Stocking a Home Bar

There is a large inventory of items needed to stock a home bar. These are only basic items used to make a variety of drinks. The cost to purchase all this at once would be staggering so gradually purchase items of necessity for entertaining. Look up some drink recipes that you like and base your parties on a limited number of drinks. Not all private parties use full service bars. They often serve only wine and beer or have a limited variety of liquors that can be served with a few mixers, water or on the rocks.

Some of the cooking channels often feature a single special drink to compliment the meal being served. Add some red and white wine and beer to broaden the selection. You can also do a theme and serve tropical drinks like Pina Coladas in the summer or some fruit based drinks that are made with champagne. You can go online or buy a bartenders book for mixed drinks to get some ideas. What is really important is to know what your guest enjoy drinking. This will reduce the inventory, cost, and satisfy your guest.

In the summer you can have beer on tap at an outdoor party. Some Liquor stores can sell you a quarter keg and rent you the kegerator, gas and tap. Nothing tastes better on a hot summer day than a cold beer on tap.

Basic Liquor needed

  • Bourbon
  • Brandy
  • Canadian Whiskey
  • Dark or Spiced Rum
  • Gin
  • Light Rum
  • Scotch
  • Tequila
  • Vodka
  • Rye
  • Whiskey
  • Red and White wine

Essential Liquers

  • Amaretto
  • Irish Cream
  • Creme de Cacao
  • Coffee Liquer (Kahlua)
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Orange Liquer (Triple Sec, Coitreau, Curacao)

Mixers and Sodas can add up to a list of about 23 items and a price tag to match them. It's best to pre plan what drinks you will serve and purchase the mixers needed for those drinks. Garnishings should be treated the same way, buy what you need for that night. Lemons, Limes, orange slices, olives , Maraschino Cherries and cocktail olives are the most frequently used garishings.

Bar Equipment

Fortunately, besides glassware, there are only seven items and some you may never need based on what you drink. They do add a touch of professionalism to your home bar.

  • Cocktail Shaker         usually used for Martinis
  • Hawthore Stariner         used to strain the shaken drinks
  • Julep Stariner         oversized slotted spoon for straining drinks
  • Jigger                        Measuring device for shots
  • Bar Spoon                 Long handled to reach to glass bottom for stirring, layering drinks
  • Muddler                   Thick Stick made of wood or Stainless to mash items in bottom of glass
  • Ice bucket                 The most used item you will ever buy

Now your ready to have a party, well almost. Here is a link to a list of drink book recipes and bartender handbooks tom help you out and make your night a success. drink recipes
this book will make you look like a proThe Professional Bartender's Handbook: A Recipe for Every Drink Known - Including Tricks and Games to Impress Your Guests

Reading a Wine Bottle Label

Brand - An identifying brand name is required like an owners name or winery name
Class - Wines are labeled as one of several classes, for example sparkling wine, table wine, citrus wine, aperitif wine. Each class is a different level or volume of alcohol which the government needs to use for taxing purposes.
Distinctive designation options - A proprietary name is allowed in accordance with common trade practice. Under many conditions an appellation of origin is mandatory. This discloses the true place of origin of the grapes

Alcohol Content

Alcohol content must be stated on wine labels containing more than 14% by volume. These wines, even if the alcohol content is reached naturally, is considered fortifies and taxed four times higher than wines under 14%. Wines under 14% may have the alcohol content stated or the designations “table wine” or “Light Wine” used implying alcohol content of 7 to 14%.

Who and Where Bottled

The name and address of the bottler must appear on the label of all American wines, immediately preceded by the words "bottled by."
If the bottler also made at least 75% of the wine by fermenting and clarifying the resulting wine, the terms "produced and bottled by" may be used.
"Made and bottled by" may be used: if the named winery fermented and clarified a minimum of 10% of the wine; if the named winery changed the class of the wine by adding alcohol, brandy, or carbonation; or if the named winery produced sparkling wine by secondary fermentation.
"Cellared," "Vinted," or "Prepared" means the named winery subjected the wine to any cellar treatment specified in the regulations, such as clarification or barrel aging, at that location. "Blended and bottled by" means that the named winery mixed the wine with other wine of the same class and type at that location.
"Selected," "Perfected," or simply "Bottled by," mean only that the named winery bottled the contents without requiring any other operation or process to be performed


A vintage year may be used on labels of wine produced in the U.S. when 95% comes from grapes harvested and fermented within that calendar year and which is labeled with an appellation more specific than a country name. The requirement doesn't call for 100% in order to allow for the producer to use newer wine to "top" barrels from which evaporation occurs over the period of months or years as the wine ages.
Declaration of sulfites Almost every bottle has sulfites added. Sulfites are naturally present from the soil but are added to retard spoilage and discoloration About 1% of the population has a reaction to sulfites while almost 5% of all asthma sufferers have adverse reactions to sulfites.