Stocking the Bar 101

…..Creating your own home bar is something that can be fun, simple, and socially rewarding. Whether your designated space is as small as a kitchen cabinet or as large as an extensive wet bar in the basement/patio, the key is in stocking the right drinks, tools and garnishes. To make things easier for you, I’ve provided a list of ingredients necessary to get you going. This is by no means a complete list and instead is more a solid foundation to a well stocked bar. Keeping a fully stocked bar is an on going process requiring continuous additions as new spirits hit the market.


  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Flavored Vodka (Citrus, Cherry, Blueberry, Vanilla, etc)
  • Rum (Light, Dark, Spiced)
  • Tequila (Light & Dark)
  • Whiskey (Canadian, Irish)
  • Scotch
  • Bourbon
  • Cognac
  • Brandy
  • Wine (White, Red, Sparkling)


  • Amaretto
  • Chambord
  • Compari
  • Countreu
  • Curacao (Blue & Orange)
  • Creme de Banana
  • Creme de Cacao
  • Creme de Cassis
  • Creme de Menthe
  • Frangelico
  • Galiano
  • Godiva
  • Goldschlager
  • Grand Marnier
  • Irish Cream
  • Jagermeister
  • Kahlua
  • Kirschwasser
  • Midori
  • Rumplemintz
  • Sambuca
  • Schnapps (Various Flavors: Peach, Pear, Pomegranate, Sour Apple, Butterscotch, Mango)
  • Southern Comfort


  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt/Sugar
  • Mint
  • Olives/Onions
  • Sweet n sour
  • Tabasco
  • Bitters
  • Milks
  • Tonic Water/Club Soda
  • Soda (Coke, 7up, Ginger ale)
  • Grenadine
  • Lime Juice (fresh or roses)
  • Cream of Coconut
  • Fruit Juice (Cranberry, Orange, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Tomato)
  • Fruit (Pineapple/Orange slices, Cherries, Strawberries, Bananas, Apples, Lemon/Limes)

…..Now there are several generic brands that make many of the cordials I listed which would be easieron your pockets, but for now I listed the most commonly associated brands with each style of liqueurs. Now if this list scares you a bit, don’t worry, you don’t have to buy it all at once. In fact, I highly recommend slowly building your bar up with a particular method a bartender once told me. Go to your favorite wine and spirits merchant and buy a cocktail recipe book. Find the ingredients to your favorite drink you regularly order when you go to the bar. Make this drink on your own at home over and over until you’re comfortable with the liquors and their appropriate measurements. Now that you’re comfortable, look for another drink you enjoy, or simple explore to find a drink you “think” you might enjoy. In the end, you’ll not only slowly stock an exceptional bar, but you’ll have a recipe for each liquor in your bar. There is nothing worse than having a fully stocked bar, and not understanding how to use half of the spirits in it.

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