Ask Him: Stocking an At-Home Bar

Q: My idea of a cocktail is still Smirnoff Ice. But I want to create a more adult home bar. Especially if I’m entertaining, or inviting a guy over for a drink. What should I have in there? You seem like a good guy to ask.



A: I’m glad that you think I seem like a good guy to ask about something like this, but if for some reason you have the impression that I am some sort of suave, well-dressed gentleman who knows things like what “classy” (see: rich) people should offer in their at-home bars, you should write to Esquire or Details or something.

Because I am not that guy.

I am the guy who is writing this in an Irish bar on a Tuesday night (guess you could say I “work from home”) while consuming copious amounts of whiskey and beer. And to be perfectly honest with you, my lifestyle (see: lack of disposable income) necessitates that I purchase only the liquor I “need” to get where I’m trying to go (see: hammered drunk, usually). So my at-home bar usually consists of either half-gallon handles of Johnnie Walker Red Label scotch, or big bottles of Yellow Tail red wine, with a random selection of cheapish beer in the refrigerator.

But I love alcohol more than I love most things, I drink it often, and am somewhat versed in what dudes are going to want to drink. Plus the bartender here is pretty cool, so I’ll ask him for some input if/when I get caught up.

First thing’s first, lady: Smirnoff Ice is technically a malt beverage, not a cocktail. And it is disgusting. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep some in your fridge for when dudes come over, because if you catch the right guy he would think it was hilarious and amazing if you were to randomly “Ice” him four years after Icing gained subtle notoriety in certain binge drinking circles.*

The first thing you’re going to want to address when building out your own personal home bar is variety. Your “goal” should be that whenever you have somebody over and offer them a drink, you can ask them what they would like and accommodate the drink they name off the top of their head, within reason. By within reason, I mean a gin and tonic, not a Kir Royale or some obscure drink like that. People who drink those things are pretentious to begin with—the ones who request one at a person’s home are downright douchey. You shouldn’t be expected to accommodate something like that.

Keep some regular weight beer and some light beer in your fridge. The amount you keep at a given time should, of course, depend on the amount of company you’re expecting to have around. Dudes will be impressed when they’re like “Oh, I’ll have a beer” and you rattle off a few choices instead of twirling your hair and saying “Ummmmm well I have Mich Ultra! It comes in those cans that look like Red Bull! It’s fun!”

Keep some white wine in the fridge and some red wine outside of it. You know, for the ladies. And for the dudes who want to seem like they are more sophisticated than they really are. These guys will often sit cross-legged and, as the night progresses, become the first person in your life you can honestly say has come off as “petulant” in your presence.

Also, keep a bottle of champagne on hand at all times. You never know when you’re going to need to celebrate a momentous occasion, like your getting laid and the dude sticking around for an all-you-can-drink mimosa brunch followed by more drunken sex the morning after, or your best friend telling you she is pregnant. (It’s extra important to have champagne around in case of this scenario, so you can saber it open and start guzzling, taking breaks intermittently to remind her that she can’t drink champagne or any other alcoholic beverage FOR NINE WHOLE MONTHS, while trying to convince her that she should make her husband lay off the sauce during her pregnancy, too.)

ON TO LIQUOR. If you’d like to refer to your bar as “fully stocked,” you’ll want to have a bottle each of the following:

  • Bourbon
  • Scotch
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • White Rum
  • Spiced Rum
  • Tequila
  • Crème de Menthe (yeah, laugh it up—try dropping a shot of this into a Coke when you’re severely hung over, and you’ll know why I’m including this)

You’ll need mixers, such as:

  • Club Soda
  • Cola
  • Ginger Ale
  • Tonic Water
  • Lime Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Orange Juice (extra OJ if you think you might bring home a dude who will potentially stick around for brunch)
  • Vermouth
  • Olive Juice

(I apologize if it seems like a lot. You asked for an adult bar, and that’s what I’m trying to envision. If it were up to me I’d say you and I just get a Hot n’ Ready,

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