Home Bar 101: Build It & They Will Come:

There’s quite a bit to be said about the art of entertaining well within your home. My personal entertaining philosophy is benchmarked upon the trifecta that are a dynamic ambiance, a cheerful host/hostess and making the most of your budget.

First, let’s dispel the myth that setting up your home bar requires endless, up-front cash.  Whether you’ve a formal bar within your estate or you’ve situated a bar cart in a nook of your studio apartment, I contend that your bar should grow with you and your evolving taste.

As not to become overwhelmed, I suggest purchasing each of the following (perhaps one or two groups each week) over the course of 6 to 8 weeks. “Good” is relative. Regardless, purchase responsibly and do allow your budget to be your guide.

•   6 bottles of a good red wine

•   6 bottles of a good white wine

•   6 bottles of champagne and/or Prosecco

•   A case of bottled water and soft drinks for designated drivers

•   A case each of good domestic and imported beer

•   A bottle each of good vodka, whiskey, tequila, rum and gin

•   A survival kit of basic mixers: soda water, cola, simple syrup, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, orange juice and ginger ale

•   Basic garnishes: lemons, limes, salt, sugar, salt

•   Bar tools and accoutrements: corkscrew, bottle opener, cocktail shaker, pitcher, napkins, blender (for the kitchen) and coffee maker (for the kitchen, too)

As you begin to entertain, remember to always keep abreast of your inventory and replenish upon usage.

After you’ve the basics, consider the collection of stemware that you’ll serve from. Yes...there’s that.  Red and white wine glasses (yes, you will need both), high ball glasses, champagne flutes and coffee mugs can be found at reasonable prices from retailers such Target, CB2 and Macy’s.  If you’re creating a bridal or housewarming registry in the midst of setting up your home bar, consider adding your stemware needs to the list of requested items.

Every other Friday or so, I fancy myself an in-home mixologist and create fresh libations from websites such as Drinks Mixer.  Your home bar is not required to be the picture of perfect during your building stages; take the pressure off. In the meantime, create a seasonal, signature cocktail that will have your guests wondering if Isaac from The Love Boat is behind your bar.  After all, life is a celebration; there’s no better place to start than home.

Shameeka Ayers is an Atlanta-based lifestyle blogger and author who dispenses entertaining, shelter and food & wine anecdotes and advice via her alter ego, The Broke Socialite. She also produces a national tour of curated dessert-tasting experiences, Sugar Coma Events™.  Her first novella, Instantly: How Quickly I Realized I Hate My Job will be published in 2012.