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