If you entertain regularly, you might want to think about putting together your own little home bar instead of running out and buying different items each time you have guests over and trying to be MacGyver by attempting to make bar tools out of regular kitchenware.
Though no guest should expect you to have Absinthe stocked, there are basic liquors and tools that every home bar should have.
Basic spirits: Vodka, tequila, rum, gin, and whiskey.
Mixers: Juices such as cranberry, orange, and grapefruit mix well with many liquors, as well as carbonated beverages such as cola, tonic water, or lemon-lime soda.
Garnishes: Maraschino cherries, olives, and lime, lemon, and orange wedges.
Beer: Some of us prefer just a simple beer so make sure to have both ales and lagers stocked. Keep in mind that beer does have a shelf life, so unless you entertain a lot (or drink by yourself a lot), buy this right before the party.
Wine: Have a good mix of white and red, dry and sweet.
Tools: You will definitely need a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a martini shaker, and a strainer. Also make sure you have appropriate glasses -- wine glasses, martini glasses, shot glasses, pints for beer (keep in freezer until served -- us beer drinkers will love you), and tumbler glasses for mixed drinks.
Don't worry: You don't have to have a physical bar in order to pull off a home version. You can turn any type of surface into a bar area, such as a small table, area on the counter top, or an armoire. My "bar" is simply a shelf that's filled with bottles of liquor, martini shakers, wine glasses, etc.
These are the basics, but if you know your friend has to have vermouth in her martinis, then stock vermouth, or your husband can't go without his scotch, keep a nice single-malt at hand.
Do you have a bar area in your home? What are the things that you are sure to keep stocked? Is your "bar" a shelf, table ... ?
Image via citymama/Flickr