Whether you've a dedicated wet bar or just want to “keep well stocked” for guests (or yourself), there’s nothing worse than missing a key ingredient to appease your cocktail fancies. So stock up on these essentials and continue to be merry.
You’ve got your bar and your bar space, now what do you need to ensure that it’s going to provide you with the tipples you so badly crave (read: need)? While we could wax on about how you could be ruthlessly shotting lowballs of whisky ala Frank Underwood style, it’s probably better to introduce you to the mandatories first before we move on to the harder stuff.
So here we go:
A must for cocktails, and for your wet bar. We’re talking bourbon/scotch/rye whisky, vodka, gin, tequila, rum (dark and white) and vermouth (sweet and dry) as standards for any bar. The brands you choose can be up to you, though we’ve recommended our favourites here - just because we can. And we like swaying people toward the finer drops in life.
Bulleit Frontier Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Anejo Tequila
Noilly Prat Original French Dry Vermouth
Another must for cocktails. Without them, you may end up with a stiff drink and not well-crafted cocktail in your hands. Try fruits and vegetables like orange, cranberry, pineapple and tomato juices, sodas (water, coke, sprite), bitters, triple sec, ginger ale and tonic waters.
Purists may say that these are essential for flavour, while amateurs may lean more toward seeing them as ‘decorations’. Whatever your perspective, toppers are nice. And c’mon, what would a martini be without an olive or a Shirley Temple without the maraschino cherry? Keep standards like oranges, lemons and limes on hand, and cocktail olives, cocktail onions, horseradish, berries, grenadine, tabasco sauce, syrups and cherries just in case.
Not a mandatory, but something to consider for those special occasions and to show off to friends. Think flavours like orange, hazelnut, coffee, cinnamon and peppermint.
Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup
Morris Kitchen Preserved Lemon Syrup
While you might be inclined to choose any random glass or mug within arm’s reach to drink from, there’s something aristocratic and glorious behind being able to mull over you scotch in a lowball glass or savour your Champagne out of a flute.
Triad Hi Ball
Gentleman Whisky Glass
Vazrani Martini Glass
Equipment you should really already have
Not going to bore you with the mandatories, but if you don’t already have these in your wet bar then WHY THE HECK DID YOU GET A WET BAR IN THE FIRST PLACE? Rookie. But we’ll forgive you. Once you check these off your list. And invite us over to try your first mixes…
- Cocktail shaker
- Bottle opener and corkscrew
- Cocktail spoon
- Ice crusher
- Cocktail strainer
Equipment we’ll forgive you for not having… yet
Let’s face it, these are purely for bragging rights:
- Soda siphon
- Citrus press
- Pour tops
- Wine aerator
Bar Station Wine Aerator with Stand
Deluxe Cocktail Shaker
Bar Station Double Jigger
Bar Station Wine Aerator
Barware Twist Spoon with Muddler
Hand Jive Brushed Antique Nickel Bar Blade
Cocktail books and classes
What good is a wet bar if you don't know how to use it. Brush up on your cocktail makin' skills with the help of these here guides and classes.
Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails: 1,500 Recipes to Mix it Up
The Book Depository
But if you really must head down the Underwood path (rough day?) then make sure it’s one of his choice spirits: Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Bruichladdich’s Scotch Whisky or Bushmills. And make sure it’s out of a lowball glass, please. No Doug Stamper syringes filled with Old Darby or your friends might not return to your place again. (Unless that was your intention...)