The Perfect Bar
By The Editors

Even if you’re not a big boozer, keeping a decent bar for guests is always well-advised.  Not sure what to stock up on? Don't worry about it, here's your shopping list.

The Perfect Bar


Even if you’re not a big boozer, keeping a decent bar for guests is always well-advised.  Here’s a basic shopping list:

  • One-half gallon vodka
  • One-half gallon gin
  • One-half gallon whiskey
  • One liter bourbon
  • One liter rye
  • One liter rum
  • One fifth (750 ml) tequila
  • Wine and beer, if you like
  • Nonliquor items, including olives, bitters, soda water, quinine water, ginger ale, cola, fruit juice, lemons and limes
  • One fifth (750 ml) brandy.

One quart yields 21 one-ounce jigger glasses (of one and a half ounces each).  Figure three drinks per person and you’ll get seven people on a bottle holding on for dear life.


       Get one fifth bottle each of top-shelf gin, vodka and the rest but keep bottles of cheap, generic liquor in reserve.  Nobody will be able to tell the difference after and hour or so anyway, so either stonewall it or refill the bottle with the expensive label with the cheap stuff whenever necessary.

Beer and wine are not significantly cheaper to serve than mixed drinks, so keep only a small supply on hand for those who insist on either one.

Spend money on top-of-the-line mixers.  Brand names always look good, but brand-name soda is lots cheaper than brand-name Scotch.

Limit your selection – don’t cater to those with affected tastes in liquor.  If you feel you must have a liqueur on hand, make it a dry one (like cognac) and not a sweet one (like Grand Marnier); people drink sweet cordials faster and in greater quantities.

Serve salt-free snacks to munch on.  Salty snacks only make people want to drink more of the booze for which you are paying.

With the current attitudes about drink-and-driving liability, the best plan is to reserve several tables at a bar, where some else’s insurance is on the line. Instead of driving home drunk, sleep on the tables.