The 10 Essential Ingredients That Make Up The Perfect Bar
November 1, 2016
Home DecorCocktailsEntertaining
In the great words of interior designer and bar cart expert, Kendall Simmons, this is the renaissance of cocktail culture. And behind every great sips lover is a home bar cart just waiting for your next great get together. Make sure your cocktail station is stocked with essentials, 10 to be exact, and then customize and personalize accordingly. Cin, cin! For even more cocktail ideas, click here.
With the renaissance of cocktail culture, it’s no surprise that home bars have exploded in popularity. I have one of my own that I adore serving guests from! When it comes to styling your own bar, don’t overthink it. Because every bar is stocked to suite its owner’s personal tastes, there are no wrong answers. All you need are a few simple elements, customized to your liking.


I guess this is pretty obvious, right? More specifically, select your five favorite spirits. Once you’ve found those five, keep them perpetually stocked. Add new ones as you see fit and your space permits, but always keep your core five. I personally try to keep rum, vodka, gin, and two kinds of bourbon. If you’d like to add another layer, choose a handful of secondary liquors that accent your core five. Examples of this could include things like Saint Germain, Chambord, Fireball, etc. Designer Tip: Always keep a bottle of champagne on hand. You never know when there will be something wonderful to celebrate!


Every household has their go-to cocktail mixers, but it’s nice to have options for guests or when you’re in the mood for something different. Try to keep at least one from each of the following categories:

Tonic or Specialty Water

For example, I like to keep diet Cokes, orange or pineapple juice, and flavored sparkling water. Extra points for mixers in beautiful packaging! Designer Tip: Vary your brands and packaging colors for added visual interest! If the sparkling water you prefer comes in a green bottle, make sure that the juice you’re stocking comes in a totally different color bottle.


Go for simple glasses that serve dual-purposes if possible, to avoid overcrowding with too many glasses. Designer Tip: Your glassware is a great way to incorporate vintage style! Consider antique pink or green depression glass, or 1960’s printed bar glasses.

Decorative Straws

These are a personal favorite of mine. Change out the color and pattern of your straws depending on the season or the party!


Keep it basic. A cork screw, bottle opener, jigger and shaker should be plenty! Select beautifully shaped tools that add architecture and interest.

Ice Bucket

Because there’s always something to celebrate, and you need to be ready for that champagne!

Cocktail Bible

Choose your book well! Keep it within easy reach so you never miss a beat when asked to make a cocktail that’s new to you.


No explanation needed for this. Stock your bar with some sweet treats so people have a little sweet snack when needed! Whether it’s a bowl of jellybeans or individually sized rock candies, it will add color and texture to your bar.

Coasters or Cocktail Napkins

Protect your tables in style! Agate, antique silver or letterpresses paper are my personal favorites.


Experiment with fun new spirits in crazy bottles, French sodas with pretty labels, or homemade bottle stoppers. Add fresh flowers in characterful vessels. (I’m partial to tulips). The sky’s the limit. Start with the basics and keep adding new items to your heart’s content. Happy drinking!
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Vendor Credits
The Essential Bar Book
Lucite Bar Cart
Glasses with Green Flowers
Deer Damask Wallpaper
Barneby Gates
Interior Design and Styling
Kendall Simmons
Cactus Art
Lavender Art
Ask More Questions Print
Schoolhouse Electric
Brass and Wood Bar Cart
Kurt Cobain Photo
Urban Outfitters
Abstract Painting
Round Brass Bar Cart
Bird Bottle Stoppers
West Elm
Elephant Bottle Stopper
Z Gallerie
Faux Bone Tray
Z Gallerie