The art and science of creating a home bar

When I moved into my first post-college apartment, creating a home bar was my top priority. I feel like there is something about having a (somewhat) fully stocked selection of alcohol that makes you an adult. At least a 20-something that has moved past the plastic bottle vodka of college.

Here was some of my inspiration….

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Of course, I wasn’t willing to spend thousands on a gorgeous bar table or a ton of expensive wine, so I had to compromise. The way I approached the perfect home bar was to look at the different components I wanted and try to get a little bit of each.


*Bar accessories


*Mixers and condiments


I was creating my home bar for my first solo apartment, so I had free reign on the style! Because of that, I started looking for antique butler bar carts. I still can’t believe that about a week into my search, I was driving to school and found a perfect white, worn, beautiful bar cart outside an antique shop. I immediately pulled over and bought it (for about $50).

IMG_1145This was taken before a birthday party (notice the cups and champagne).

One of my favorite parts of this piece is the old turquoise paint peering through the white paint. I used this wonderful bar cart for a couple of years and when I moved in with my boyfriend this year, I passed it down to my best friend who has an amazing cottage-style apartment and it fit right in.

On that note, I think it’s important to make a point about the style and size of your bar. You can basically turn anything into a bar: tables, desks, trays, etc., and you should fit your bar to your needs. Which is exactly why I gave this bar cart up, it was too girly for my boyfriend and we wanted to move to a more industrial style.

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Clearly, this was taken when we had just moved in.

This is an ikea laptop table that we bought for only $40! I love it because it is small, industrial looking, and has a small area to store bar accessories. The Wisconsin tray sitting on top was a present I made my boyfriend for his birthday last year.


Being a huge University of Wisconsin fan and desperately needing some decoration in his apartment, I figured I would make him a mosaic tray. Honestly, it was one of the most time consuming crafts I have ever done, so be warned. That brings me to…

Bar accessories

I would recommend getting a bar set for this category. They usually come with a shaker, strainer, jigger (fancy shot glass), knife, stir rod, and corkscrew, which is all you really need. I also like to add hilarious, alcohol-themed napkins to keep it exciting.


It’s also good to invest in proper glasses for your different drinks. At the minimum, you should have wine glasses, shot glasses, and rocks glasses (short drinking glasses to use for whiskey, etc). If you want to get fancy, you can also get martini glasses, brandy glasses, beer mugs and glasses, champagne flutes, and differentiate the red and white wine glasses.


Schmancy glassware options.

Alcohol and mixers

Some basics that every home bar should have are: Vodka, Whiskey, Rum or Tequila, wine (red and white), and beer. For mixers: soda/tonic, juice, soda.

I don’t think you need to get crazier than that, but if you prefer certain drinks, you should obviously get the necessary ingredients for those. For instance, I love martini’s, so I always have dry vermouth and olives handy. My boyfriend loves vodka tonics, so we always have a bottle of tonic water in the fridge. A great way to stock up your bar is to have a housewarming party and ask all your guests to bring a bottle! I’m honestly considering doing this because we are basically dry at my house.

My bar area is almost finished and I’ll post when it is. Future projects include: 1) installing a floating shelf above the bar to display vintage cocktail books and 2) creating an area for glassware.

Also, check this website for more ideas! I like it because it includes a lot of the categories I used.

Happy drinking!!


Truth or Dare Jenga

This is absolutely one of my favorite games to play with friends. It usually comes out post-party when everyone is winding down and it has led to some hilarious moments.


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Our favorite part is having our friends write new “truths” or “dares” after they play. They sell a pre-made version but I love that our jenga set has weird/pervy/ridiculous contributions from our closest friends.

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This was inspired by a bar we went to that had a jenga set. The homemade version might be the easiest thing you can make. Just grab some sharpies (fine point works best), a jenga set, a few drinks, and some friends.



Breaking Bad viewing party

As a former Chemistry minor and huge fan of Breaking Bad, the final episode last night was definitely a reason to throw a party. Don’t worry–there are no spoilers in this post.


I bought a few treats to make our viewing experience more fun!

The first are, of course, the blue meth cupcakes.

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I bought the cupcakes and asked for them frosted with plain vanilla. Then, I decorated them with blue sprinkles and blue rock candy, which were both actually really hard to find in LA.

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You can find a great recipe for homemade cupcakes here, and you can read about the controversial idea of making drug-related sweets here.

We also bought chicken from a real-life Pollos Hermanos. And to top it off, my boyfriend thought it would be clever to get Horchata or Ricin-milk. Get it, rice and milk? Hilarious.

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We polished it off with some whiskey (not pictured) to represent Walt’s drink of choice in the second to last episode. Overall, I would say the viewing party, like the finale, was a success.

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