Everything you need for the ultimate wet bar

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
Bulleit Frontier Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Dan Murphy's

Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Anejo Tequila
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Anejo Tequila

Dan Murphy's

Noilly Prat Original French Dry Vermouth
Noilly Prat Original French Dry Vermouth

Dan Murphy's


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.

Flavoured liquors

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.


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.

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
  • Jigger
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Cocktail spoon
  • Ice crusher
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Blender

Equipment we’ll forgive you for not having… yet

Let’s face it, these are purely for bragging rights:

  • Zester
  • Soda siphon
  • Citrus press
  • Pour tops
  • Wine aerator
  • Muddler
Hand Jive Brushed Antique Nickel Bar Blade
Hand Jive Brushed Antique Nickel Bar Blade

Dan Murphy's

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
Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails: 1,500 Recipes to Mix it Up

The Book Depository

whatyouneed for ultimate wet bar image1

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...)

Blanton’s Single Barrel Special Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Blanton’s Single Barrel Special Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Dan Murphy's

Bruichladdich Octomore 5.1 Scotch Whisky
Bruichladdich Octomore 5.1 Scotch Whisky

Dan Murphy's

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site