Putting Together a Home Bar – A Tribute to John Boehner

Stocking up your home bar is not a topic usually covered here. So, to bring some coherence to the topical nature of this latest post, we hereby dedicate it to our ineffectual, drunken Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

Cheers, John.

With that little dedication out of the way…

Everybody should have the basics of a bar at home. When friends and family come by it’s always nice to have an adult beverage to offer. So here is your guide – the essential home bar setup.

First, the easy stuff…beer and wine.

I said easy, but there are about a million choices. And to complicate things, there do exist beer snobs and wine snobs. For example, I won’t drink a Miller Lite unless it’s the end of a long night of drinking and I want something close to water. (See the snobbery I snuck in there?) But there are people out there who won’t drink anything else. On the other side, I’ve seen people wince at a sip of a great India Pale Ale as if they were drinking Everclear grain.

Wine snobs are even more common than beer snobs. Here, you just need something passable for a snob, and you’ll need a red and a white.

Since we just need basics, here’s what you stock up with. Keep in mind – you should keep this in the garage fridge or stored away. Whatever you drink on a regular basis, keep that separate. That way you always have your visitor stock.

Beer List:

1) 6 Pack of Miller Lite in Bottles

2) 6 Pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

3) 6 Pack of Rolling Rock in bottles

4) 6 Pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager

This will give you a case of beer that has something for almost any beer drinker. From total snob to total amateur.

Wine List:

1) 2 Bottles of Clos Du Bois Chardonnay ($12)

2) 2 Bottles of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($~15)

3) 2 Bottles of Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel ($15)

4) 2 Bottles of Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (~$15)

These wines are not going to win any awards, but all are pretty good. These are quaffers that even a wine snob might have at home.

There are a a gazillion wines – try them all. A couple other of my current drinkers are:

Conundrum White – it’s a little on the sweet side, but really refreshing and good for amateurs.

Flirt – This is a cheap red blend. It’s very fruity, very approachable and easy and fun to drink.

Now on to the Booze…

In a similar fashion, we want to have items on hand that will be suitable for the rank amateur and also the professional drinker. You don’t want to disappoint. But here, we have a complexity. You can’t possibly have everything on hand; there are just too many types of booze out there. You just need some basics to produce the most options for the most tastes.

Buy your booze in liters, so you don’t burn through it. It is usually a better deal and each bottle will last longer.

1) Tito’s Vodka – This vodka is good. I drink it on the rocks and it’s delightful. But it also makes a mean martini and will mix well with any fruit juice or soda.

Also buy: Queen Pimento Stuffed Olives in Brine, Cranberry Juice, 7-Up, any fruit juice you like to drink – just add vodka.

2) Makers Mark Bourbon – Makers is good. This is a bourbon that an expert would be happy to sip neat, or makes a nice bourbon and coke (for amateurs). You can also get more sophisticated and make a Manhattan or Old Fashioned cocktail. This bourbon will do it all and do it well.

Also buy: Maraschino Cherries, cans of coke, bottle of simple syrup, Angostura bitters, Sweet Vermouth.

3) Seagrams 7 – This is mostly for amateurs, but since it’s so cheap, you might as well have a bottle. Mixes with 7-Up for the classic “7 and 7” and makes a good high ball. Also makes a good whiskey sour.

Also buy: Whiskey Sour Mix (get the powder version and add to shaker for a good one – many pros will scoff at that, favoring instead a fresh sour mix, but for a more approachable drink and one that is easier to make, just get the powder). And don’t forget to garnish with a cherry and orange slice.

4) Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Scotch – This is a decent entry level single malt scotch that a real scotch drinker won’t scoff at. You won’t be mixing this, just serving neat or on the rocks. If you have a little extra money to spend, get the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old. That is their “Solera Vat Reserve” and is a wonderful highland scotch.

If you don’t see the Glenfiddich, look for a highland scotch that you can afford. Stay away from Islay scotch only because they tend to be very peaty and less approachable to an amateur.

5) Bacardi Rum – This classic rum will let you make frozen Daiquiris, rum and coke, rum and diet – garnish the latter with a lime wedge for a nice knuckler.

Also buy: Daiquiri mix, coke/diet coke.

6) Hornitos Reposado Tequila – Hornitos is the best moderately priced 100% agave tequila on the market.

Also buy: Jose Quervo liquid Margarita Mix. Don’t by Quervo tequila – it’s mostly garbage.

7) Bombay Sapphire Gin – This classic gin comes in a beautiful blue bottle. In the summer months, there is nothing like a Gin and Tonic and this is the only gin to use. Nothing like “Vitamin G.” It also makes another classic – the Bombay Sapphire Martini. For this, you’ll want a dab of dry vermouth. Make that a whisper of dry vermouth. Actually, if you just think about the vermouth that should cover you. Yep, the venerable “Bone Dry.”

Also buy: Schwepps Tonic Water, limes.

8) Amaretto – This almond liquor is great to have on hand. You can add a splash to coffee or hot chocolate for a wonderful snowy day warm up, use it for baking cookies and any number of fancy cocktails.

9) Bailey’s Irish Creme – basically for the same reason as Amaretto. You can even add both Bailey’s and Amaretto to make an awesome hot chocolate drink. Forget proportions, just add to taste.

10) Grand Marnier – this orange liqueur is a nice surprise to have on hand. It can be served neat in a snifter as a classy after dinner drink or to be served with a dessert. If you add a splash to a Hornitos Margarita (rocks) it’ll be the best one you’ve had…ever. It can also be used in a variety of baking recipes and fun cocktails – just g00gle it.

Note that the Amaretto, Bailey’s and Grand Marnier are really just nice-to-have’s and not a mandatory part of your home bar. But still…why skimp?

That should do it. If you have these things on hand, you will be able to offer your friends, family and guests just about anything they ask for. And if you already have these bottles at home, when a special occasion does come up, you can stop buy the liquor store and pick up some additions, like Chambord, Flavored Vodka, Ouzo, or some fun cordial.

Before long, you’ll join the ranks of professional drinkers.


  1. Hope Jones says

    I am sick and tired of these Hollywood nutbags who live in a primadonna ‘bubble’ in California (mainly) going on and on about Donald Trump. For people who are SOOOO open to everyone else in the ENTIRE world, why are they so close minded about Trump, they REFUSE to give him a chance.
    I hope that everyone will begin to BOYCOTT their movies/tv shows!!! Stop paying for overpriced movie tickets to see people who are so obviously biased and not even willing to try to work WITH instead of ATTACK the new president. WE need to hit them in their wallets. Let their precious millions of dollars per movie go away, have empty theatre seats in the ‘rest of the country’ that isn’t NY or LA!!!!!!
    They NEED us, we DON’T need them!!!!!

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