There are hundreds of beers, wines, and spirits out there, but what you stock for booze is a matter of personal preference. Keep just a few basics on hand so that you're always ready to party.
The 15-Minute Party Planner recommends:
- A few bottles of white wine
Chardonnay is the most popular white and Gewürztraminer is an pleasingly aromatic white and something your guests may not have tried before.
- A few bottles of red wine
Merlot and Cabernet are red wines that are likely to please any guest.
Combine gin with dry vermouth and you're on your way to a basic martini!
Vodka mixes with practically everything. Try a flavored variety for a little pizazz.
Nothing says summer like a margarita, and nothing says margarita like tequila.
This is a matter of personal preference, but keeping two different kinds of beer on hand will keep you party-ready (and you can always use a bottle or two to dress up recipes).
Keep a few of these on hand to mix up cocktails in no time.
- A citrus soda (like Sprite)
- Fruit juices (try orange or cranberry)
It's easy to keep simple food and non-food items in your cupboards and refrigerator to garnish drinks. A little garnish turns a simple drink into a fancy cocktail. For food items try cherries, lemon slices, lime wedges, mint, olives, orange slices, etc. Non-food items you should stock include swizzle sticks, drink umbrellas, and sword picks.
You've got the liquids and garnish out of the way, but what about the tools? If you have an official bar area at home, feel free to go fancy. Otherwise, you can certainly keep the basics in a simple container.
- Book of cocktail recipes
Mr. Boston's Official Bartender's Guide is a classic, and The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes is another popular book. If you're getting ready for a party, flip through your guide in advance to choose a signature cocktail, then pick up any necessary supplies before the party.
- Bottle opener
This tool is used for measuring liquor and is small enough to be stuffed in a drawer.
- Mixing glass
Try one with measured lines and/or easy drink recipes, like this one.
Having the appropriate glasses and bar paraphernalia will set you up to look classy. Try having a variety of the following items on hand:
The 15-Minute Party Planner loves these, since they make a great conversation piece!
- Cocktail napkins
Keep a few different kinds on hand from classy to quirky to themed.
- Highball glasses
You'll use highball glasses for most cocktails.
- Martini glasses
Martini glasses also make cute dessert dishes!
- Old-fashioned glasses
These short, wide glasses are meant to hold any drinks ordered "on the rocks".
- Wine glasses
There are differently-shaped glasses for different kinds of wine, but something like these are multi-purpose.