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How to Stock the Bar

Updated on September 18, 2014

What Do You Need to Stock the Bar?

So you're having a party and want to get enough of everything to make various adult cocktails.

A quick look at all of the basic liquors needed to make a variety of drinks. Former bartender here, and here is what you'll need.

The White Liquors

We always called these the white liquors, although they are actually clear.

Vodka, Rum and Gin




Vodka, vodka, vodka. Some say you can never have enough of this potato based alcohol.

Vodka is one of the most widely used of all alcohols. Can we say dirty martini, martini with a twist, screw driver, bloody mary, vodka cranberry, vodka grapefruit, oh you get the idea.

Some people favor the flavored vodkas. But you're getting into a biger expense and some heavy decision making with all the pepper, citron, blueberry - oh I could go on and on.

Rum an Coke



Yes, rum is considered a white liquor, although the dark spiced rums are a favorite of many who imbibe.

With clear white rum think rum and coke. But it's your party, you can spice it up with the dark stuff. You can, you really can.

Gin and Tonic



Gin giblet? Gin Martini?

Gin causes an extreme pucker of the mouth, so maybe this is why gin has been AWOL at many occasions.

But it is one of the whites to consider if you want a FULL bar.

Darken it up baby

Dark alcohol isn't necessarily any stronger than the clear liquors, but it seems so much more manly. Manly men who wear hats and read the newspaper drink whiskey.

Did I mention my uncle was named Jack Daniel? Grandma said that Grandpa insisted on his name. She just giggled and said, "I didn't know it was a whiskey!"

Bourbon and Scotch

Men that wear hats drink whiskey


Jack Daniel's 6-Ounce Flask/Shots/Funnel Gift Set


Be careful here. Bourbon drinkers will leave early if you don't stock it.

Oh, and don't skip on the cheap stuff, it will show.


Now my experience with scotch drinkers is that they are a breed unto their own. Always good if you know what brand a particular guest favors

And for the love of all things sacred, please don't purchase a flavored scotch - someone somewhere is rolling in their grave!


Tequila has been known to be the bad boy of all the liquors. Ever have a party and suddenly there was a secondary party in the corner, - and then - oh gulp, that party eloped to another location? Tequila was to blame, trust me.

Unless you plan on pulling out the blender for some fabuloso margarita's, simple shot glasses and salt will do.

Oh I know it's not dark, but it's not white either. Think shady. Bad tequila, bad.

Tequila shots


Mix it up

You don't need a whole lot of mixers to make this party dope. Some juices; OJ for the screws and tomato with spices to make a bloody for the vodka drinkers.

Personal taste can come into play if you know your BFF loves grapefruit and/or cranberry splashes.

Squeeze some lemon or lime juice and add sugar to the tequila for an original margarita.

Depending on what part of the country you're from, get your pop or your soda. Club soda, Coca Cola and Tonic water work for the rum, gin and whiskeys.

How to make the actual drink

  1. Fill the glass to the brim with ice.
  2. Always pour the liquor first, just to where it becomes level with the ice as it settles.
  3. Top it with the mixer and you're set.
  4. You can use a jigger if you want, but I wouldn't suggest it.

Cook Time

Yields: That really depends on your guests!

What are you drinking?

As a mentor of mine once told me, "Anyone can make a drink. More importantly, make your guests feel comfortable."

Make sure your guest feel welcome as soon as they walk in the door,

"Condor, this is Brenton and Autumn. Autumn is in publishing and just moved her office to the East side. What are you drinking" (Then get them the drink.)


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