Queen Bee Mixology

Home Bar Essentials with Queen Bee Mixology


You know, bartending at home has never been easier, whether you’re entertaining guests or treating yourself. All you need to know are the basics! 

Fortunately, Queen Bee Mixology’s got you covered. This article breaks down the essentials you’ll need to create a well-stocked home bar, along with pointers on how to use them all.

Essential Liquors

Let’s start with liquors. A well-rounded bar should include at least one bottle of each of the six base liquors. You’ll be using these to make just about any cocktail you can dream up. 

  1. Vodka – It’s used for more cocktails than any other distilled spirit and has a clean, transparent flavor. A budget-friendly bottle is an ideal choice for tall drinks (like the Screwdriver, for example), but if you’re in the mood for a vodka martini, this is one liquor you might want to spend a little extra on. 
  1. Gin – Start with a good bottle. We love Tanqueray Gin, which can be found on backbars around the world. For drinks that have more citrus-driven flavor profiles, such as a gin and tonic or Negroni, we suggest Tanqueray 10. It acts as a nice base for cocktails with just a few ingredients, pairs well with lighter mixers and fruits, and naturally works well with herbs.
  1. Whiskey – Rye whiskey, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, Irish: when it comes to stocking whiskey, you’ve got a lot of options, and each style has its own characteristics and uses. This is a category to adapt to your personal style. Two bottles are a really good start. And when you’re navigating the world of whiskeys, remember: bourbon is always whiskey, but whiskey is not always bourbon.
  1. Tequila – Kelly, the Queen Bee herself, loves a good margarita. For that, you’ll need a good tequila. But tequila is used in tons of other cocktails as well! The most versatile is blanco (or silver) tequila, but if you’re feeling like a little upgrade, add in an aged reposado for mixing or an añejo for sipping.
  1. Rum – Even if you’re not crazy about piña coladas, you need rum on hand to pull off a mojito. We recommend stocking one light and one dark rum. This way, you can serve up a delicious hot buttered rum or Jungle Bird. Yum! 
  1. Brandy – A basic bottle of brandy rounds off a well-stocked bar. If you want to prepare the classics, you’ll find brandy very useful.

Essential Mixers

Liqueurs are vital for a home bar. As you explore cocktail recipes, you’ll probably start to notice that some liqueurs make an appearance more often than others. 

These are among the most often used:

Essential Non Alcoholic Mixers

Some cocktails call for fresh ingredients, so let’s cover some things you’ll want to pick up (or prepare) the same day:

Essential Garnishes

We eat with our eyes first, and drink with them, too, which is why cocktail garnishes are just as important as the liquid inside the glass. A sprig of fresh mint, lime twist, or even a piece of fruit are so much more than pretty add-ons. Garnishes are the finishing touch that adds visual appeal and a splash of flavor to cocktails. 

There are four categories of garnish:


Twisting zest over a fruity drink imparts its oils onto the surface for a pleasant aroma.




At a minimum, have a jar of olives and maraschino cherries on hand (Kelly recommends Luxardo).

Essential Accessories

Every bar needs two things: liquor, and the proper bar accessories to make it into an enjoyable drink. So let’s cover the tools that are going to make your at-home bartending game a total breeze: 

Essential Glassware

Glasses have a function. They play a major role in the way a drink tastes. Each type is designed to bring out a cocktail’s aroma, temperature, color, and flavor.

You can make 90% of drinks in a rocks, collins, or all-purpose cocktail glass like the coupe.

And Don’t Forget: Ice!

So there you have it! A straightforward guide to taking your at-home bartending game to the next level. It’s really as simple as stocking the basics and knowing how to use them. To kickoff your at-home bartending adventures, we recommend taking a look at our recipe for a fiery, delicious Limelight and giving it a shot.


Kelly + Queen Bee Mixology