Ina Garten’s 9 Home Bar Essentials

Want an Ina Garten-approved home bar to go with a Barefoot Contessa bloody mary? The best-selling cookbook author recommends keeping a handful of essentials on-hand to make drinks. In true Barefoot Contessa fashion, the Food Network star’s suggestions are simple and classic. 

Ina Garten doesn’t drink much

Ina Garten stands behind a bar and pours alcohol from a cocktail shaker into a martini glass on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers'
Ina Garten on Late Night with Seth Meyers | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Even though she shares cocktail recipes on Barefoot Contessa and in her cookbooks, Garten doesn’t have a drink with dinner every night. As she told Page Six after her giant Cosmopolitan recipe went viral on Instagram in 2020, she doesn’t drink much. 

“I think I spend more time talking about cocktails than I do actually drinking them,” she told the outlet with a laugh. 

The Barefoot Contessa continued, saying she doesn’t give herself a generous pour of wine. As for cocktails, those are an occasional thing.

“I have a little glass of wine and that’s basically all I need, and a cocktail once in a while,” she said. 

So while Garten can make the perfect cocktail — her trick to use a measuring cup — she doesn’t imbibe regularly.  

The Barefoot Contessa bar set up is classic

Ina Garten toasts with a glass of wine while she dines with Willie Geist on October 10, 2018
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Forget trendy cocktail ingredients. The Barefoot Contessa suggests sticking to a handful of classics. As part of Ask Ina, where Garten answers questions from fans on her Barefoot Contessa website, the cookbook author shared what exactly she keeps her bar stocked with at her home in East Hampton, New York

A fan asked, “What kind of beverage and spirits are essential for stocking a home mini bar?”

Garten replied with a brief list of her home bar staples. 

“I usually have Scotch, vodka, bourbon and gin,” she said. 

Beyond those four items, she said “it’s always good to have a red and white wine on hand.”

“For mixed drinks, I would stock tonic, club soda and ginger ale,” she added.  

Just in case friends come over for drinks, the Barefoot Contessa suggested keeping the house stocked with something they like. 

“If you have room for more, add what you think your friends like to drink– rum, tequila, etc,” she said. 

That’s nine items — wine (red and white), Scotch, gin, bourbon, vodka, tonic, club soda, ginger ale — not including a little something extra for friends. 

Garten’s bar essentials are the foundation for many drinks

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The beauty of the Barefoot Contessa’s home bar essentials is their versatility. Once again, Garten proves food — or in this case, alcohol — doesn’t have to be complicated. Be ready for a cocktail party with just a few items.

Use bourbon to make Garten’s favorite cocktail, a whiskey sour. Keep a bowl of fresh citrus fruit nearby — Garten keeps lemons on the counter — for more flavor or garnish. Have tequila in the house for when friends come over? Whip up a batch of the Barefoot Contessa’s margaritas.