How-toBeginning Your At-Home Bar

March 31, 2020by Sarah O'Neill0

In these times of uncertainty, you may or may not be like a few of us that are a little disappointed about never getting around to stocking that home bar and not loving your selection of beverages in the house.

No time like the present though to at least start planning your home bar – and we’re here to help. We asked a few of our friends and partners their thoughts on stocking your personal bar to share with you!

Start with the Basics:

Start with one of every spirit – whisky, gin, vodka, rum, tequila etc. – and spend the most money on your favourite one. Whether you’re making sure to have a vast selection, or simply buying higher quality items. Your favourites are the ones you’re going to be drinking the most (obviously) so start with these first.

Build on:


If you’re a straight whisky and ginger drinker, you may not often think about a liqueur. However, if you want a well-rounded at-home selection for future guests – a couple of popular liqueurs is a must. Amaretto, Cointreau, Sambuca and Kahlua are popular features in classic cocktails, and delicious enough to be sipped on their own if you’re not feeling up to flexing your bartending skills.


We in North America have a very different relationship with Aperitifs when compare to Europeans. However, if you’re planning on making some classic cocktails, you should think about having a few on hand. We suggest a sweet and dry vermouth, sherry, and a personal favourite of mine, Pimm’s. Like the liqueurs these are all very tasty on the rocks.


Some may consider this a mix, but not many will disagree that a home bar isn’t complete without it! This crucial addition is perfect to complete Moscow mules, old-fashions, and Manhattans – to name a few.

Finishing Touches:


When it comes to mixes, similar to how you’re stocking your spirits, start with your favourites. If you’re a G+T drinker, stock up on tonic and the best way to make sure your tonic (or other carbonated beverages) keep is to buy it in cans. After your favourites, this may be a section that you stock based on any events you’re hosting, or knowing what you can or cannot keep the item for long periods.


If you are not a regular lime or lemon garnish user, do not try and keep these stocked – it would end up being a huge waste of money and fruit. Stick to garnishes that are not only utilized on multiple cocktails, think olives where they can be added into martinis and Caesars, but that will last in the cupboard or fridge, such as horseradish, tabasco, cocktail onions, salt and pepper.

Finally, take your time. You don’t need everything all at once, and even taking one or two things from each category, will give you lots to show-off at your next happy hour!

Be sure to tag @whiskyquarterlyontario on Facebook and Instagram so we can follow along with your at-home bar progress!

Sarah O'Neill

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