How to Create an Impressive Home Bar in 4 Easy Steps

The only thing better than a well-stocked bar with an incredible ambiance is one that operates from the comfort of your own home.

This easy hosting guide will walk you through creating an impressive home bar that can whip up cocktails that look as good as they taste. With our recommendations for staple spirits, as well as barware, glassware, and all the extras, you’ll be set for any hosting needs, whether you’re pouring drinks for a party or enjoying one yourself after a long day.

Stock the Essential Spirits

The Bar home bar guide

To cover all the common cocktail favorites, you’ll need to create a solid collection of light and dark spirits, such as a blanco and a reposado tequila, vodka, gin, a light and a dark rum, an assortment of whiskeys (think a good Scotch whisky for sipping, a smooth whiskey for mixing, and a bourbon) and dry and sweet — sometimes called red — vermouth. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got aromatic bitters and agave on hand.

This assortment of spirits will give your bar the range it needs to effortlessly pull off the perfect Margarita, Mai Tai, Martini, and more. Aiming to really impress? Invest in some ultra-premium spirits that hold their own enough to be sipped neat — and don’t forget to stock some non-alcoholic spirits, too.

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Grab the Requisite Glassware

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to glassware, but fear not. A handful of glasses can vehicle a big selection of drinks. Start with beautiful sets of highball/Collins glasses, rocks glasses, coupes, and wine glasses. Most mixed drinks will be in highball or rocks glasses, and neat pours are almost always sipped from rocks glasses. Coupes are classy, multi-purpose glassware that can be used for mixed cocktails served straight up, and for Martinis and Champagne. Wine glasses, of course, are vessels for wine, but are also used to serve drinks like spritzes. Nice to have (but not necessary) additions to add over time include traditional “V” Martini glasses, Champagne flutes, and copper mugs. 

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Equip Your Bar With the Necessary Bar Tools

A good bartender always has a few specialty tools up their sleeve. Along with the quintessential shaker, strainer, and jigger, you’ll want to outfit your home bar with the barware you need to craft classic cocktails and other favorites. Make sure you’ve got a cocktail spoon for mixing, a cutting board, a bar knife, a bottle opener, and a wine opener. Plus, it never hurts to have a decorative ice bucket with tongs for aesthetic or a good cocktail recipe book on hand for reference and inspiration. 

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Add the Finishing Touches

Take your home bar to the finish line with cocktail accessories, specialty liqueurs, and a good selection of sparkling mixers. One of our favorites? Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur is a versatile hit that can be served on the rocks, in coffee, and in numerous after-dinner or dessert cocktails. Sparkling mixers are top-line choices for making the perfect gin and tonic or vodka soda. If you’re looking for ways to elevate your bar setup, consider adding a decorative dish for storing and displaying fresh cocktail garnishes, a set of reusable cocktail napkins, or flaunting your whiskey in a beautiful glass decanter. Serving drinks with decorative glass cocktail picks and stir sticks, whiskey stones, or ice made with fancy ice molds will also do the trick! 

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Seek Out More Inspiration 

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to display your new home bar, check out this beautiful bar cart styling book for suggestions and inspiration. And once you’ve stocked up, the only thing left is to decide what cocktail to make first! 

This article is sponsored by The Bar.