Stocking A Home Bar: How To Stock A Home Bar On A Budget

home bar

A home bar is not just for pleasure-seekers and high-budgeted people.

Anyone of any budget can afford to stock a home bar. It may take a few trips to the liquor store, or it may take a few months of saving up in order to afford a perfectly stocked bar.

Getting liquor for your home bar is no easy task, especially if you know your common visitors might be a bit picky with drinks, so it is important to know their taste and preferences(as well as your own!). Some party guests want fancier drinks that require mixing. That is why learning a bit of mixology couldn’t hurt.

When stocking a home bar, you should buy as you go rather than all at once because the liquor might take its toll on your budget. Unless you are buying dirt-cheap liquor, bottles tend to be quite expensive!

Stocking a home bar will cost you about $500 for the average home bar. If you have a mini-bar that is only meant for 2-3 people, it will most likely cost you about $200.


What You NEED:

Essential Bottles:

  • Beer – the basic alcohol of all time, beer can also be mixed with a couple of mixers for a nice drink. What’s a home bar without a few case of beer?!
  • Gin – you’ll need a light spirit drink first. It’s the basic for all home bars and most of your guests will need a bit of gin in their drinks.
  • Vodka – The list of drinks you can mix with vodka is endess! Having a bottle or two of vodka in your home bar is essential.
  • Light or White Rum – Want to instantly give your bar a Mexican or tropical vibe? Light, or white, rum is the way to go!. In fact, it’s also one of the most common drinks that can be made into mojitos or daiquiris.
  • Dark Rum – a dark counterpart to light rum, this one is essential for that buttered rum taste.
  • Rye Whiskey – most party-goers like a kick of spice in their drinks, and rye whiskey does the trick.
  • Tequila – yet another famous party drink, you can use this for cocktail drinks as well, for margaritas.
  • Brandy – generally speaking, brandy is a versatile drink that can be mixed into almost anything and an essential get-together bottle.

Essential Mixers:

  • Grapefruit – most cocktails need a sour kick and grapefruit does the trick. It can be made into Paloma, Sour Ginger, Crimson Crush and many more.
  • Cranberry – mostly mixed with tequila, vodka and a lot of other drinks, this is one of the must have bar mixers in your home bar, and can be made into Cosmopolitan, Northern Lights, Red Carpet and much more.
  • Orange – this is another essential in your home bar and can be made into various mixes like Belladonna, Orange Blossom, Irish Whip, Paradise Cocktail, Pink Flamingo and many more.
  • Coffee – can be served hot or cold, coffee is a good mixer for a variety of drinks like Irish Coffee, French Connection Coffee and Wake the Dead.
  • Tea – you can use either hot or iced tea as a mixer. Most of the drinks you can make include: Blueberry Tea, Cinnamon Apple Shandy, Mistletoe Martini, Royal Wedding Punch and many more.
  • Club Soda and Soda Water – both of them are the basic and most common sodas you can stock up in your bar, needed for drinks such as Vodka Collins and Wine Spritzer.
  • Ginger Ale – Ginger ale works great for lighter mixes, such as Shirley Temple and Highball.
  • Cola – drinks like Colorado Bulldog and Long Island Iced Tea are just some of the many drinks that cola (Pepsi, Coke, etc.) can make out of.

Quicktip: Don’t buy full liters of cola! As soon as you open them they’ll go flat before you finish the bottle. Get cola in cans instead!

Beer taps

Drink Storage:

Should You Store Liquor?

Generally speaking, there is no need to store any liquor in your fridge or freezer because they will do just fine at room temperature.

However, vermouth is an exception to the rule. You only need to freeze drinks when you want to serve them chilled, e.g. for chilled mixes. Also, you might not want to keep an opened bottle of whatever alcohol for more than 8 months or it could evaporate.

How Long Does Alcohol Last Once Opened?

  • Beer – lasts for more than 4 days or so, but will have different taste and also depends on the alcohol content.
  • Whisky – approximately 1-2 years, more if it’s stored in a dark, cold temperature.
  • Wine – it depends upon the brand and the alcohol content, but it’s still safe to drink, only tasting a little different when it’s been exposed to air for a longer time.
  • Rum – can last for a long time, but may also decrease in taste quality.

Is Keg Beer Cheaper Than Canned Beer?

Most people would think buying keg beer is better than canned beer because it gives more of the taste. Also, most people would think they could save more with bulk buying.

However, that is not always the case. If you compute it, canned beer is a lot cheaper than keg beer due to the materials used. Keg beer also requires you to return the keg, compared to canned beer, which you could either throw away or recycle it.

How Long Does A Keg Last?

A beer keg could last somewhere between 2 to 6 months before it tastes nasty.

It also depends on the beer type: pasteurized beer will last significantly longer than unpasteurized beer.

There are various ways to make a keg last longer. It’s recommended to pump in co2. Just don’t fall into the mistake of using a hand pump to make a keg last longer. While it might seem like a good idea, the hand pump would oxygenate the beer.


Final Notes

Stocking a home bar may be a hassle and expensive but it will definitely reward your guests and yourself for any social gathering in your house.

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