There’s only so much room in the average home bar, and you likely won’t have room for all your favorites. Hard choices need to be made. While it may not be possible to keep a full range of cocktail ingredients on hand at all times, those who enjoy entertaining should always have a few staples ready to go.
Cold and refreshing, beer is a perpetual crowd pleaser that should always be in stock. Whether an ale, a lager, an IPA, or even a home brew, there are hundreds of variations of the classic frothy beer. Everyone has their personal favorite, but very few people will be anything but delighted to be offered any variant of this timeless drink.
Nearly as popular and drinkable as beer is wine. Wine is perfect to pair with a nice dinner, an open house, a garden party or almost any other gathering. It is an elegant and essential drink to keep handy for guests. There are many varieties and flavors of wine, and you can always find new ones to discover and explore along with your guests. Conveniently, bottles of wine are also easy to store out of the way until the time comes to pop the cork, so there’s no excuse for not having a couple of bottles ready.
When it’s time to kick things up a notch, this simple but classic three-ingredient cocktail punches above its weight class. Composed of just vodka, ginger beer, and a squirt of lime, it is both a refreshing drink in the summer, and a classic winter beverage. Ideally, to really impress guests, copper mugs are the traditional way to serve this fizzy drink, but in a pinch a regular glasses works just fine. No matter how it is presented, it will be received warmly.
A martini is another classic two or arguably three ingredient drink. Usually, the cocktail is made with a gin base, but vodka lovers can feel free to make a vodka version of this drink and still be on the right side of tradition.
Martinis are usually also made with the addition of dry vermouth, although that is a debatable ingredient and the cocktail stands on its own just fine without it. The ratio of gin to vermouth will change based on whether you order a dry or wet martini. When garnished with an olive or lemon twist and served in a chilled martini glass, it is second to none in elegance. There are also several other variations of the simple drink, so you can always experiment with your recipe a bit to please your guests.
Ultimately, all it takes to be ready to host on a moment’s notice is a couple bottles of wine, a case of beer, some vodka or gin, and a few basic grocery staples as garnishes. While a spirited debate could be had on what other “required” beverages should be kept in stock in a home bar, realistically the four drinks above will please even the pickiest palates without breaking the bank or taking over the kitchen.