Living Well At Home

How to Stock Your Bar Cabinet

Bar cabinets are stylish, versatile investments that provide much-needed storage space for wine enthusiasts and spirits aficionados – as well as those who love to host. They’re right at home in dining and living areas, offering convenient access to everything needed to pop a cork or raise a toast. But to get the most out of your cabinet, you’ll need to stock it properly. Here are a few ideas for what to keep in your bar cabinet so you can enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail anytime.

Essential Spirits

Choosing the right selection of wines and spirits for a home bar can be daunting. Should you buy what you know or branch out? What will guests want to savor most? Fortunately, there are a few staples that every host or hostess should have in their bar cabinet to make these decisions easier.

To ensure you’re ready to whip up classic cocktails and new creations at a moment’s notice, stock your bar cabinet with:

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Bourbon
  • Scotch
  • Cognac

These staples ensure you can make a wide array of mixed drinks, from a simple gin and tonic to a citrusy margarita. As you expand your collection, consider adding liqueurs to mix things up, including orange, amaretto, vermouth, or Irish cream. A bar cabinet with refrigerated storage (like the one shown at the start of this blog, or the one shown below) can be the perfect spot to store some of those liqueurs, and mixers as well.

A wood bar cabinet with open upper glass shelves and lower cabinet in a stylish room with a wood built-in

Curating a Wine Collection

It goes without saying that your wine cabinet should be home to your favorite styles and vintages. From light and bright Gewürztraminer to bold and juicy Pinot Noir, this stylish yet functional storage solution will bring order to your collection of bottles – no matter where your palette falls on the flavor spectrum. Yet you’ll still want to keep a few bottles on hand for entertaining and everyday sipping. Consider a selection of the following:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: According to the experts at Wine Folly, this is the most popular wine in the world, and with good reason. It’s a dry, full-bodied red that pairs well with many foods, making it great for dinner parties.
  • Chardonnay: This dry white pairs well with the soft cheese on your charcuterie board, making it a must-have for hostesses.
  • Pinot Noir: A versatile red with a light body, you’ll be glad to have a bottle on hand at every gathering.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: This fruity white wine is easy to drink and perfect for summertime cookouts.

Keep in mind, however, that the most important thing is choosing spirits and wines you love! Whether you adore a refreshing rosé in the summer or prefer the sweetest dessert wines, all that matters is creating a bar cabinet you enjoy. When establishing your setup, look for a bar cabinet, or even a kitchen hutch, with dedicated wine storage (shown below) to keep your favorites close at hand and easily accessible. That way your favorites are close at hand, without taking up extra space.

A white kitchen hutch with wine bottle storage next to a sliding barn door that leads to a stylish dining room

Invest in Mixers

While you may enjoy spirits neat or prefer a simple glass of wine, there’s lots of fun to be had in crafting more ambitious cocktails. At the same time, anyone who’s enjoyed a mimosa at brunch knows that mixed wine drinks can be delightful. In addition to wine and spirits, you’ll also want to stock up on:

  • Club soda
  • Cola, lemon-lime soda, and ginger ale
  • Fruit juices, especially orange, grapefruit, and cranberry
  • Simple syrup
  • Grenadine
  • Sours mix
  • Bitters

Some of these bar cabinet essentials should be stored in the fridge after opening, so be sure to check labels for storage directions. If you want to go all out, add a few garnishes for your next get-together. Olives, cocktail onions, lemons and limes, hot sauce, and the like all come in handy for crafting the perfect cocktail.

Tools of the Trade

You have everything you need to host a memorable party or enjoy a quiet evening at home – almost. Don’t forget to stock your bar cabinet with a few essential tools that will make enjoying your favorite refreshments effortless. Complete your setup with these tools:

  • Corkscrew
  • Aerator
  • Bottle stopper
  • Foil cutter
  • Ice bucket
  • Bar spoon
  • Muddler
  • Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Jigger

You might be thinking, “That’s a lot to keep on my cabinet!” To keep it all neatly out of sight when not in use, look for a bar cabinet with concealed storage. A smoked glass door hides away stemware and bartender’s tools for a sleek solution. In contrast, exposed wine storage offers a chic look and easy access.

For Guests Who Don’t Imbibe

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a gathering and realizing water is the only beverage available for guests who prefer to skip the alcohol. Fortunately, there are many fun, creative ways to use your bar cabinet as a nonalcoholic drink station. Here are just a few ideas to get started.

Warm Up with Hot Cocoa

Whether it’s a chilly fall night or you’re ringing in the holidays, everyone loves a steaming cup of cocoa. In addition to mugs, offer friends and family marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles to make each cup festive.

If things get messy, you’ll appreciate a bar cabinet with a tempered-glass top that lets you wipe away spills with ease. Inside this option’s mirrored doors with stunning geometric inlays, you’ll find plenty of space for everything you need to create an irresistible beverage station.

A Spa Day with Infused Water

Enjoy spa-like refreshments at home with pitchers of ice-cold water infused with lemons, berries, cucumbers, herbs, and more. Set out sliced fruit, hummus, crackers, and cheese, and you can savor a healthy snack as you relax.

Summertime Smoothie Bar

Bring out the blender and a selection of fruits and add-ins. Everyone will love whipping up healthy creations – you could even hide a little spinach in those fruity concoctions for an extra punch of nutrition!

A mirrored front wine bar cabinet in a room with white, planked walls

More Ways to Enjoy Your Bar Cabinet

With these tips on how to stock your bar cabinet, you’ll always prove to be the hostess with the most – even when the only person you enjoy a glass with is yourself. To stay up-to-date with more bar cabinet ideas and the latest styling tricks, subscribe to the Twin Star Home® email newsletter today.

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