Entertaining, Home

How to Build a Home Bar

One of the things I loved most when I lived in D.C., and before my husband and I were parents, was having cocktail hour at the end of the day. It was a nice way to mark the end of the workday and the beginning of the evening; to relax from the commute; to enjoy each other’s company before starting dinner. Over the years, I put together a comprehensive and fun home bar, pictured above. While this sort of set-up isn’t practical with a preschooler, I do have this arrangement in the back of my mind for the future. Here are my tips for building a home bar.

Figure out what you love and stock the ingredients for it
Love gin? Make sure you have the ingredients for a gin martini, gin rickey, and gin and tonic. Look up various recipes, get good at them, and show off when you have friends over!

Have a signature drink
Come up with a fun signature cocktail for your house, particularly if you entertain frequently. I love to share the cocktails I love with my friends. This was a signature when I lived in D.C.!

Make it informal but organized
Encourage your friends and guests to help themselves! Having things organized takes the guesswork out of where the corkscrew or jigger are, and allows for the flow of conversation to continue while they make their own drink.

Don’t overcrowd your bar
You don’t need to stock your bar with every liqueur or garnish or mixer under the sun—add what you need, remove what you don’t, and you won’t be constantly worrying about knocking over a bottle when you mix a cocktail!

Stock mixers in individual portions
While buying larger bottles of tonic water and club soda are easier, I favor individual servings (we love Fever Tree) because then you don’t need to waste what you’re not using.

Have the right glassware
I love Williams-Sonoma’s coupe glasses, which I use for certain cocktails. We use Riedel wine glasses for white, red, and rosé, and for cocktails I love these glasses, also Williams-Sonoma.

You can never have too many cocktail napkins!
Self-explanatory! I love August Morgan, The Pink House Design, and Julia Amory.

What’s in your home bar?

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