How To Stock A Home Cocktail Bar

One of the main areas for a home where entertaining is enjoyed is the bar. And, this is especially true if you are creating a man cave. If you like to have fellowship with friends and family, the bar will get used quite a bit. Many times this is where your guests congregate throughout get-together. Plenty of conversation happens around the bar area.

But, what should a well-stocked bar look like, complete with all the essential tools you need to serve? When you’re setting up your bar initially you may be somewhat overwhelmed. You may be thinking that you need every kind of liquor anyone might ask for. Or, you may be thinking you need certain liquors, beers, or wines that will impress your visitors. It’s true that you should have a basic variety for meeting different requests, but you don’t need to break the bank at the store to have a solidly stocked bar.

The key is to start small and focus on what you like to drink before adding a lot of choices. Your home bar should be customized to what you actually drink. Well, you are the main recipient of the inventory since you live there! So, you want to have your preferences on hand for your afternoons on the deck or sitting by the fire. Another reason for having what you like and drink is that you can share your personal preferences with your friends. What you stock in your bar can make for great conversation.

Beyond this, we thought it might be helpful to give you 5 simple tips to follow when aspiring to stock a complete home bar. Here you go! 

5 Tips on How to Stock a Home Cocktail Bar

 1. Start with the Basics and What You Know

In the vein of starting small, we advise having ingredients for the cocktails that you know how to fix and that you know folks will ask for. The same rule of thumb goes for you beer and wine inventory. Basic drinks are the starting point. Gin and tonic, vodka tonic, bourbon and coke are some examples of basic mixed drinks that many people like and that are easy to mix. Generally, if you have vodka, gin, bourbon whiskey, scotch whisky, rum and a tequila in your bar then you will have the basics covered.

However, if you are a more accomplished mixologist and you like martinis or manhattans or cosmos, then you should have the ingredients for these drinks in your bar stock.

Craft beers and IPAs are popular now so if you’re a beer connoisseur and so are your mates, of course, you’ll want those represented. By the same token, if you’re into wines you will have a good selection of those too.

2. Know Your Audience

Most of the time, you already know what your mates like, so be sure to have these covered. Do they like craft beers, IPAs, Bud Lite? Have these on hand for sure. It’s also a good idea to have a bottle or two of wine in your stock. And, of course, if you are a wine aficionado you will have more bottles and specific ones that you and your friends like to drink. If your guests are inclined toward martinis and such, then you need to have the additional ingredients for these, such as dry vermouth or olives and olive juice. Will you have any cognac drinkers for later with cigars? Think about who might be there and then make a list for specific requests.

3. Stock Bar Tools

This seems like a no-brainer, but you might be in one frame of mind (like beer) and neglect having the proper tools for something else (like cocktails). Here is a list of essential tools that will accommodate most any request from your guests:

   – Bottle openers

   – Corkscrews

   – Wine and champagne chillers

   – Hand towels

   – Ice bucket

   – Barware set including shaker, spoon, strainer and jigger

   – Shot glasses

4. Have Appropriate Mixers

The mixers you have on hand depend on the drinks you are mixing, of course. Here are a list of the basics you need to create most any drink that might be requested at your home bar. We suggest having these appropriate mixers on hand: 

  •    Tonic water
  •    Ginger ale
  •    Cola
  •    Cranberry juice
  •    Orange juice
  •    Sprite or 7-Up
  •    Bloody Mary mix

5. Ice and Refrigeration

Ice is probably the most important ingredient for any drink, especially if you are mixing cocktails–so you don’t want to forget it! Have a vessel for holding ice if you’re mixing cocktails, or a cooler if you are stocking beer and/or soft drinks. Having a refrigerator at the bar makes sense to keep beer and mixers cool all the time. If you’re thing is wine, you probably should have a wine cooler at the bar. And, if you’re pouring a lot of draft beer, you definitely want to consider having a kegerator.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have our 5 tips for supplying your man-cave bar with all the must-haves. At Man Cave Advisor, we’ve tried to take the hard work out of it for you. Remember, these are considered the essentials—not to say you can’t have additional things you just want! May we suggest taking a look in our cocktail section for unique tools like cocktail shakers that not only serve the purpose but also have a lot of personality! Enjoy!