How to Stock Your Own Home Bar

A bar at home might be the perfect project for anybody looking to spend some time on home improvements. It’s not too difficult to make – the essentials of it are a bar surface, a seating area, and some drinks – and the rest is up to you. You can take time designing your perfect bar, creating an atmosphere that’s just the way you like it, but the choices will seem endless. Here are some tips to help you cover the essentials if you feel overwhelmed by possibility. 

The Six Bases 

There are six base spirits that combine with mixers to make the vast majority of cocktails. You can identify which ones you want to include, but professional bars stock at least one or all of them. These are:

  • Vodka (highly essential, used in more cocktails than anything else)
  • Gin (simple London dry gin is recommended, as it can make any gin cocktail)
  • Tequila (less essential but good for many modern cocktails),
  • White rum and dark/spiced rum (especially if you like tropical cocktails)
  • Brandy (though this is more rarely used in cocktails)
  • Whiskey – picking one type of whiskey is a little difficult, as each style has different uses. Scotch is typically preferred for enjoying by itself, on the rocks, or with soda water, but Canadian rye or a bourbon is probably better for versatility. 


Now you’ve selected your spirits, you need some liqueurs to use as flavoring for your cocktails. There are countless choices available, but if you want maximum versatility, choose amaretto, Kahlua, triple sec, and curaçao. The rest you need to pick yourself by formulating a long list of your favorite cocktails and finding common liqueurs that they share. There are countless lists of ‘essential liqueurs,’ but finding those that are personal to your tastes is the best way to go. 

On the non-alcoholic side, juices are essential – especially lemon and lime juice. Orange, cranberry, pineapple, and tomato juice are also very good for cocktails, but these can go off relatively quickly, so it might be better to get them as you need them rather than always having them in stock. Sodas, however, will keep much longer – club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, and cola should be in stock and ready for your cocktails. 


You should also pick a selection of your favorite craft ales and wines if you have enough space. Wines and beer are drunk more commonly than cocktails, but they require less of a preparation space, which is why many use a home bar more for cocktails. However, this is your home bar –fill it according to your individual taste!


Some ideas for atmosphere-enhancing non-consumable add-ons include old leather seating areas alongside distressed mirrors, if you are a fan of the traditional pub feel. If you prefer sports bars or video games, consider installing a small TV for you to watch live sports or esports, alongside an area for a computer to display relevant sports or esports betting odds that you would usually hear from fellow patrons. 

Other extras can vary in price, but it’s almost essential for you to have some sort of music system in place. This can vary based on the feel of your bar – you might even want to consider setting up a vinyl HiFi system for a very traditional atmosphere, or a set of Bluetooth speakers could do the job just fine. As long as you give yourself the tools to help you relax with a cocktail after all your work setting everything up, it’ll be hard to get you out to a real bar again!