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The Basic Bar Setup

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Front Page Photo: Flickr, Rob Ireton

The following are the foundation for a well-stocked home bar:

Wine and beer. Keep a stash of your favorite white wines and beers in the refrigerator. Have a range of red wines on hand: a Malbec or Shiraz goes with meat, and have a Chianti with pasta and red sauce.

Soft drinks and mixers. Have cola and diet cola, tonic water, club soda, sparkling water, bitters, sour mix, Tabasco, lime juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, and tomato juice.

Garnishes. Lemon, lime, salt, sugar, olives and celery round out the selection.

Liqueurs. The most popular include triple sec, Irish creme, coffee liqueur, and vermouth.

Liquors: These include vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, and brandy/cognac. Whiskey can be Scotch or American, but if you want to stock only one, choose American because most mixed whiskey drinks (like the manhattan) are made with bourbon. Whiskey can also take Coke or sour mix or simply be served on the rocks. With vodka and gin, you can make almost any drink (by adding juice, vermouth, bitters, tonic, or just ice).

For more cleaning tips, check out What's A Disorganized Person To Do?