The Home Bar

We're renovating, exploring style and design with a dash of cocktail making and cooking thrown in. 

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During this pandemic we are having “Cocktail Hour with Will” six days a week on our instagram stories. Each day we will teach you either a cocktail recipe or something about entertaining with your home bar. We hope this gives you all a place to relax and let the day wash away. You can see past stories in our highlights.

Whether it’s for entertaining a few guests or a quiet evening around the house, the home bar is a quite essential. Building the perfect cocktail not only lets you express your own personality, but it also offers something new to your guests. It’s as much of an entertainment as it is an enjoyment. Think of each cocktail as an amuse bouche to the main course.

This post contains affiliate links. We make a small commission if you purchase our recommendations.

The basics of a home bar

To setup the basics for the home bar we are going to gather items for the bar, pantry, and refrigerator. These items will include the five main base liquors, Vermouths and cocktail accoutrements, which most cocktails are made with.

5 Main Base Liquors

  • Bourbon or Whisky
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Light Rum (clear)
  • Tequila

Vermouth, Bitters and Wine

  • Dry Vermouth (white)
  • Sweet Vermouth (red)
  • Aganostra Bitters
  • Bottle of your favorite red wine
  • Bottle of your favorite white wine

When choosing your liquor, vermouths, bitters and wine, it comes down to personal taste. Each one of the items listed above come in many varieties and their flavor profiles can vary drastically. There is a bit of trial and error here, finding which brands you like most. Do a little detective work next time you have a great cocktail and ask the bartender what the drink was made with. Hopefully they will turn you on to something new and exciting.

For the Pantry

  • Seltzer
  • Tonic
  • Bloody Mary mix (can be home made)
  • Pina Colada mix (can be home made)
  • Green Olives (not in oil)
  • Luxardo Cherries (this specific brand is really good)

For the Fridge

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Berries
  • Orange Juice
  • Ice

Upping your home bar to the next level

Once you have your basic bar setup, it’s time to have fun and explore. We like to have items that we can serve before and after dinner such as aperitifs and digestifs or something to add complexity to our standard cocktail recipes.

We prefer our aperitifs to have a more bitter citrus flavor, which stimulates the appetite. An example of an aperitif would be Campari, which can be mixed with soda for a Campari and soda cocktail. For our digestifs, a sweeter and smoother taste is ideal for after a meal. This can be a cognac or Lillet.

Here are a few favorites from our home bar

We always have a healthy rotation of our favorite spirits in the bar. Some things hang around for awhile and others we replenish regularly. Make sure you mix it up once in awhile to keep it interesting.

Bourbon / Whiskey / Rye / Scotch




Tequila and Mezcal

Vermouths and Bitters

Liqueurs, Aperitifs and Digestifs

Mixers and Pantry items

For recommendations on cocktail glasses for the home bar, see our post here.

House of Brinson Home Bar

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  1. Brenda says:

    Fantastic information!!! I’ve been making a list from your daily cocktails but having this in one post is incredibly handy!

  2. Alex says:

    It ‘s been a long time since I was going to improve my home bar. Now I can even take him to another level.

  3. Tanya says:

    Love your bar case. Is it vintage?

  4. Sounds good. If I could buy all of the equipment that you listed above, my home bar will be on another level. I think my little home bar will look luxury bar.

  5. CJ says:

    Great list! I have definitely have been getting more friendly with the spirits during this pandemic but your recommendations feel so classy.

  6. Sara Boyer says:

    Where are those glasses from?

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