Setting Up A Party-Worthy Bar

byJon Preskow | publishedNovember 19th, 2015
Setting Up A Party-Worthy Bar

Having a well stocked bar is one element in creating a successful party. Here is a general guideline to making stocking your home bar super easy. But first a few notes to think about…

Quantity and Quality:

At the end of the day it’s you that knows your guests and what they like to drink. So if you know your guests love martinis make sure to add a bottle or two of vodka. The good thing about unopened bottles of wine and spirits is that they can all go back for a full refund. Like cooking, the type of ingredients or alcohol you choose will make a difference in the way your food and beverages taste. Let us know if you need help or the pros at the LCBO are there to help you with your choices. Our drink lists are just a guide so if you don’t like a particular flavour (say gin or tonic) leave it out. Stock your bar with things you will want to use once the event is over.

Specialty Cocktails:

If you would like us to put together a specialty cocktail please let us know. We would be happy to work with you in choosing the right cocktail to fit your party’s theme whether it is flavour, colour, texture or anything else.

A Note on Wine:

Choosing wine for your event can be done in two different ways. You can choose bottles that pair well with your chosen menu; or you can choose bottles that are easy to drink and will suite a variety of pallets. When we stock a bar we usually choose two different whites and two different reds. In doing this you can choose a light bottle as well as something a bit heavier.

If you are interested in having a sommelier at your event please let us know as we have a few experts that we work with on a regular basis. They can take your wining and dining to a new level.

A Note on Beer:

When it comes to beer there are a lot to choose from. We usually go with two different beers when we stock our bars. If you know that you have guests who like beer you can be more adventurous in your choices or you can stay with the beers you know and like. The LCBO has a large variety of imported and local beer. When choosing your beer, like wine, we recommend having a lighter and a more full bodied flavour to choose from.

Take note of whether or not you are having a photographer at your event. If you will be taking photos you might want to choose beer served in a clear glass so it will blend into the background of your photos and not stick out like a sore green/brown thumb. Also be aware of where your guests will be drinking the beer. If you are around a pool you might want to get cans of beer and stay away from glass.

Equipment Needed:

If we are coming with rentals to take care of your bar you will not need to supply the following items. If you want to stock your bar so you are set for success after your party, here are a few items to make your life easier:

Bottle opener, wine opener, blender, cutting board, knife, ice bucket with scoop/tongs, bar spoon, muddler, jigger, zester, cocktail shaker, strainer assorted glasses from wine, martini, shooters, rock and champagne.

Other Flavorings to Have on Hand:

– Bitters; add a layer of depth to a cocktail (angostura, orange bitters or artisan bitters)
– Spice and savory flavours; Tabasco, sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, olive brine, horseradish, tomato juice
– Sweet and sour flavours; sugar simple syrup, sour mix grenadine
– Fruit juices; lemon, lime, orange, cranberry, pineapple, pomegranate, ice teas
– For rimming the glasses; margarita salt, celery salt, sugar and or coloured sugar


Garnishes add that final touch to a cocktail to take if from ordinary to extraordinary.
– Lemons, limes, oranges, citrus twists
– Star fruit, pineapple, apple, berries or any other fruit garnish
– Fresh herbs such as basil or mint
– Maraschino cherries
– Assorted olives or cocktail onions
– Celery, cucumber sticks, maple brown sugar, bacon
– Fun swizzle sticks, cocktail straws, ready made skewers or gummy flavoured candies


Based on 40-50 guests


Water 12x 750ml : a pitcher with tap water will also work
Sparkling Water 12 x 750 ml
Coke 12-24 cans
Diet Coke 12-24 cans
Ginger Ale 12 cans
Diet Ginger Ale 12 cans
Club Soda 12-24 cans
Tonic Water 12 +
Sprite 12
Orange Juice 2 ltr +-
Cranberry Juice 2 ltr +-
Other Juices of choice 1 ltr +- or any other flavours you may want


Based on 40-50 guests; 3-4 drinks per person. If you are not sure of the amounts always err on the side of having too much. You can always returned unopened items.


Base Liquors: 750 ml bottles. A must have for any bar
Vodka 3-4
Gin 1-2
Scotch whisky 1-2
Bourbon and or Rye 2-3
Rum light or dark 1-2
Tequila 1-2
Secondary Liqueurs: to add flavour to mixed drinks
Vermouth 1
Cognac style brandy 1
Cointreau or Triple Sec 1
Bailys for dessert 1
Sweet liqueurs such as crème de cocao or Kahlua as needed
Red Wine 12-18 bottles
White Wine 12-18 bottles
Beer 48 +


Based on 40-50 guests; 3-4 drinks per person


Red Wine 18-24
White Wine 18-24
Beer 72 +

*If you are not sure always get more – you can return.