Whether your space is pint-size or prodigious, you’ll need a designated spot for the bar. It could be a glamorous rolling cart dedicated exclusively to drinks, a shelf in a bookcase, or an elegant tray on the counter.
Your home bar doesn’t have to be as extensive as a professional one – think about what you’re most likely to serve, and stock those ingredients for starters. For most basic set-ups, vodka, gin, and whiskey will do fine; add vermouth for martinis, tequila for margaritas, and rum for tropical drinks. If you’re looking to branch out, lay in liqueurs that mix well with club soda, like St. Germain (elderflower) or Campari (bitter orange), or that require nothing more than ice, like Bailey’s Irish Cream (coffee) or Amaretto (almond).
Every bar should have a corkscrew, bottle opener, and glasses; a cocktail shaker and ice bucket are also standard equipment. A breadboard for slicing lemons and limes, a juicer for freshly squeezed mix-ins, and a decanter for aerating wines and ports.
Keep a couple of recipe books on hand for when you need to double check measurements for an old standby, or want to mix up something special.