Home Bar Essentials: What You Need for a Complete Entertainment Setup

A well-stocked home bar creates a comfortable space to relax or entertain guests. Even if you aren’t an expert mixologist, having a home bar with all the accessories and the tools is essential in creating delicious cocktails. A small collection of basic glassware, tools, mixers, and liquors will allow you to execute virtually any cocktail recipe.

Decide on a Bar Style

To begin, you must decide on a bar style. This might seem like a simple and somewhat narrow decision, but there are quite a few options to choose from. To begin, think about the areas of your home that you most often entertain or relax. A simple yet elegant drink cart is a good option if you are looking to bring your equipment from room to room. You may also choose an elegant hutch or even a full bar with seating if you have space.

Tools and Glassware

Creating delicious cocktails often involves more than just opening a bottle or can and pouring them into a glass. Any well-stocked bar will supply the tools to mix, measure and prepare garnishes. Essential cocktail tools include:

  • Bottle opener
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Mixing glass
  • Stirrer
  • Cutting board
  • Grater
  • Ice maker/bucket

Glassware will depend on the types of drinks you are serving. The shape and size of glassware can alter the way a beverage tastes, breathes and is drunk. The basics of glassware include:

  • Beer glass
  • Champagne flute
  • Collins glass/highball
  • Martini glass
  • Wine glasses – red wine and white wine
  • Rocks glass

Mixers and Garnishes

a complete at-home bar often includes a mini-fridge stocked with essential mixers. Besides mixing with alcohol, it’s also important to have non-alcoholic options available. ingredients like simple syrups and sodas can make delicious mocktails.


Many signature cocktails include juice. Keep orange juice, cranberry juice, tomato juice, on hand, as well as lemon and lime.


As with juice, many drinks include sodas as a base. Basic sodas (as well as diet variations) should be included. Stock your bar with a cola, a citrus soda, club soda, and tonic water.


Some may choose to skip the garnishes, depending on your cocktail choices. Sometimes decorative, sometimes integral in the flavor of the drink, garnishes include cherries, oranges, and grapefruit.


Simple syrup is included in many beverages, which you can make on your own–as the name implies, it’s just water and sugar. You should also include grenadine and sour mix in your syrup collection.

Staple Liquors

Finally, no home bar is equipped until you add the liquor! There are six staple liquors to include, which will make a variety of concoctions: vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, white rum, and spiced rum. It’s also a good idea to include a few liqueurs, such as amaretto, triple sec, and vermouth.

Whether you and your guest enjoy a few fingers of your favorite whiskey or an intricate cocktail, having a fully-stocked bar at home means you will always have what you need on hand. For more mixology tips and ideas, follow The Barrel Mill blog.