How to Stock Your Bar for Game Day
Beer: You’ll need this. You know your friends' tastes (and appetites) better than we do, but if you have enough drinkers, a small keg (or a large keg) makes everything more festive. Check out our beer buying guide for more.
Cider: This is optional, but it seems like everyone has one gluten-free friend, and it's nice to have on hand. If you don't anticipate much interest, a six-pack would be more useful than a 750-mL bottle, which will go flat once it's opened.
Liquors: If you're serving punch, you'll need whatever goes in there. Then pick a couple of the following to have on hand: vodka, gin, whiskey, rum or tequila.
Other strong things: You probably don't need much in the way of liqueurs for a game day party. Consider orange liqueur for margaritas (if you can afford it, go with brand-name over generic Triple Sec) and sweet vermouth for Manhattans.
Spicy and savory: These items are handy for micheladas, pickle backs and Bloody Marys. Stock up on your preferred hot sauce, pickle juice, olive brine, tomato juice, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.
Mixers: Buy juice, tonic, club soda and other soda, too, if that's your thing. Get little bottles, as 2-liter bottles can go flat before they are drained.
Bitters: If you're making cocktails, bitters will come in handy. Angostura and Peychaud's are the easiest to find; artisan options are available in gourmet/specialty stores (by law, not in liquor stores in some states, as they're considered a food item) or online.
Ice: You'll need lots of ice—half pound per person if you're serving cocktails, less for just beer.
Equipment: Get more bottle openers and corkscrews than you think you need; they always go missing. A cocktail shaker or mixing glass doesn't hurt either.