Home Bar: Fun Ideas for Happy Hour

The well-equipped home bar – consider this a class in how to set one up. And we’re talking the really well-equipped home bar here, with accoutrements you maybe didn’t even know existed. So, first, we have to make sure you’ve got the basics covered. You need (minimally) these items below for your bar before you start fancying it up like a rock star.

  • Bar Mops (towels)
  • Blender
  • Can Opener
  • Citrus Squeezer
  • Cloths (for wiping spills)
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Corkscrew
  • Cutting Board
  • Grater/Zester
  • Ice Bucket
  • Jigger (measure)
  • Strainer
  • Tongs (for ice and fruit)

If you’re just starting out, do yourself a favor and order a bartending kit for the basics – it will save you a lot of time.

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Starter set for the home bar
Buy the Mitbak Bartender Kit

This one even includes whiskey stones and steel straws. Once you’ve got that sorted out, you can start assembling some gourmet cocktail accessories for  your home bar. Is it five 5 o’clock yet?

Fun with Ice

There are some pretty imaginative ice molds out there. This is my favorite: Buddha in your booze – a little zen while you unwind.

Buddha at your home bar
Buy the Buddha Ice Mold

I actually have this one and it’s fantastic. It looks best with a colored liquor, like scotch. Plus it’s a large cube so it melts much slower. (An aside, if you insist on using him with a clear liquor – just add some food coloring.)

The Buddha ice cube is also great for displaying anything you’d like to keep cool – maybe in amongst a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries? Versatile fellow, the Buddha. But you can’t beat him in your drink.

Buddha Ice Mold for the home bar
Buy the Buddha Ice Mold

The Laughing Buddha silicone mold makes four Buddhas at a time – use it for ice cubes (our primary concern today) but also soaps, candles, bath bombs – even baking or candy making. After all, it’s silicone. And he’s the Buddha. Almost 2 inches tall! 

Be there or be square – cubes for the home bar

Oversized square cubes are also perfect for cocktails and sodas. They melt much slower (at 2″ square!) and your drink is less watered down. Not to mention, you don’t have to refresh the ice cubes nearly as often. You get maximum efficiency for your cube use.

Oversize Ice Cubes for the home bar
Buy the Ticent Large Ice Cube Tray

The silicone set makes 12 cubes (six per tray). They really are a colossal size when used for an ‘on the rocks” drink. You only need one. There are also large spheres available. The larger the cube, the longer it lasts. A must for the well-equipped home bar.

Square Ice Cubes
Buy the Ticent Large Ice Cube Tray

Now I’ve heard of everything …

Herb & Lou’s infused ice-cubes are next up. Yes, that’s right, ice cubes that are already infused for you and ready to pop in the freezer.

Ready to freeze
Buy Herb & Lou’s Blood Orange Ginger Infusion Six Pack

A sheet of six cubes with peel-off tops, easy to remove one by one. Shown above is The Cooper 6 pack — Blood Orange-Ginger Old Fashioned, imagined for bourbon. Also available: Cucumber-Watermelon (Tequila), Peach (Vodka). If botanicals and infusions are your thing, this line is worth a try.

Molded to the glass – whiskey elegance at your home bar

The Whiskey Wedge - elegant home bar
Buy the Wedge Whiskey Glass

The Whiskey Wedge Glass – the ice is a wedge that’s frozen inside a silicone mold that is custom to your glass (it’s a two-piece set). How artistic (and efficient) is that? It looks sleek and does a fantastic job of keeping your drink cold without watering it down.

Also available in a two-pack.

The ice mold shot glass

Ice Shots
Buy the Fred Cool Ice Mold Shot Glasses

The Fred Cool shot glass silicone mold comes in a tray of four. The only question is, what do you do once the shot is gone? Use it for an ice cube in a cocktail? Put it in a plant to slowly water it? In any event, it would certainly keep vodka shots cold.


Champagne dreams … a taste of Paris for your home bar

Paris Cafe at the home bar
Buy the Champagne Sugar Cube Set

Just drop one in a glass of champagne … Poof! Instant mimosas (or bellinis) as the champagne dissolves the cube and releases the flavor. Choose from Peach, Raspberry & Strawberry or Acadia Orange, Grapefruit and Lemon. These sets make a lovely hostess gift and if you’re staying longer than dinner – add a bottle of bubbly to go with it! And if you’re staying a month, better pick up some champagne glasses, too.


Wine Decanters

Wine decanter for your home bar
Buy the Pour Over Wine Decanter

I bought one of these for some dear friends as a gift a couple of years ago and they love it. They use it every time they open a bottle of red wine. It’s a very well designed piece of kit – and looks great on the table.

