Stocking Your First Adult Kitchen

A few weeks ago, battling a crippling hangover, I crawled to my best friend’s apartment to demand that she make me breakfast. As she rustled up some very runny eggs, I found myself incredulous. “You have pans with matching lids?” I implored. She wasn’t sure if it was some residual drunkenness or if I was actually surprised to see such a basic kitchen necessity. As I looked around her kitchen, I was increasingly more amazed to see so many things that my kitchen lacked: full sets of matching utensils, spice racks, a fully stocked fridge, a liquor cabinet.

I’ve always been most impressed by people who have a well stocked fridge; to me it’s the surest sign of someone who really has it all figured out. Part of being a well-adjusted adult also means having the capability to prepare a drink without having to walk to the liquor store in order to collect the ingredients.

How often do you drink at home alone? This is a question I ask myself weekly when I go grocery shopping somewhere between the produce section and the ice cream aisle. While I tend to overthink the necessary elements for hosting all my friends at my apartment or what to bring to someone else’s, I rarely take the time to consider what I need on a daily basis.

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I would suggest that you always have your liquor of choice on hand, readily available in your kitchen. Maybe I overheard it in an episode of Mad Men, but I also like to believe that you should always have a few options to offer your guests to drink, should they come over unexpectedly. I try to make sure that I have at least one spirit in my freezer (usually I have a bottle of vodka and a bottle of tequila) as well as something to mix them with. My sister likes to keep ginger beer in the fridge to make Moscow Mules; it’s a nice touch to be able to provide an actual cocktail to your guests outside of the standard vodka soda or shots chased with orange juice. Because these spirits don’t expire if properly stored, it makes sense to slowly accumulate bottles in your collection, as opposed to buying small bottles that you plan on depleting as soon as it’s opened. Also, you should always have ice, no matter what; that’s just what adults do.

As a rule of thumb, I also like to make sure I have a bottle of wine that I enjoy on hand. It’s fun to experiment with different bottles of wine to try to more accurately pinpoint what varietals you prefer. As an added bonus, if you have a selection of wines available in whatever you might use as a wine rack (for me it’s a square foot of counter space) then you actually have a choice in what you’re going to drink if you’re craving. It’s far less enjoyable to have a glass of wine when you are forced to drink that one lone bottle of Sauvignon Blanc your friend brought over two months ago. If you’re more of a beer drinker, I would apply the same logic: make sure you have options and variety in your fridge.

As important as the alcohol is, you should also have something to serve it in. Although they are controversial, stemless wine glasses are great pieces to have in a small apartment as they are less accident prone. If your wine tastes are more refined, then consider investing in more delicate stemmed glasses. You should also have something at least resembling a tumbler for cocktails, as well as tall beer glasses. It adds such a degree of maturity to serve guests, or yourself, in proper glassware as opposed to solo cups, even if you are drinking drug store wine. Additionally, if you’re not someone who entertains often or makes elaborate cocktails, don’t concern yourself with fancy barware like cocktail shakers and bar tools. Most of these tools can be substituted with other kitchen items and will remain largely unused if you’re first getting started in your place.

Just like a well-stocked fridge, an abundant liquor cabinet is a sure sign of a welcoming home and will remove the guess work from drinking at home. And don’t worry, when it comes time to clean out your pantry, we’ve got you covered.