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How to stock a stellar summer bar

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Stock up for summer sips

Summer is all about impromptu cocktail parties, swim parties and barbecues. Make sure you're ready by stocking your bar with everything you'll need to mix up some killer summer cocktails.

bottles of alcohol

Basic spirits

Set aside the bottles of cognac and whisky and lighten things up for summer. You'll need vodka for refreshing drinks like cosmos, lemon drops and appletinis. Choose a quality gin to make the classic gin and tonic and grab bottles of rum and tequila to shake up ice cold pina coladas and margaritas.

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Tequila

Liqueurs

Add some or all of these liqueurs to your bar to expand your cocktail options. Absinthe mixed with champagne gives you one of Hemingway's favorite cocktails, "death in the afternoon." Make the popular caipirinha cocktail by mixing cachaca with crushed lime, sugar, ice and sweet white wine. Triple sec liqueur is a key ingredient in margaritas, while melon-flavored liqueur mixed with vodka, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice and cranberry juice give you one of summer's favorite cocktails -- "sex on the beach."

  • Absinthe
  • Cachaca
  • Triple sec
  • Melon liqueur

Juices and mixers

Summer's the perfect time to enjoy ice cold blended drinks like pina coladas (rum + coconut cream + pineapple juice + crushed ice) and fizzy drinks like gin fizz. Vodka mixed with fruit juice is also a crowd pleaser. If you like your cocktails on the skinny side, add a splash of seltzer water to spritz up the flavor and cut down on calories.

  • Seltzer water
  • Simple syrup
  • Tonic water
  • Lemonade
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Peach juice
  • Coconut cream

Wine

Every bar needs a few bottles of good wine -- a sparkling wine or champagne and a red and white option. Try making a fizzy wine spritzer by mixing seltzer water with chardonnay, peach juice and honey. Serve over ice and propose a toast to summer fun in the sun.

  • Prosecco or champagne
  • Pinot noir
  • Chardonnay

Tool

You don't need many tools to craft delicious summer cocktails. Here are the basics you'll need for crushing, measuring and mixing.

  • Muddler
  • Jigger or shot glass
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Tall spoon
  • Cork screw

Presentation

Make your summer cocktails look fabulous with these “accessories.”

Now that you've stocked your summer bar, what are you going to make? Share your favorite summer sips in the comments section below!

One of our favorite Food Network stars, Alton Brown, shares his bar stocking tips:

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