There’s a Snake on the table …

Wine decanter
Buy the Mamba Wine Decanter

Doesn’t this one look like a snake? Sure, it’s a wine decanter but it’s also art. There are some gorgeous pieces out there to help you set a stunning table with wine. Forget those boring, simple glass decanters! Be bold!

Spirit Decanters for the Home Bar

He’s got the whole world in his hands …

Atlas Spirit Decanter for the home bar
Buy the Atlas decanter

Do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Maybe this Atlas decanter can help  – let him take some of the weight for a while. The globe is handblown and lead free and holds 1 litre of your favorite libation.

Blast off at the home bar

Adler decanters
Buy Jonathan Adler Rocketship Decanters

As Jonathan Adler says, “The perfect pour starts with posh drink and barware”. And he’s so right. These are perfect for the home bar. These Adler rocketship decanters are ready to help you blast off into an elegant cocktail hour.

Adler's Rocketships for the home bar
Buy Jonathan Adler Rocketship Decanters

Available for whatever spirit moves you – these rocketship dispensers are guaranteed to take your happy hour to the next level.

Etc. & Assorted for the Home Bar

Mary, Mary, quite contrary …

Home Bar Bloody Mary Branch
Buy the Bloody Mary branch from Uncommon Goods

We’ve all seen Instagram photos of Bloody Marys with so many garnishes, you could eat three meals from them. Now you can try it at home!

Headlimes – why didn’t I think of that?

Buy the HeadLIME lime cocktail squeezer

This is a very cool way to add that optional lime (or lemon) to a guest’s beer or cocktail. Wait until you see their faces when you serve them lime like this!


Got Time on Your Hands?

Who doesn’t? Why not try a Virtual Happy Hour on Zoom or Facetime with your friends? Make a date to try some craft cocktail mixology. There are plenty of books and kits to guide you. We love the kits, ourselves. It’s like having your own prep-chef, but for happy hour!

Crafty cocktails for the home bar
Buy Virtual Happy Hour Cocktail Kits

Virtual Happy Hour is a trend now! We love it. It’s pretty cute that the Moscow Mule kit comes in a copper tin, no?


The Cocktail Garden Trend is Growing

Grow herbs for your own home bar
Buy Grow Cocktails Kit

Your Grow Cocktails Kit includes: 6 packages of Heirloom Seeds, Starter Soil, Wooden Plant Stakes, Growing Instructions, Pencil & 100% Recycled Fiber Egg Carton Planter. Grow fresh herbs for the home bar.

Relax. Enjoy. Be Happy. Garden.


Infusions and Flavorings

Gin & Tonic

Botanicals for the home bar
Buy Gin & Tonic Botanical Infusions

Infusions – they’re the “in thing” these days. And there are many types of botanicals for gin and other spirits, such as whiskey and vodka. No home bar would be respectable these days without a botanicals kit.


Whiskey & Wood for the Home Bar

Home Bar Whisky Infusion

Buy the Whiskey Infusion KitThis is a fantastic DIY flavoring it. Experiment with three types of oak and six herbs & spices to give your mix a truly personal touch. Botanicals are 100% natural, freshly sourced and come in glass tubes with real corks.


Wood right in your Whiskey


Aged whisky wood for the home bar
Buy the Oak Infusion Spiral
Buy Barrel Aged in a Bottle Oak Infusion Spiral

Wow, you actually age your own whisky with this product (and it’s not expensive at all). Whoever thought of this was genius. Barrell-aged flavor, one bottle at a time. Simply add one infusion spiral stick to a standard bottle – flavor will be completely extracted at two weeks.



Whisky infusion
Buy the Oak Infusion Spiral

We Saved the Best for Last for your Home Bar


Gourmet Smoking cloche for the gourmet home bar
Buy the Gourmet Smoking Cloche

I have to tell you, we saved the best for last. The Gourmet’s Smoking Cloche is seriously the Pièce De Résistance. And made for the true cocktail connoisseur. Imagine a smoky bourbon sidecar. Or a smoky mojito. Enough said. Except that this sells out regularly, so if you really want it, grab it now.

So, that’s our roundup of cool bar accouterments for the home bar – especially important to have some fun when you’re home a lot like we are these days.

If you’ve found some cool things, do send them along to us and we’ll feature them!

In the meantime, Cheers, Slainte, Salud, Prost, Skål and any I missed!

Written by Beverley Wood

Beverley Wood has lived on boats in Toronto and Vancouver and in an old hacienda in Mexico. She knows funky when she sees it. She's been writing since she was old enough to pick up a pen and has never shied away from the unusual or the whimsical. Her love of the unique (and sometimes bizarre) led her to Captivatist.