The Kinds of Alcohol You Should Always Have Stocked

Glass of Wine in Front of Liquor ShelvesThere are plenty of good reasons to stock up on booze and hang out at your place or someone else’s for the night. Whether you’re sick of dealing with obnoxious drunks when you’re out for the night, long lines to get booze, or the expensive prices at bars, drinking at home certainly has its perks. Especially if you are the town drunk and are no longer welcome at any local establishments.

Now, if you have friends and acquaintances that you can, or want, to invite over, then knowing what kinds of alcohol you should always have stocked is pretty important. If you’re planning on tipping back a few drinks by yourself, however, then just make sure you have a few bottles on hand of something you like. Also make sure that it’s not expired or poisonous. If you like scotch, heck, just stock a couple bottles of that.

If “hosting” or “entertaining” a few people is your goal, though, then here’s some tips on what kind of booze you should have on hand to make sure everyone goes home happy. While there are hundreds of different types of drinks and alcohol to consider, by sticking to the basics, you should be able to come up with something for even the snootiest of drinkers.

Hard Liquor

If you’re not an experienced drinker, or have spent next to no time in a bar or liquor store, then you’re probably unaware of the basic types of hard liquor. If you’ve worked in the service industry, or treat your local pub like a buffet, then you probably have a good idea of the main liquor families.

By stocking a bottle each of gin, vodka, white or dark rum, and whiskey or bourbon, you should be able to handle a wide range of basic drink requests. If your pal usually drinks dark rum and cola, they probably won’t throw a hissy fit if you offer them white rum. If they like whiskey, but you only have bourbon, then chances are they won’t turn that down either.

If you want to take it up a notch so that you can offer a wider selection to your “patrons,” then also stock a bottle of scotch and a bottle of tequila. You can also make sure you have both types of rum, as well as both whiskey and bourbon. With a lineup like that, you’ll have all the major groups for spirits covered. If anyone asks for a fancy drink like a piña colada, tell them the “next flight to the Caribbean leaves in an hour.”

If cash is tight, then just go with a more generic, less-expensive bottle. That will make it easier to have a bottle for each major category and keep everyone happy. After all, what are your friends going to do? Take their money someplace else?

If money isn’t an issue, then think about buying a couple of extra, premium bottles, like a single malt scotch or a higher end tequila. These can serve as a great sipping beverage and conversation starter later on, plus, you’ll look super cool.


Of course, you can never go wrong by having a good selection of beer on hand. The trick is knowing how much to stock and what type. After all, there are so many different types of delicious beers on the market, and if the party really gets going, the beer could really move fast.

If you and your friends typically don’t stray too far from lagers, then don’t get crazy and stock a ton of hoppy, stronger-tasting beers. If they’re a little more adventurous, then it’s a good idea to have some Indian Pale Ale, Pale Ale, or Amber Ale on hand. Don’t forget to stock some light beer too; that’s very important.

If you’re not prepared to fork out several hundred dollars on beer alone, then just grab a few six packs of several different kinds. If your friends are still not happy, tell them to bring their own beer next time.


Having wine in stock is just as important as beer, if not more important if food is being served. That doesn’t mean you need to build the best, or only, wine cellar on the block, but if you have, say, four or five bottles on hand, you should be fine.

Of course, it’s a good idea to have a bottle of red and a bottle of white to offer people. Some people won’t, or can’t, drink red wine, so increase your chances of keeping everyone happy by carrying both.

In terms of the specific type of wine, if you want to keep it cheap and simple then just buy some kind of blend. This is usually what restaurants and bars do for their “house white” or “house red.” If you want to provide more options, then pick up some other bottles that don’t have really strong flavors. For example, pick up a Chardonnay, Merlot, or Malbec.

Other Booze

If your pals aren’t into martinis, cocktails, or fancy coffees, then just stick with the basics mentioned above. If they’ve been watching shows like “Mad Men” religiously, or you’ve noticed they’ve been talking like they were born in the 1930s, then you may need some extra booze.

For example, in order to make a gin or vodka martini, you’re going to need to have a bottle of dry vermouth on hand. If boozy coffees that can double as dessert are also the rage, then having a bottle of Bailey’s or Kahlua around is also a good idea. It just depends on how happy, or loaded, you want your guests to be.