By far my favourite line of all time was found on a piece of cross-stitched cloth:

Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

Ever since, it’s been the house rule for all the parties we’ve had at home (so if you receive an invite to our humble abode, do the right thing and bring a bottle). So let’s start with the basics on how to stock a bar before we move on to fun things like how to be your very own mixologist.

With these ingredients (and some practice) it’s likely that you’ll be able to whip up most of the items on a restaurant drink list, what you need are some stellar recipes, which you’ll be able to find over here.

Some personal favourites on the roster at home include gimlets, martinis that involve all kinds of fruit (lychee and watermelon being the household favourites), the old fashioned (this recipe is a jazzed up version that involves two of my favourite things living in sin – bacon bourbon), mint-lime cucumber coolers, and our very own punch drunk lemonade (i.e. recipe for disaster, if you’re interested do email). As you can see, they’re all relatively easy to make if you’ve got a decently stocked bar.

It’s also a good idea to keep some reds and whites at home, a couple of 6packs (for that impromptu bbq), and a bottle of bubbly in the event of a surprise celebration of sorts.

There’s no point having a well-stocked bar and brilliant cocktails if you’ve got nothing to serve them in, so you’ll want to have the right glassware – wine glasses (unless you’re drinking an expensive red, the size won’t matter too much), champagne flutes and glass tumblers (though I recommend having some cheap plastic stuff from IKEA if your friends are anything like mine), a 32 ounce cocktail shaker, a large icebucket that fits at least 2-3 bottles (either for serving ice or cooling wines), and a stash of plastic cups for impromptu bbqs.

And that, my dear friends, brings me to the end of how to stock a home bar.

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.

– Dorothy Parker

*For those of you who are super into making lists, Martha’s got one all ready for you! Click here to check out Martha’s printable checklist on how to stock a bar.
**Yes, my moleskin is filled with lots of completely useless things like these.
***And I’m well aware of the fact that I have the handwriting of an 8 year old.