There’s no better place to drink up and have a good time than your own home. To ensure endless fun and ease, it’s important to stock your home bar with essential cocktail ingredients and garnishes.
A well-stocked home bar gives you a great spot to not only entertain friends but practice your bartending and mixology skills.
But where to start? We’ve curated some of the most essential spirits you need for your home bar and the classic cocktails you can make from them. Check them out:
11 Easy And Essential Cocktail For Your Home Bar
- Gin Cocktails
It’s always good to have a bottle of gin at the ready so you can craft these essential gin-based drinks. We recommend a bottle of London dry gin for its versatility.
When the time comes to dip into your gin, try these classic cocktails:
Martinis are one of the most popular and iconic cocktails in the drink world. Admittedly, martinis are also one of the drinks that causes the most arguments. Gin or vodka? Shaken or stirred? Lemon twist or olives? Is it called Martini or Gibson?
A martini is often mistaken for Gibson, and vice versa. While both drinks are prepared the same way with the same ingredients, a classic martini uses green olives as a garnish, while Gibsons use pickled onions.
Build the perfect Martini (or Gibson) with this recipe:
- Grab a mixing glass, add 2½ oz gin, ½ oz dry vermouth, and ice.
- Stir until combined and well-chilled—strain into a cocktail glass.
- If desired, add a dash of bitters.
- Garnish your glass with olives or a lemon twist. For Gibson, replace those garnishes with a cocktail onion. Same ingredients, different taste.
The Negroni is another essential cocktail you can easily make in your home bar. Count Camillo Negroni first invented negronis in the early 20th Century. Check out this recipe and get started:
- Combine 1 oz gin, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and 1 oz Campari into a mixing glass containing ice.
- Stir until the mix is well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass containing large ice cubes
- Garnish with an orange peel.
- Rum Cocktails
Another essential alcohol your home bar needs? Rum. There are two kinds of rum you should stock up on:
- Light rum (often used in popular cocktail mixes)
- Dark rum (used for more complex drinks)
Try your hand at these rum-based cocktail recipes!
This cocktail is a refreshing and sublime mix you can enjoy in any season. It was supposedly invented in 1898 in the town of Daiquiri Jennings Cox. Daiquiri’s feature a delicate balance of lime juice and sugar—and of course, rum. To prepare this delicious treat:
- Get a cocktail shaker filled with ice and add 2 oz light rum, 1 oz fresh lime juice, ½ oz sugar syrup.
- Shake until properly mixed.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
4. Dark and Stormy
This highball cocktail is yet another essential drink that you have in your back pocket. The Dark and Stormy supposedly originated in early 1800s Bermuda by a group of sailors and naval officers.
- Grab a tall glass and fill it with ice cubes.
- Add 2 oz dark rum, 3 oz ginger beer, and ½ oz lime juice. Stir till it is properly mixed.
- You can garnish with a lime wedge.
5. Cuba Libre
Cuba Libre (meaning Free Cuba) is a celebratory drink consisting of rum, cola, and lime juice. This cocktail originated in the early 20th Century after Cuba won independence.
Due to its historical significance, Cuba Libre is a drink for the ages. Check out this recipe to get started:
- Fill a glass with ice.
- Squeeze 2 lime wedges, pour 2-part Coca Cola, 1-part Bacardi Oro into the glass.
- Stir slowly and serve.
- Whiskey Cocktails
Another liquor that should make a grand appearance in your home bar is whiskey. Whiskey comes in many different styles, each with its own distinct flavors and attributes.
So, who says your bar can’t have more than one brand of whiskey? Take your pick from the bunch, including:
Pick your poison (we mean, favorites), and try some of the essential whiskey cocktails below.
Often regarded as a cousin to the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan is a classic cocktail made with sweet vermouth, bitters, and whiskey. Manhattan is said to have originated in the 1870s in the Manhattan Club in New York.
To prepare this drink, try this simple recipe:
- Grab a mixing glass and add ice.
- Pour 1 oz sweet vermouth, 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey, and 2 dashes of bitters into the glass.
- Stir slowly until the mix is chilled.
- Strain the liquid into martini or coupe glass. Try garnishing with a cocktail cherry.
7. Old Fashioned
Don’t let the name fool you. This is a simple and timeless classic whiskey drink developed in the 19th Century. Old Fashioned’s are a unique blend of whiskey, orange peel, and bitters.
Try adding this recipe to your repertoire:
- Grab a chilled rocks glass and add a cube of sugar and 2 dashes of bitters.
- Add a bar spoon of water and muddle the sugar.
- Add 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey and stir
- Pour a couple of ice cubes and stir for 30 seconds. Add an orange twist on the side of the cube
The invention of the Boulevardier can be directly tied to Erskine Gwynne—an American writer who founded a monthly magazine called Boulevardier that appeared in the 1920s.
Boulevardier is quite similar to the Negroni. The only difference is while the Negroni is made with gin, Boulevardiers are made with bourbon or rye whiskey. To make this drink:
- Pour 1 oz rye or bourbon whiskey, 1 oz Campari, and 1 oz sweet vermouth into a mixing glass filled with ice.
- Stir for 20 seconds and strain the mix into a chilled cocktail glass.
- You can garnish it with a twist of orange peel or cherry.
- Vodka Cocktails
No bar is ever complete without our friend, vodka. Extremely versatile, this reliable liquor can be mixed into a host of cocktails.
Check out some of the essential cocktails you should learn to make with vodka here.
9. Bloody Mary
A Bloody Mary is a classic cocktail made from a mix of tomato juice, vodka, and several other spices—making for a satisfying treat.
You can never go wrong with a Bloody Mary, especially at brunch. To prepare our classic Bloody Mary recipe:
- Rim your glass with lime and Demitri’s RimShot Rim Salt.
- Combine Bloody Mary seasoning, 6-8 oz. of tomato juice, 1-2 oz. of vodka, and ice into a shaker.
- Shake and strain into a glass. Garnish with celery, bacon, or any of your favorite garnishes!
- Tequila Cocktails
During the summer months, Tequila is a fan favorite. (It’s our favorite year-round, too!)
It’s essential to have a good bottle of Tequila at your home bar. The tequila market is broad—so look for a brand that is smooth and refined.
Some of the cocktails you can make with tequilas include:
Another classic and essential cocktail to perfect is the Margarita. Served frozen or on the rocks, Margaritas are extremely versatile and can include a variety of flavors.
Try this simple margarita recipe to get started:
- Combine 2 oz tequila, ½ oz Demitri’s margarita mix, and ½ oz agave syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into an ice-filled glass.
- Garnish with lime and a salt rimmer.
Paloma (Spanish for dove) is an essential tequila mix to entertain guests. Palomas consist of flavors like lime, agave, and grapefruit—making for the perfect sweet and sour creation!
To fix this drink, try this recipe:
- Salt the rim of your glass with grapefruit and a salt rimmer.
- Mix 2 oz tequila, 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice, 2 oz sparkling water, ½ oz of lime juice, and ¼ oz agave nectar into the glass.
- Fill the glass with ice and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
Setting up your home bar isn’t an easy thing to do, especially if you’re not sure where to start. With these curated tips, you can stock up and personalize your bar with all of the essentials.