Your Home Bar Budget Bottle Essentials

So you want to build a bar at home? This sentiment has been shared by many individuals that have come before you and there will be many more after you as well. So the good news is that you are not alone in your desires! Be that as it may, as daunting as it appears, you will be making cocktails like the bartenders at Dante in no time (strong emphasis, however, on the “like”). Some of the questions you have currently might be something like the following: What alcohol do I need for a home bar? What bar tools do I need? What cocktails will I be able to make with my home bar? This is a simple and straightforward guide to help you get started and take that first leap into the world of mixology from the comfort of your home.

First things first: SPIRITS! 

Ghost meme_ Amehla Co

The 5 essential spirits and our budget recommendations:

Vodka - Reyka Vodka

Gin - Beefeater

Whiskey - Bulliet Bourbon

Tequila - Milagro Silver 

Rum - Plantation 3 Star

After Base Liquors, We Will Need Some Additional Bottles. 

Sweet Vermouth: Dolin Vermouth De Chambery Rogue

Dry Vermouth: Dolin Vermouth De Chambery Dry




Aromatic Bitters

Orange Bitters

(Also, as a little shout out we also like these specially crafted bitters by Wisecraft Mixology. Perhaps something seasonal like Cinnamon bitters or Burnt Carmel bitters)

Lastly, you will need some bar tools.

These are the bar tools that you will need and the ones that we recommend!

We will admit, this is not a complete bar; however, it will definitely get you started. Not only that but you should be able to get all of this stuff at a fairly reasonable price. Especially if you consider the alternative of going out to your local watering hole (i.e., the neighborhood bar). 

Now that we have committed and gone out and purchased all of these items you can now make the following cocktails for yourself and your friend.

Here are the cocktails and their respective recipes:

Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • ¼ oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Dash Orange Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Peel


  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • ¾ oz Red Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Cocktail Cherry


  • 2 ½ oz Gin
  • ½ oz Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist or Cocktail Olives


  • 1 oz Gin (we like it a bit more gin heavy, so we do either 1 ½ or 2 oz Gin. Have fun, and experiment!) 
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Red Vermouth
  • Garnish with Orange Peel


  • 2 oz Tequila 
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice 
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with A Grapefruit slice or Lemon Wheel


  • 1 ½ oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth 
  • Garnish with Orange Peel


  • 1 ½ oz Tequila 
  • ¾ oz Cointreau 
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Lime and Salted Rim


  • 1 ½ oz Rum 
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup 
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel


  • 1 ½ oz Rum 
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 6 mint springs (muddled)
  • 2 tsp White Sugar
  • Top with Soda Water
  • Garnish with Spring of Mint Leaves and Lime Wheel


  • 2 ½ oz Gin
  • ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • ¾ Lemon Juice
  • ¾ Simple Syrup
  • 1 Egg White (optional)
    • It should also be noted the if the egg white is excluded from this cocktail that the preparation of the cocktail changes. If you do include the egg white the preparation requires what is called a “dry shake.” All a dry shake is, is placing all ingredients in a shaker and shake without ice.

 Honorable mention:

To help you keep track of cocktail recipes we recommend this free app called Highball

Perfect for those moments when you are unsure if an Old Fashioned your about to stir up calls for 1/2 oz or 1/4 simple syrup. We should note that it doesn’t have some recipes but you can add your own or ones that you have found and have them easily accessible on your phone!