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Stephanie Reese

Stephanie Reese

June 25, 2015

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Home Bar Basics

Whether you’re hosting a casual movie marathon, a glamorous girls’ night, or an impromptu dinner party for co-workers and their significant others, you’ll want to stock up on a few things for the bar (or kitchen counter, as the case may be).

But with so many wines, liquors, and bar accessories to choose from, narrowing down your options and sticking to a budget can be a challenge. That’s why WORKS chatted with Leanne Shear and Tracy Toomey, veteran bartenders and authors of Cocktail Therapy: The Perfect Prescription for Life’s Many Crises, to uncover the secrets to stocking an at-home bar. (We also got them to share a few of their favorite cocktail recipes.) Bottoms up!

Buy the basics. According to Shear and Toomey, “a corkscrew for wine (particularly one that doubles as a bottle opener) is something every woman should have on hand for entertaining.” But you don’t need lots of fancy equipment or glassware unless you’re hosting a really chichi soiree. As the pair points out, “if you’re enjoying a $10 bottle of Pinot Grigio and pizza with your girlfriends, anything goes!”

Pick your poison. The proprietor at your neighborhood wineshop can help you pick out a bottle of wine for any occasion and any budget. If you’d like to serve cocktails, then vodka is a good staple in popular drinks like martinis, Long Island iced teas, and others. As an alternative, Shear and Toomey recommend “a middle-of-the-road tequila [like Cuervo] because margaritas make any occasion festive. The higher-shelf brands like Patrón will cost much more, but they often cause [fewer] hangovers!” Of course, “at the end of the day, it’s less about what you have than how you serve it and how you make your guests feel.”

Keep it simple. Sure, it’s fun to have a full bar, but unless you’re planning to hire help to man it, it can be more trouble than it’s worth. Shear and Toomey suggest you “stick with one specialty cocktail, be it caipirinhas, mojito