Tiki King's
Virtual Bartender-The home bar

So, you want to set up a home bar?
OK, you are gonna need some stuff...

A Bar

Your bar is what you make it. It can be themed or not. You can build it, buy it, or just designate an area that is your "bar"
you can turn a room, or just a corner into your bar. it's up to you. That being said, you will need a place to keep the stuff, Booze and tools and all that, a place to shake it up, and a surface to serve on.


lots of it. But here is the thing, my advice is, unless you are rich, don't go out and buy too much at first. You will need some basics, The "well" stuff as it is called. like when you go to a bar, and they will have a special on "well drinks" This is the basic no name booze. But, most of this will go into mixed drinks, so at first, go cheap and small for some of it. You will want:

Light Rum
Amber Rum
Dark Rum
Irish Whiskey
Dry (French) Vermouth
Sweet (Italian) Vermouth
Triple sec

This is a start, you can add as you go... Obviously, you can buy all top shelf stuff, and if you have a favorite booze or mixed drink, you will want the stuff for that.
If you are setting up a Tiki Bar, you will want to add:

4 and 8 year old aged rums
coconut flavored rum
Orange or white Curacao
Blue Curacao
Creme de Banana
Creme de Cacao
dark and light overproof rum (120 to 140 proof)
151 rum
Everclear 190
(for setting things on fire)
Again, this is a start, you can add as you go...

Mixers and syrups

So, this really depends on what you are making, but, cans or small bottles of:
ginger ale,
and seltzer are pretty basic. Then, you can also get juices such as:
in small single serving ( 6 to 8 oz), shelf stable containers.
You will also want:
Simple syrup
regular sugar
powdered sugar
Roses lime
sweet and sour mix
and Grenadine
if you are setting up a Tiki Bar, you will want to add:
coconut syrup
Passion fruit syrup


A bar guide, and/or drink recipe book(s) Know what you are making before the party starts, and make sure you have what it takes to make it.
Bar tools you are going to want:

A good jigger
set of measuring spoons
An 8 or 4 ounce measuring cup marked in 1/4 ounces
A good sturdy shaker (or two)
bar spoon
Cocktail strainer
Bar towel
ice bucket and tongs or a scoop
cork screw
bottle opener
cutting board
paring knife.
speed pourers
swizzle sticks
fruit juicer
tooth picks,
plastic sword picks
If you are setting up a Tiki Bar, you will want to add:
a blender
paper parasols
plastic monkeys, mermaids, etc
A Bar journal.
That way you don't have to try and remember what so-and-so wanted but you didn't have the (whatever) to make it. Write it down, and you will be ready next time...
And, depending on the size of your home bar, you might want a small refrigerator.
If you are in a spot where there is no sink, you can get a five gallon bucket to dump old ice or unfinished drinks into, and keep a pitcher of water on hand for rinsing glasses or equipment.


Other than Olives and cherries, Always use fresh garnish, and have as much of it prepared as possible before you begin mixing. All of your limes, lemons, oranges, pineapple, etc should be wedged or sliced as applicable, and stored in separate containers, or in a divided bowl, no more than a few hours before your party. For this reason it is a good idea to know what you will be mixing. Also sugar cubes are handy.

Booze and The Menu

I used to try and have anything and everything to make anything and everything, but contrary to what most people think, an opened bottle does have a shelf life, and I have poured out more expensive and unusual booze than I care to list. An unopened bottle will keep almost indefinitely, but once opened, most booze should used within a year. Booze never really goes bad in the sense that it will make you sick, but it can go bad enough that you won't want to drink it. At the 821, we had our regulars, I pretty much knew what they drink, and made sure I had that. But I also had a menu of "specialty" drinks and would keep the ingredients for those on hand. It gives me a sort of "check list" for pre-party shopping, and (mostly) eliminates the guess work. If you don't want to go through the trouble of printing menus, you can get a chalkboard and list your drinks there. In any case, having a set of drinks you know you can produce will make your cocktail making that much smoother.


So speaking of the right stuff, You can do pretty well with just the following glasses:

Cocktail (sometimes called "Martini")
Old fashioned (or rocks glass)
And of course,
Tiki Mugs.
However, If I had to narrow it down, I would have, cocktail (Martini) glasses, rocks glasses, and highball or pint glasses
Again, just like liquors, buy what you need as you need it, and save your storage for cases of rum.

Also, you will go through a lot of ice, and more than likely your home fridge ice maker will not keep up. Always a good idea to buy a couple large bags of small cube ice before the party, keep them in an ice chest behind the bar, and have one of your "what can I bring?" late arrivals bring more. You will be amazed at how much ice you go through...

AND If you haven't already, read the bar tips,
and the
secret bar tips...