Stocking A Home Bar On A Budget

Stocking a home bar on a budget can be a challenge. You want to have a wide variety to cater to your guests desires but doing so without some research would break the bank. Even with a decent amount of research it can be a challenge! We’ll run down some great bottles at great values to help you get the most out of your home bar. We’ll also cover mixers and other essentials to ensure you have all of your bases covered.

Begin With What You Know And Love

Ideally you’d run out and stock up on every type of alcohol there is and have something for all your friends. That’s not realistic for most people so starting in your wheelhouse and branching out from there is the safest way to go.

Keep Extras Of Your Favorites

Always have a backup bottle of your favorites. You’ll drain your go to bottles more quickly than you expect and you don’t want to be short when your special guest requests a drink they know you are fond of and would likely have.

Reasonably Priced Alcohol By Type

You get what you pay for isn’t always true. There are plenty of real gems available for very reasonable prices. As you begin to expand your stash of quality bottles you’ll want to focus on the best bang for the buck. We’ve compiled a great list of quality drinks by type to point you in the right direction:




Four Roses Yellow Label


Isle of Skye


Paul Masson VSOP Grande Amber





Cruzan Estate Diamond



Orange Liqueur

Grand Marnier


Dolin Blanc

Bitter Liqueur


What Mixers Should You Have For A Bar?

Having a good variety of mixers is essential to any proper home bar. The following is a lest of the bare necessities to cover most situations:


Ginger ale

Club soda

Sparkling water

Tonic water

Cranberry juice

Orange juice

Angostura bitters

What are the most popular cocktails?

Margaritas are the most popular cocktail in America according to The runner up was the Manhattan. Third place was awarded to the Daiquiri.

What are the most popular liquors?

Tequila comes in first place as America’s most popular liquor. Second place was awarded to flavored vodka. Third place was a tie between regular vodka and light rum.

What are the most essential cocktail tools to have?

Having a good variety of mixers is essential to any proper home bar. The following is a lest of the bare necessities to cover most situations:




Bar Spoon


Speed Pourer

Ice Tools


Soda Siphon


Measuring Cups/Spoons

Cocktail Straws

What is a bar spoon?

A bar spoon is a long handled spoon that is used for mixing drinks. The long handle allows for mixing drinks in tall glasses. The measurement of volume a proper bar spoon can hold is one teaspoon.

What is a jigger?

A jigger is a unit of volume equal to one and a half ounces. This is also the name given to a measuring cup used in bars. A set of jiggers that a bartender may typically have would measure off 1.5 ounces, 1 ounce, 3/4 ounce, and 1/2 ounce. The purpose of the jiggers is to be able to consistently make drinks each and every time you make it.

What is a muddler?

Essentially, a muddler is a pestle used for extracting the essence from ingredients in certain alcoholic beverages. Ingredients such as strawberries would be crushed with the muddler to extract the flavor from the strawberries so it could be added to the drink. It’s important to note that, like stated above, a muddler is meant to extract the essence of flavor from the ingredients and not simply mash or smash them. The idea is to gently work the ingredients to allow the flavor to escape without over working it.

What is a speed pourer?

A speed pourer is a spout that is attached to liquor bottles to allow the liquor to flow more quickly, smoothly, and in a more concentrated flow. This helps bartenders avoid spilling and wasting alcohol. Without a speed pourer, the bottle would give the typical “glug glug” sound of liquor attempting to exit the bottle at the same time as air trying to enter the bottle and make the flow very inconsistent. The speed pourer allows for both liquor to exit and air to enter at the same time.

How many ounces are in a standard shot glass?

In the United States, a single shot equals 1.5 ounces which is the same as a jigger. A small shot is 1 ounce and a double is 3 ounces. Other countries vary somewhat in what is considered the volume of a shot.

How many ounces are in a fifth?

A fifth refers to a fifth of a gallon. This tends to be measured universally as 750ml which is approximately one fifth. Since this is a metric measurement this doesn’t exactly line up with American Standard measurements. Typically there are approximately 25 ounces in a fifth of liquor, just shy of 17 single shots.

Wrapping Up:

How to stock your bar cheaply

Finding the right liquors for stocking a home bar on a budget is a challenge but this guide lays out a great array of liquors at a very good value. You can certainly spend more money but these should be ideal for someone starting out. We don’t necessarily recommend buying all of these at once but if you have the funds to do so you may want to go that route. A better option would be to build your bar more slowly. You can ask your friends what they like prior to inviting them over. you may find some real budget gems from them and it wouldn’t hurt to have their personal favorites on hand.

Of course liquors are just a part of the picture. Having the proper tools and a robust set of mixers rounds out your home bar. Hopefully this post answers your questions thoroughly and helps get you well established with a broad array of liquors, mixers, and tools.

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