The Webtender
Bartender's Handbook

Stocking your bar

You cannot make drinks out of the equipment, so you'll probably want to buy a selection of liquors and mixers too. It is impossible to make a list that "fits all" without including every possible liquor in the World, but here are a few guidelines on what to buy.

You should always choose your bar stock to suit your guests. Young people often prefer the more exotic drinks, so you will need various fruit juices and flavored liqueurs instead of the darker liquors (like whiskey) older people often prefer.

It is likely you will experience requests for drinks you cannot make, but that happen to almost every bar now and then. You can add new liquors to your bar stock later, and should learn how to mix what you have in the meantime.

A well stocked bar should have the following, but you should consider the number and type of guests you expect before buying.

  • Gin (dry)
  • Vodka
  • Rye (or Canadian whiskey)
  • Bourbon
  • Scotch whiskey
  • Rum (light)
  • Vermouth (dry and sweet)
  • Tequila
  • White and red wine (dry)
  • Beer (lager)
  • Cognac (or other brandy)
  • Different liqueurs:
    • Advocaat (somewhat like brandy eggnog)
    • Amaretto (almond)
    • Anisette (anise)
    • Aquavit (caraway)
    • Benedictine (herbs)
    • Chambord (black-raspberry)
    • Chartreuse (herbs)
    • Contreau/Triple sec (oranges)
    • Crème de Cacao (cacao)
    • Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)
    • Crème de Menthe (mint)
    • Crème de Violette/Crème Yvette (violets)
    • Curaçao (oranges)
    • Galliano (herbs and spices)
    • Godiva (chocolate)
    • Goldwasser (herbs and spices, flecked with gold leaf bits)
    • Grand Marnier (oranges)
    • Irish Cream (whiskey and cream)
    • Kahlúa (coffee)
    • Kümmel (caraway)
    • Mandarine Napoléon (tangerine)
    • Midori (melon)
    • Ouzo (anise)
    • Peter Heering (cherry)
    • Prunelle (plum)
    • Sabra (orange and chocolate)
    • Sambuca (wild elderberries)
    • Sloe Gin (sloe berries)
    • Southern Comfort (peach)
    • Strega (orange and spices)
    • Tia Maria (coffee)

In addition to the liquors, you will need different mixers, flavorings and garnishes.

  • Club soda
  • Tonic water
  • Ginger ale
  • 7-Up or Sprite
  • Cola
  • Juices:
    • Tomato juice
    • Orange juice
    • Pineapple juice
    • Cranberry juice
    • Grapefruit juice
  • Bitters
  • Grenadine
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Milk
  • Coffee
  • Heavy cream
  • Cherries (maraschino)
  • Green olives (small)
  • Cocktail onions
  • Lemons, limes and oranges
  • Sugar, salt and pepper.

Source: International Bartender's Guide.
How do I pour? What is 'cl', 'oz' and 'pt'? How should I handle glassware?.
Find the answers in The Bartender's Handbook.

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