homebar cabinet with bottles gift glassware and barware

How to create an impressive home bar in 4 easy steps

All the essential ingredients you need to craft the perfect at-home bar setup so you and your guests can mix, shake and stir up everyone’s favorite cocktails.

This content is powered by: VinePairWords by: Katherine Alex Beaven
Photos by
David Chow
homebar cabinet with bottles gift glassware and barware

The only thing better than a well-stocked bar with an incredible ambiance is one that operates from the comfort of your own home. This easy hosting guide will walk you through creating an impressive home bar that can whip up cocktails that look as good as they taste. With our recommendations for staple spirits, as well as barware, glassware and all the extras, you’ll be set for any hosting needs, whether you’re pouring drinks for a party or enjoying one yourself after a long day. 


Stock the essential spirits

Homebar with bottles barware and flowers

To cover all the common cocktail favorites, you’ll need to create a solid collection of light and dark spirits, such as a blanco and a reposado tequila, vodka, gin, a light and a dark rum, an assortment of whiskeys (think a good Scotch whiskey for sipping, a smooth whiskey for mixing and a bourbon) and dry and sweet – sometimes called red – vermouths. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got aromatic bitters and agave on hand. 


This assortment of spirits will give your bar the range it needs to effortlessly pull off the perfect margarita, mai tai, martini and more. Aiming to really impress? Invest in some ultra-premium spirits that hold their own enough to be sipped neat — and don’t forget to stock some non-alcoholic spirits, too.  


Grab the requisite glassware

Glassware cabinet home bar whiskey glasses and coupes with bottles

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to glassware, but, fear not, a handful of glasses can vehicle a big selection of drinks. Start with beautiful sets of highball/Collins glasses, rocks glasses, coupes and wine glasses. Most mixed drinks will be in highball or rocks glasses, and neat pours are almost always sipped from rocks glasses. Coupes are classy, multi-purpose glassware that can be used for mixed cocktails served straight up, and for martinis and Champagne. Wine glasses, of course, are vessels for wine, but are also used to serve drinks like spritzes. Nice to have (but not necessary) additions to add over time include traditional “V” martini glasses, Champagne flutes and copper mugs.  

Equip your bar with the necessary bar tools

Take your home bar to the finish line with cocktail accessories, specialty liqueurs and a good selection of sparkling mixers. One of our favorites? Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur is a versatile hit that can be served on the rocks, in coffee and in numerous after-dinner or dessert cocktails. Sparkling mixers are top-line choices for making the perfect gin and tonic or vodka soda. If you’re looking for ways to elevate your bar setup, consider adding a decorative dish for storing and displaying fresh cocktail garnishes, a set of reusable cocktail napkins or flaunting your whiskey in a beautiful glass decanter. Serving drinks with decorative glass cocktail picks and stir sticks, whiskey stones or ice made with fancy ice molds will also do the trick!  

Cocktail glass and picks with table setting

Seek out more inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to display your new home bar, check out the beautiful bar books below for styling suggestions and inspiration. And once you’ve stocked up, the only thing left is to decide what cocktail to make first!

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