I have been in the hostility business at one point or another, from birth. No, seriously. I really have. Being a great hostess is in my blood. My folks had a fully stocked bar forever ,when they were younger. My high school friends would “Ooo and ahh” over its magnitude. Honestly, I wasn’t interested in it like that,ever. It served a purpose. My parents party guests. And, entertaining is always the most fun when your the one ready for the party, isn’t it? And, hopefully always for the right party guests! But, we will save that topic for another time though. Being stocked sure makes it easy to slip into your favorite clothes, put on that perfect playlist and get to visiting with your company, even if it’s just two of you. The record player has changed to a speaker and an iPhone but, keeping it classy never goes out of style, does it?
Vodka– I’m a fan of Ketel One, Titos is good, Grey Goose is another.
Gin– Tanqeray is a steady standard, Hendricks is a nice herbal variety, Bombay Sapphire is a classic.
Scotch– Scotch drinkers chime in here. There are all sorts. I don’t partake but, I know this gets serious amongst many. Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, any thing with a “Glen” leading seems like a safe bet if your going for very nice.
Whiskey-I do like a decent Whiskey and will have things like Makers Mark, Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve.
Rum-Not really as popular as in the past but, don’t forget all those tasty tropical drinks for the Summer always seem to have rum. I’m in love with Old Monk on the rocks sometimes, and Diplomatico a Venezulan Rum that is so yummy but, hard to find, then it tails out for me on preference. There’s always just Bacardi.
Dry Vermouth-for Martinis
Sweet Vermouth-for Manhattans
Bourbon-Bulleit Bourbon is tasty, Old Weller is another.
Tequila– Is making a huge boutique come back. Gone are the days of the not so spectacular, cheap tequilas. And, tequila bars are popping up all over the place. The variations are vast but, Herradurra, Patron, and Hornitos, I think are solid choices.
This gets us down to the mixers and garnishes:
Roses lime juice
Triple Sec-margaritas among other things
Club Soda-buy the cans and stash these. They keep forever and you don’t have to open up a huge bottle that just gets wasted anyway.
Tonic Water-same goes here
Tomato Juice-again small cans, less waste.
Bitters-an easy addition also, great for stomach aches with soda water. Thought I would throw that in, in case you didn’t know that one.
Cocktail Onions– there’s a brand called McSweets around my neck of the woods that are great in Martinis for a Gibson
Olive Juice– my friends are into dirty Martinis. It keeps in the fridge. There’s never enough in that silly little jar packed with olives, is there. Who knows about this besides me?
Lemons and Limes
Juices-Are best fresh, I love breaking out the juicer and a giant bag of grapefruits, or oranges. There’s nothing better then fresh squeezed juice in a drink. But, watch your time and the mess. This is something best the day before or the morning of…
And then, you need a shaker, stirrer, strainer and some straws.
A stocked bar is an investment but, think about piece mealing together over time. I have a few friends that do this, even in their small spaces. Some, even ambitiously make their own bitters and shrubs…I did say ambitiously though. It’s a fun foodie hobbie for me and my restaurant friends. But, the store has some great choices nowadays for just about everything if you don’t want the hassle.
Think about a fun bar cart or cabinet to dedicate space for this and keep stock of what comes and goes. This is a fun way to also display some of the fancier things like glasses and a cocktail set, metal straws and napkins as you add things to your collection.
And, it’s easy to stock up as long as your not drinking it faster than you can buy it. Now, I encourage responsibility always. It doesn’t go bad people. It’s great to have the basics (I know not everyone will think they need everything here, modify if you must). Here’s some necessary items I think to keep on hand to meet everyone’s want and needs and for letting the festivities go off without a hitch. Of course, when it’s not BYOB (love that too) darlings. Cheers! 🌿
Bar Photo credit: Lula and Georgia