainted with the basics. Keep reading if you’re ready to craft delicious cocktails at home!
Home Bar Essentials: 15 Ideas For Beautifully Stocking Your Bar
Picture yourself coming home after a long day and sinking into the couch with your favorite drink in hand.
Whether your drink of choice is wine, whiskey or champagne, having all the home bar essentials allows you to relax and enjoy your favorite cocktail any time you’d like. Home bars are perfect for a quiet night in or for entertaining your loved ones.
Having a good home bar setup is key and all it takes to create one are the right tools and a little creativity. To help you get started, we’ll show you 15 creative home bar ideas for the ultimate indulgence.
15 Tips For Creating A Home Bar
Bar Cart. Choosing the right bar cart for your home is key. You’ll need something that is functional, but also decorative and stylish.
Alcohol. With alcohol, we suggest you start with some of your favorites. Once you have those, you can keep adding to your basic bar stock depending on what everyone in your household likes. If storage is an issue, just showcase your favorites. The most common bottles to have on hand are:
- Red and white wine
Although it’s not necessary to have all of these items at once, it’s always good to have a variety at home in case you have a get-together or family coming to see you.
Liqueur. Perhaps you want to have an aperitif or after dinner liqueur for dessert. While some of these may complement a cocktail, having a variety of bar liquor staples that are also great chilled on their own will be good for that after dinner craving. Here are some favorites:
- Irish cream
- Créme de cacao
Once you’ve established your favorite liqueur, it’s really only necessary to have a couple of bottles on hand.
Wall Art. In order to make your home bar stand out, you’ll need some fun wall art to go with it. Perhaps you have a favorite photo of you and your beau or cute prints with sayings like “Rosé all day!” Any fun picture or quote will make your home bar shine. Choose from a variety of canvas prints or framed photos to display them.Bar tools. Bar tools are handy for preparing a quick cocktail with ease. If you enjoy fruits in your drinks, consider a muddler. If martinis are a popular choice in your household, have a shaker handy. Here are the most common bar tools needed for your home bar:
- Bottle opener
- Decorative napkins
- Cocktail shaker
- Cutting board
- Ice bucket
- Large ice cube tray
- Beer growler
- Bar spoon
- Mixing glass
If possible, try and choose tools that go with your decor. For example, if you are using gold in your decor, try and find gold tools to accentuate. Personalized bar tools not only give your home bar a warmer touch but, they can make everything look unique and cohesive.
Mixers. It’s always important to have drink mixers on hand for creating various drink recipes. For example, a bloody mary must be mixed with tomato juice, while a gin drink might require tonic water. Other suggested mixers are:
- Still and sparkling water
- Fresh juices: grapefruit, lime, cranberry, orange, tomato
- Club soda
- Tonic water
- Ginger ale
- Ginger beer
Any of these mixers can give your cocktail the extra kick it needs. Other ideas include bitters, seltzer or even tea.Ice. While ice may seem like an obvious staple, some drinks may require regular, crushed or large cubes. Make sure to stock up with a variety of ice trays and refill them once used. When throwing a party, it’s suggested to have at least a pound of ice per person.
Wine station. If you are a wine lover, try creating a wine station. This setup would include a wine rack with a variety of blends, wine glasses and a handy decanter for any dinner parties or a romantic night for two. You could also use this space to place a champagne bucket along with flutes for a bigger celebration.
Drinkware. One of the more essential items for your home bar is the drinkware. If you want your home bar to have a unique feel, go the extra step and impress with monogrammed drinkware. Use your initials, a special date, your last name or even favorite quote. Include a variety of glassware such as:
You can start with two of each and move your way up depending on your needs. Although there are specific glasses for all particular drinks, remember you can’t ever go wrong with a mason jar.
Books. Whether a wine, whiskey or beer enthusiast, having recipe books makes all the difference. Not only does it make your home bar pretty, but it allows you and your guests to read up on their favorite cocktails, try new recipes and compare notes.
Beer station. A beer station, much like a wine station, is a fun way to host a beer tasting party with your close friends. Fill a growler up with your favorite brew and prepare a charcuterie board. Don’t forget to have a bottle opener handy!
Garnishes and extra flavors. When mixing a cocktail, you’ll notice that some call for garnishes such as mint, lime, rosemary and even salt. It’s best to stock up on some of your favorite flavors and perhaps even come up with recipes of your own. Here are the most common garnishes that you’ll see in a variety of cocktail recipes:
- Cocktail olives
- Cocktail onions
- Hot sauce
- Simple syrup
- Sour mix
- Maraschino Cherries
Whatever flavors you choose, have fun with them. Take a look at a couple of recipe books and see what unique flavors you want to explore.
Fresh flowers. Decorating any home bar requires a little creativity. If you want to give your home bar a fresh look, mix up a variety of seasonal flowers in pretty vases. If plants are more your style, include succulents or hanging planters.
Serving tray. If you enjoy your drink while watching TV or simply want to have a refresher outside in the patio, a decorative tray does the trick. You can fill it with cocktails for an easy serve, or keep it as decor in your home along with some candles and books.
Snacks. You don’t need to have a party to enjoy a cocktail with your favorite food. Consider stocking up on cashews, peanuts, chocolates, pretzels and even gourmet chips. These will make all the difference while you’re sipping on that delicious mint julep or a sour craft beer.
Home Bar Essentials
As you can see, creating your perfect home bar is easy, especially when it’s based on your personal preferences. You’ll need the essentials to craft your favorite cocktail, but those small decorative details will add flair and beauty to your home.
We’ve created a handy list for you to reference when you’re stocking your home bar. Make a list, mix and match your favorites and start planning your dinner party.