I don't know about you, but since this terrible economy hit I've been doing a lot more hosting at home. In an attempt to keep my budget in check, but still have a good time with friends at a time when it's easy to get down in the dumps, I've opened my door to guests much more often than ever before.
While bigger celebrations like holiday parties or birthdays require more planning and supplies, casual dinner parties or cocktail parties at my place only need a few things to be declared a success: good food, good company and good drinks!
Since I'm sure you've got the first two covered - you checked out our recipe pages, right? and you've got a great gang to shell invitations out to? - you may need to brush up a bit on your bar.
At home bars in the simplest form (read: liquor cabinet) have been around forever, but if you plan on entertaining at home regularly there are a few considerations you'll want to take into account. Not only will this keep your own costs down since you won't have to buy a complete set up each time you host, it'll also keep hosting duties simple.
There are no hard and fast rules for your home bar, but we find that it's always best to have these basic supplies/ingredients on hand to mix up the most common cockails:
At Home Bar Equipment
Blender, bottle opener, corkscrew, cocktail shaker, jigger, strainer, coasters, cocktail napkins, drink stirrers, ice bucket, paring knife (for garnishes) and small cutting board.
Consider stocking up on glasses, too. We have the basics for our favorite drinks -- white and red wine glasses, pilsner glasses for beer, margarita glasses, martini glasses, small and large tumblers, and of course, shot glasses!
At Home Bar Ingredients
We recommend stocking up on all of the below if possible so you're prepared for any cocktail request, but keeping budget in mind, just be sure to have on hand the ingredients for the cocktails your guest most often request.
beer (a light and a dark option)
Flavored Liquer (orange, peach or coffee are popular choices)
At Home Bar Mixers
Have club soda, fruit juice, soda, tomato juice and tonic water on hand.
At Home Bar Garnishes
Bitters, citrus (lemons, limes, oranges), coarse salt (margaritas), cream of coconut, hot sauce, cherries, olives, simple syrup and of course, ice! Depending on what you and friends enjoy this list will vary.
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