6 Essential Ingredients & Other Things You Need for Your Home Bar

Whether you’re trying out to be a bartender or simply want to make your own cocktails at home, having a home bar is definitely a good decision for you.

This investment comes with numerous benefits, including having the capability to entertain cocktail party guests within the comforts of your own home.

If you’re planning to set up a home bar soon, you must first know what items to prioritize before heading to your favorite Dubai liquor store. This includes:

1. Liquors

Most cocktails are founded on at least one of the six base liquors that all well-rounded bars have. When stocking your first home bar, make sure you have a good stock (if not all) of these liquors so you can mix cocktails whenever you want.

Vodka

Vodka makes for an excellent base liquor because of its clean and transparent flavor. It is commonly used for cocktails requiring distilled spirit.

Cocktails you can make with vodka include:

  • Vodka martini
  • Bloody mary
  • Screwdriver

Gin

Although not quite as popular as the other base liquors, gin still is essential for your home bar. Without it, you can’t make:

  • Gin and tonic
  • Dry martini
  • Sloe gin fizz

Tequila

Tequila may be most popular for tequila shots taken with salt and lime, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s also essential for many famous cocktail drinks, such as:

  • Margarita
  • Tequila sunrise
  • Mexican mule
  • Cantarito
  • Bloody Maria

Rum

Most expert bars have at least two bottles of rum to make crowd-favorite cocktails, like:

  • Mojito
  • Daiquiri
  • Tropical cocktails (you need dark rum for these)

Whiskey

Whiskey is not only good for drinking straight up. It also makes for an excellent base spirit for cocktail mixes, like:

  • Manhattan cocktail
  • Old-fashioned
  • John Collins
  • Mint julep
  • Irish coffee

Brandy

Brandy completes the six base liquors and makes for a well-rounded bar. With this spirit, you can create the following drinks:

  • Brandy cocktail
  • Metropolitan
  • Champagne cocktail
  • Japanese cocktail

2. Liqueurs

Liqueurs are often what give cocktails their defined flavors. They come as distilled spirits in some cases, though a wide variety of liqueurs offer plenty of other flavors.

Since these ingredients can last a long time, you can stock your home bar with these basics, including:

  • Amaretto: An almond-flavored ingredient used for most casual and fancy cocktails.
  • Coffee liqueur: Used for drinks like White Russians.
  • Dry and sweet vermouth: Technically a fortified wine but is an essential addition to martinis.
  • Orange liqueur: Used for cocktails like Sidecar and orange crush.

3. Bitters

Bitters serve as the botanical additive to cocktail drinks. These high-proof alcohols are infused with roots, herbs, and spices.

Gone are the days when only one bitter is available for any cocktail. Today, you can find almost every kind out there – from coffee bitters to rhubarb bitters. When in doubt, ask your liquor store about these.

4. Juices

Never forget to stock your home bar with juices, though you should make it a point to use fresh ones. Of course, that may not always be possible, so you should have ready-to-pour juices handy to give your cocktails a refreshing flavor.

Depending on the kind of cocktails you’re planning to master, below are some juices you may need for your home bar:

  • Lime and lemon juice – for margarita, daiquiri, and many other different cocktails.
  • Grapefruit juice – for summer cocktails like paloma, brown derby, and grapefruit shandy.
  • Orange juice – for tequila sunrise, screwdriver, mimosa, and many other cocktails.
  • Cranberry juice – for cosmopolitan and vodka cranberry.
  • Pineapple juice – for tropical drinks such as piña colada, pineapple mojito, and pineapple rum cocktail.
  • Tomato juice – for a bloody mary, red snapper, and other bartender signature recipes.

5. Ice

Never forget to have ice at the ready as most cocktails (about 98 percent) need it, either in the glass or in the mixer. Of course, not all ice is the same.

Always use clean and fresh ice.

To ensure that you get the cocktail recipes right, try to learn what the different forms of ice are. This knowledge could mean a world of difference for every cocktail you create.

6. Glasses

If you buy beer online in Abu Dhabi, the best way to enjoy it is by drinking from a big beer mug.

The same goes for cocktail drinks. You need the right kind of glass to hold every cocktail drink you master. To start, below are some essential glasses you would need:

Rocks

Rocks often come in various sizes, but they are most often around 8 to 10 ounces.

Best for: Drinks mostly made of spirits.

Collins or Highball

Collins and highball glasses are closely related, with the former having a slightly squatter and wider build. Both can hold 10 to 12 ounces worth of cocktail.

Best for: Drinks served with lots of ice.

Flute

Flute glass is one of the most widely recognizable stemware today. It’s not made for quick shots.

Flute glasses are typically found in establishments where carbonated drinks are served because their smaller surface area allows for the CO2 in the beverages to stay longer.

Best for: Drinks with a distinctive aroma (e.g., mimosas).

Coupe Glass

Coupes typically come in six to eight ounces, with the liquid reaching just below the rim of the glass.

Coupe glasses are an excellent replacement for martini glasses since they don’t spill far too easily.

Best for: Drinks served without ice.

Shot Glass

A standard shot glass comes in a 1.5-ounce size, making it an excellent tool for measuring liquor. It is usually used to serve hard drinks, like vodka, that are served in shots.

Best for: Drinks consumed in one go.

The Bare Essentials

Cocktail bars typically have a wide variety of ingredients and tools at the ready, especially in commercial establishments. 

For a well-rounded home bar, the bare minimum should at least include what’s presented on this list.