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Welcome to Stocking Your Home Bar

Here you will discover what spirits, liqueurs and other ingredients you need to stock your home bar.

Stocking your home bar can be intimidating because there are literally thousand of different spirits, liqueurs and mixers available. Nobody can be expected to stock everything, but there are a number of basic ingredients you should get when stocking your (home) bar.

As you become more experienced, you will form a better idea how much of what items you need when stocking you home bar, given your own likes and that of your guests or clients. Reading through our Cocktail and Shooter Recipe Guides will also give you good guidance.

Before we go further: The one absolutely essential cannot-do-without item is ICE. The more the better, particularly if the weather is hot. Few things dampen a party’s spirit like running out of ice. If you have a house party, let each of your guests bring a bag of ice or two along. If you do make your own ice, be sure to use purified water as this will prevent the ice disrupting the drink's taste with impurities.

In the cocktail recipes we make reference to crushed ice. If you do not have an ice machine or ice crusher, you can easily make it by applying a hamer to a bag of ice cubes (but be careful not to hurt yourself or others).

Bar stock can be grouped as follows:

1. The spirits and liquors
2. Mixers
3. Fruit, garnishes and spices

(these are ordered alphabetically below and in no particular order of importance although those with an * are essential)


These are available at any reputable liqueur store. Ask the owner or manager to help you if you cannot find something.

Ø Bitters
Ø Bourbon
Ø Brandy* or cognac
Ø Dry white wine (a dry blend or Sauvignon Blanc will do)
Ø Dry red wine (a blended red will do)
Ø Gin*
Ø Rum*, light and dark
Ø Sparkling wine or champagne (dry)
Ø Tequila
Ø Triple Sec
Ø Vermouth (dry and sweet)
Ø Vodka*
Ø Whisky* (scotch)
Ø Your own choice of liquours, which might include cream, coffee and peppermint liquour as these are frequently used in cocktails and shooters. See our Cocktail Ingredients Guides for more on liqueurs, spirits and cordials.


It’s wise to buy your mixers at a liquor store, as they tend to have a wider variety than convenience stores. You might have to shop around sometimes to find what you need.

Ø Angostura bitters
Ø Cola
Ø Fruit juices (orange, lime, strawberry, pineapple)
Ø Ginger Ale
Ø Grenadine
Ø Lemonade
Ø Mineral water
Ø Soda water (club soda)
Ø Tonic Water
Ø Tomato juice


Ø Cocktail cherries
Ø Cocktail onions
Ø Lemons
Ø Limes
Ø Nutmeg
Ø Olives (green and black)
Ø Oranges
Ø Pepper
Ø Salt
Ø Sugar
Ø Sugar syrup (this can quite easily be made by dissolving 1 part sugar in 2 parts boiling water and letting it cool.)
Ø Sour syrup
Ø Tabasco sauce
Ø Worcestershire sauce

Keep some plastic stirres and straws handy. These can be used as decoration and drinkers sometimes prefer them in their drinks.

And don't forget the ice!

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