Entertaining at home can be exciting (and convenient), but when you've moved past your BYOB days and are trying to cover your bases without clearing out the liquor store (and your bank account), it can also be intimidating. But don't worry, at The Great Jamaican we've got you covered with our handy guide to stocking the perfect home bar!The MVPs
Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum, Whiskey. With The Fab Five in the house, your party is on the right track. Avoid settling for the cheapest “well drink” bottles or splurging on the eye-wateringly expensive end of the spectrum, the sweet spot lies firmly in the middle with delicious options that will elevate your cocktails without breaking the bank. We love the distinctively yellow-hued Ungava gin and delicious Dirty Devil vodka is simply begging to be invited to your next Halloween party! Look for elegant whiskeys and Patron Tequilas you won’t want to knock back in a single shot and whether you opt for light or dark rum depends solely on your personal cocktail preference. Our favourites include Chic-Choc spiced rum and the ever-classic Bacardi.
The sheer selection of mixers available can be overwhelming but you don’t need to load up on every liqueur under the sun to craft an incredible variety of cocktails. Vermouth (red, white or dry) is a staple in timeless classics like Martinis, Manhattans and Negronis. An orange liqueur will transport you back to the early aughts with a Cosmopolitan or make it feel like summer all year long in a Margarita or a Mai Tai. Non-alcoholic mixers are essential. Keeping some of our sublimely flavoured sodas, sparkling water, aromatic bitters, and simple syrup (homemade or store-bought) on hand will ensure that you can concoct a classic Tom Collins, Old Fashioned or a brilliant mocktail for any guests who aren’t imbibing.
It’s easy to get carried away with Pinterest images of elaborate cocktails but a couple of citrus options, fresh herbs such as mint, sugar and salt will take you far. Consider switching up your garnishes with the season, try out rosemary sprigs, pomegranate seeds and nutmeg during the holidays, or fresh berries and refreshing cucumber in the hotter months.
There are plenty of reasonably priced sets out there that are both pretty and functional including everything you need (we’re partial to the copper options). Most sets will include a wine opener, a cocktail shaker, a strainer, double-ended jigger, bar spoon and a muddler. You can certainly craft a fantastic cocktail without fancy tools but they’re undeniably fun to use and make your bar set up look extra special.
Ice, Ice, Baby!
Nothing takes the wind out of your superhost sails quite like beaming with pride at your perfect set-up only to realize you haven't got any ice on hand at the sound of the first doorbell. If your refrigerator is equipped with an ice-maker you’re already ahead of the game, but if it isn't make sure you've got plenty of ice (more than you think you'll need) ready to go when your guests arrive.
You're now fully equipped to relax , have fun and enjoy your guests. Don't forget our invitation!