How To Update Your Home Bar-Part I

You want these. You NEED these.


Your home bar is your temple, your place to really show off what you know about...bars. To help show all of your future party guests just how knowledgeable you are when it comes to running your own bar, take away some nuggets of knowledge from my two part series: How To Update Your Home Bar. Here's part one - Update your spirits!

For part one of this two part series, we will take a look at the meat of the home bar, the booze.

A bar isn’t a bar without a solid supply of alcohol. Still, you do not need to go full throttle with the amount of alcohol that you keep in your home. Having 12 types of vodka, 12 types of tequila and 12 types of whiskey may seem like it is necessary, but in reality, it is not. Keep things simple. Your favorite two or three bottles of each spirit that you consume most is all you need.

Photo courtesy of shutterstock images
With that being said, the different spirits that you do choose to keep in your home bar are a crucial part of making this your spirit-ual happy place. When it comes to spirits, there are two branches of bottles. First are the major types that we all know and consume the most. These are the ones to focus on the most heavily: Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila and Whiskey. After updating these bottles, you can move onto the “specialty” spirits. With that, consider upgrading your current liquor supply with these suggestions!


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  • Snooth User: Sheipat
    261550 2

    Great article - is there a way to print the whole article without all the ads, etc.?

    Aug 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

  • the short pages on really kill the motivation to read the entire article. a 'whole page' link would be great

    Aug 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

  • Snooth User: Sara Kay
    Hand of Snooth
    1073521 1,420

    Ask, and you shall receive :) PDF version of the article is now available to print out! Thanks for the love, and be sure to send your suggestions updating your home bar our way!

    Aug 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

  • Sara, thanks for including our AZBL bitters along with some of our other bitter making friends.

    Aug 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM

  • Snooth User: leffing
    329629 57

    Probably most readers of this blog know this already, but for novices, there are two basic divides in the tequila and rum category: for mixing and for drinking straight. A rum to drink straight (or with a single ice cube and/or splash of water or soda) is Trigo, a blend of Puerto Rican artesanal rums. Great, in an impressive-looking bottle, at a moderate price (!$25 here where it's made, likely more on the mainland).

    Aug 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM

  • Thanks for the PDF download-- much appreciated!

    Aug 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM

  • Snooth User: Kmoloo
    726510 14

    I am a firm believer that every home bar should have the capacity to make a great old fashioned. So get sugar cubes, maraschino cherries, oranges, and angostura/peyschaud's bitters with a muddle and a peeler. Reference Ryan gosling in "crazy, stupid, love"

    Aug 14, 2012 at 4:24 PM

  • Snooth User: Qorki
    123171 7

    Of six liqueurs, three have the word "honey" in them. Missing are important categories like triple sec or any berry flavor. And the tequilas don't seem very well known or representative either. The exotic bitters in the list would have no other supporting alcohols to pair with them- and the one universal bitter, Angostura, is not even mentioned.

    I must have a few hundred unique bottles and still can't make half the drinks featured in modern New York bar recipe books. It never ends.

    Aug 14, 2012 at 6:52 PM

  • Snooth User: rnorth
    814485 4

    triple sec a must

    Aug 14, 2012 at 8:31 PM

  • This article pretty much misses the point.
    You first of all have to determine the direction (style - cocktail vs. easy mixtures like highballs), your budget, even your time.

    For vodka - you really need only one. It is neutral! Flavored vodkas, you can do yourself. No need to b stress your budget - for me Russian Standard works best: it is a very modern and neutral vodka, yet comes from motherland Russia...

    No triple sec curaçao, but Cointreau should be in the portfolio - definitely before any St. Germain [for most recipes a good elderflower syrup words as good as]. Mocha, Whiskey Honey, Caramel-Apple Liqueur? I don't want to hurt your feeling, but it is totally crap! C'mon you can add honey into your whiskey yourself [and don't bother to put artificial and natural identical aromas for apple and caramel into bad vodka...

    But what is about decent vermouths - at least French dry [Noilly Prat] and sweet Italian [Martini rosso works ok]?

    I also disagree with the whiskey and rum portfolio - drop vodka and tequila [if you are not devoted to latter] but have at least one good Straight Bourbon [e.g. Elijah Craig 12 years old] AND one Scotch [Glenfiddich 15 years or Glenmorangie the Original would be single malts which are great] - an Irish pure pot still whiskey would also not hurt [Red Breast 12 years old]; for the rum, you definitely need a light rum [Matusalem Platinum or even better Flor de Cana 4 years extra dry], a dark rum [Cruzan black strap or Gosling black seal] and an aged rum [Bacardi 8 years, or something much more expensive and better like Ron Zacapa].

    All these products have an unique character and actually could be seen as individual spirits with individual applications...

    Aug 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM

  • Snooth User: gmueller
    163706 6

    Good article but I disagree about the vodka. Vodka is distilled to 190 proof and then just diluted down the a more drinkable state. So only 5% of the beverage is providing any flavor. High end premium vodka is over-rated.

    Now if we could get information on the water added we'd be better informed. Source, chemical makeup etc would help us to understand the "tastes' we're experiencing.

    That being said, a good charcoal filter will work wonders on discount vodka to clear the impurities mostly from the water.

    just my 2 cents

    Apr 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM

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