Stocking Your Home Bar for your First Cocktail Party

I get asked this question often and most often by a panicked follower.

"I am having a small group over for cocktails, what do I need?"

Relax the answer is much simpler than you think. I will make an assumption that you have some types of glasses so I will not elaborate in this post on that topic. (look back at older posts and look forward to future posts)

The Spirits

Start with these four basic Spirits.

White Rum

I would recommend going with a mid price on all four unless you are like me and have favorites in each category already.

For example
Whiskey - Four Roses Bourbon or Jack Daniels
Gin - Burnett's or New Amsterdam
Rum - Bacardi Superior
Vodka - Burnett's or Absolut

You will be surprised how many Cocktails you can make with these four basic Spirits.


I always recommend getting a Soda Stream, however if you do not plan on having that many get gatherings and would not use a lot of mixers otherwise here are some tips. Also I recommend getting smaller containers as opposed to the liter and two liter sizes. This will keep the mixers fresher as you will undoubtedly have leftovers.

Cola (diet and/or regular)
Lemon Lime Soda
Tonic (I like the diets ones here)
Club Soda
Cranberry Juice (again I like the diet variety)
OJ and Tomato Juice (kind of optional)

Lemons, Oranges, and Limes (keep these at room temp as  you will get about 30% more juice from each)

Also do yourself a favor and pick up a small bottle of Angostura Bitters, it will last forever and you will be surprised how many cocktails you can use it in.

One last thing pick up lots and lots of ice. I like to bag some each time my ice maker is full for emergencies.

That should get you started and be sure to keep following @mysideofthebar on Twitter for more information on this and other great topics.

The Professor


  1. I will keep your tips in mind and these are worth considering for any cocktail party. Next week I am going to have a party at event space NYC and your tips are going to help me a lot.


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