Four Steps to Four Steps to Stocking Your Bar


Four Steps to Four Steps to Stocking Your Bar

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, October 31, 2019

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Tis the season to be jolly! Christmas is officially less than 10 weeks away, and as we look forward to the season's festivities these may include increased entertainment at your home. Maybe this year you plan to host the annual Christmas dinner. With that said, you need to be prepared to expertly host your guests, especially at the bar.


Your Bar

Do you have a bar at home? If not, maybe now is the time to start carving out a space or shelving to place your new buys. Creating a home bar is fun and easy to do, but you will need to stock the bar with the necessary tools and ingredients. This week, we share with you how you can begin creating a collection or expand your wines and spirits offerings.


Step 1: Prepare your space and shopping list: Your bar cannot be located just anywhere. Look for an area which has ideal space to store your tools and products, ambiance and which could possibly serve as an area in your home for entertainment. You do not need to go all-out to source fancy bar furniture, at least not now. Try to find a flat surface such as a tabletop or countertop which you can use as storage.


Step 2: Create proper storage space for your alcohol: Exposure to oxygen and sunlight should be minimised. For beer and wine, you may want to invest in a wine refrigerator or better yet, allocate some space in your refrigerator for the wines.


Step 3: Try to balance price and quality. As Jamaicans, we are known for being ostentatious as we aim to impress the socks off all who come in contact with us. However, you do not need to stock the most expensive; try to find a balance of products for everyday consumption versus those for special occasions.


Step 4: Select and purchase a balance of products for your guests and yourself to enjoy.


What tools do I need?

Even though you may not be a trained bartender, you can still obtain some basic tools for use which can assist you in concocting your creations. You will need a cocktail shaker, bar spoon, jigger, bar strainer, and wine opener.


Liqueurs – Liqueurs usually contain alcohol but there are non-alcohol options. I recommend stocking Triple Sec and Blue Curaçao (which can be used to balance citrus), and Sour Apple and Peach Schnapps are great complements to your liqueur collection.


Spirits – By now you are aware of the seven spirits of the world: Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Gin, Bourbon, and Brandy. Start your collection with one of each.


Wines – You certainly need to stock some vino. Start with red, white and rosé options. Try to also include some form of bubbly such as Prosecco or Champagne and you may want to have a sweet option as well as a non-alcoholic. Over the next weeks, and in celebration of the Jamaica Observer's Salut, I will showcase wines for Christmas, as well as share with you tips from some of the Rock's wine connoisseurs.


Beers – Having a few bottles of beer will complement your bar offering. In addition to your lagers, pilsners and stouts you could also include flavours such as sorrel or lemon.


Once you have completed your at-home bar project, share a photo with me. I would certainly love to see it. Until then, Cheers!



Readers' Feedback:

Imagine if we embraced life's moments big and small, without reservation. Together, we might fill the world with contagious joy. Please share with meyour wines, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.


Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President, Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

Marketing Studies Lecturer – The University of Technology, Jamaica

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