5 Essentials for an Epic At-Home Bar

Having a bar in your home allows you to entertain friends on weekends and host family events or holiday get-togethers. You can also save money by drinking at home instead of going out and spending extra on overpriced drinks.

However, many homeowners aren't sure how to start and stock a good bar in their home. Here are five essentials for creating an epic at-home bar.

1. Get a Good Cocktail Book
Unless you or your spouse has bartending experience, one of the first things you'll need to buy is a cocktail book. Without one, you'll end up frantically Googling recipes right before guests arrived, and besides, purchasing a cocktail book beforehand will help you decide what spirits and mixers to stock. You don't need to go overboard spending on a high-end cocktail book, but make sure you buy one written by a reputable bartender and one that has a wide variety of recipes.

2. Stock Plenty of Mixers
When setting up an at-home bar, many people forget to stock a sufficient variety of mixers. Some ingredients, such as lemons, limes, club soda and tonic water, are obvious, but you should stock as many mixers as possible so that you can serve family and friends with whatever drinks they like. To generate ideas for useful mixers that you might not normally consider stocking, you can consult recipes in your cocktail book and look for common ingredients.

3. A Console Table
You'll need some kind of console table or sideboard in your bar to help you store mixers, extra glassware and bartending equipment. You can also place a tray on top of the table and keep glasses, an ice bucket and common liquors on the tray for added convenience.

4. Bitters
If you aren't already aware, bitters are high-proof alcoholic drinks infused with herbs, roots or other flavorings. Classic and new-age cocktails alike use bitters frequently, so having bitters around greatly increases the variety of drinks you can make. Nowadays there are dozens of varieties of bitters available, so do some research ahead of time and stock at least a half-dozen varieties that you like.

5. Glassware
Last but certainly not least, you'll need proper glassware for your at-home bar. At the very least, you'll need beer glasses and steins, shot glasses, wine glasses, rocks glasses and decanters, but the greater your variety of glassware, the easier it will be to mix different drinks. You can also purchase glassware based on what you like to drink; if you enjoy margaritas, for example stock a few margarita glasses, or purchase champagne flutes if you'll be drinking champagne for holidays. Quality glassware is easy to find online on sites such as Shop At Dean.

As long as you stock all of these items, you'll be well on your way to creating an epic at-home bar. As a general rule, more is better, so purchase as many varieties of spirits, mixers and glassware as your budget allows. Most importantly of all, have fun with your bar, and entertain as often as possible to get practice mixing a wide variety of drinks.

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