The best way to make your house a home is by inviting friends and family over to hang out
and fill the air with warmth, love and laughter. One of the best ways to facilitate this? By having the
most kickass home bar ever. I know that the idea of stocking a home bar can be both daunting and
perhaps even frightening- mainly because there are so many places to start and the cocktail world
can be so vast and never-ending. However, together we will face this task and set up a home bar that
will rival the Flatiron Room (well, maybe not, but it will come pretty damn’ close).

First, you need the tools of the trade.
-Cocktail Shaker
-Bottle Opener
-Wine Key
-Mixing Glass
-Peeler/ channel knife
-Paring knife
-Citrus Press
-Double Strainer

I know, I know- that’s a whole lot of tools to get. And yeah, I guess you’re kind of right. But two
things here:

1.Once you have a set of tools, you will always have them. Unless you are an irresponsible Whiskey
Women and don’t take care of them, lose them, break them, etc. (We are not here to judge). The
point is- it’s worth the investment.

2.You don’t necessarily need ALL of these. Though, I must say, it looks pretty badass to have a
complete set of fancy tools on your bar. However, if you want to slowly dip your toes into having
a home bar, start from the top of the list and work your way down.

Now, where to buy, where to buy! That really depends on your own personal style and flare. A great
place to get fun and cheap bar tools would be any local thrift store. Some of my other personal
favorites are Anthropologie and If you need some ideas on different types of
tools and styles, let us be your spirit guide.

Second, and this is the fun part, Tipples!
When stocking your bar with tipples (which is really just a fancy word for spirits), it comes down to
what you like- what do you want to sip on day to day?
First, start off with the basics- vodka, gin and bourbon. Don’t forget to buy some bitters as well
since just about every cocktail out there calls for them. Angostura to start, then maybe some
Peychaud’s, and then get frisky with various flavors.
Once you have your basics covered, then think about getting some Red and White wine, Tequila,
Rum, Scotch, and Brandy. I always make sure I have a bottle of Champagne on hand so I can
celebrate life whenever the hell I want to- even if its just surviving a really shitty day.
The hardest part about keeping a consistently stocked bar is keeping up with the mixers. Having
maraschino cherries, orange, lemon, and lime always on hand will get you far. Same with Ginger
Ale, Tonic and Soda. Simple Syrup is also a great thing to always have on hand; you can buy at the
store or easily make your own by combining equal parts sugar and water, stirring together and
putting on the stove to boil.

At this point, you have what you need to make a lot of classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned,
Manhattan, and a Gin & Tonic.
It’s always good to have a couple of go-to cocktail recipes in your repertoire. Personally, I like to
keep a shit ton of lemons on hand as well as a mix of basil, mint, lavender, and rosemary (home
garden, y’all). When guest come over I squeeze the lemons for fresh lemon juice and mix it
together with water and simple syrup. I then let each guest pick which booze and garnish they would
like in their drink. Versatile, fun, and personalized- it’s amazing.
The final step in creating the perfect cocktail is putting it in the most perfect cocktail glass. I think
we can all agree the glass you use can completely change any mood you may be in. As such, be sure
to have some fun highball glasses, classy rocks glasses, and whatever else you think is pretty and
lovely. Whatever you do- don’t you dare use a solo cup. You are no longer in college.
The best and worst thing about a home bar is that it is completely up to you. While you’re out at
bars scout out some new favorite concoctions- as well as that incredibly attractive bartender mixing
your drink up for you. Here’s to your explorations and adventures- cheers!

Follow Ashley on Twitter @Ashleyedanford