No better way to come home and relax than enjoying a drink at your cocktail bar. Even if you don’t drink, having one will make it way easier to entertain guests. A proper home bar is something which every well-established adult should have in their homes. It isn’t just for drinking from because the bar can be a design element for your home as well. But setting up a stylish and eye-catching the cocktail bar at home takes time, money and effort. Not everyone can do it in a way which makes them lose out excessively on all three. So if you are a beginner and don’t have much of an idea on how to go about it, then here’s a guide for setting up your home’s cocktail bar.
The Bar Cart
Bar carts are trending nowadays and it’s hard to spot a space without one. But know that you do need room to have them. They make for an amazing area for drink mixing and they also have a very informal feel to them so that guests will be able to make their own if needed. Here’s a tip: If your bar cart stays open then make sure you don’t make it look cluttered or messy. Make it a point to organize it well.
The Subtle Tray
A console table or the surface of a bookshelf or bookcase can very easily be transformed into a bar. All you have to do is arrange it by the category like putting the spirits on one shelf and the glasses on another. If you don’t have a full bookshelf to dedicate to your spirits, then just make sure to put a tray on top of a much smaller piece of furniture. If you don’t want to draw too much attention to the bartending tools, then ensure that the wall decor and art are eye-catching.
The Built-in Wet Bar
If you have a bar with a sink at your home, then you are already one step ahead of others in your way to become a famed mixologist. Along with this, you should also make sure that you have a bar towel handy and also place a little trash can under the sink. This will be useful when you will be washing glasses or making use of fresh ingredients. Such care in setting up the bar and thinking ahead of the results of making drinks will surely impress your guests.
Bitters are actually a form of high proof alcohol which is infused with herbs, spices, and roots. These are used in small quantities as botanical additives to drinks. You will find a lot of bitters available now which range from coffee bitters to rhubarb ones at your nearby liquor store.
After you have the base ready with a place to make the drinks at, it’s time to stock your bar with drinks which you enjoy. But before we tell you which drinks which you should definitely keep here are some tips:
- As a beginner don’t stock up with drinks which you don’t like because even if guests keep on coming and going from your home, your cocktail bar’s primary customer will always be you.
- Don’t buy everything all at once because liquor is really expensive. So you should begin small. You don’t need to open up a whole bar in your house to impress guests and neither do you need to serve one amazing drink after another to win them over. All you need in just one great drink mix to impress them.
Here are some drinks which are classic and you should have in some quantity in your home cocktail bar:
- White Rum
- Scotch Whisky
- Bourbon Whiskey
- Dark Rum
After stocking up on some essential drinks, it’s time to get the glassware and other instruments ready to finally begin crafting your cocktail.
- Jigger: The drinks you will be putting in a cocktail needs to be measured perfectly. There are some cocktail bars which have professionals who can accurately guess the amount being put in it. But if you are not a glass guessing gifted professional then you will definitely need a jigger. Jiggers will let you get precise measurements because there are markings on them which will tell you how much you are pouring. Remember that a cocktail taste depends on the quantity of the drinks you put in it. So don’t scrimp on a jigger and make sure that you have one even if you think that each of your drinks will be perfectly put.
- A Small and Large Tin: These are obviously for shaking the cocktails. Know that when you are giving your cocktail a shake, you are diluting it, chilling it and making little bubbles as well. There are two ways of shaking drinks. One, you can shake the drink like a salt shaker and it will be diluted, chilled and taste like the way it’s supposed to. But if you want to get the froth as you see in daiquiri’s then you will have to shake like you are The Flash making drinks. Here’s a tip: Don’t use a pint glass for shaking since they are heavy. If it slips out of your grip and flies in your guest’s face then it will surely be a painful situation for all.
- Pint Glass: But you are still going to need pint glasses. That’s because these will be what you will have to use to stir drinks like martinis and Manhattans. Know that these drinks always have to be stirred not shaken since they don’t contain any citrus ingredients which need to be aerated or made frothy. Also, make a note that there is no difference in the end product you get from stirring using a pint compared to stirring in a fancy mixing glass. Don’t keep a fancy mixing glass to impress guests, save your money and instead let your cocktail do the impressing.
- Strainers: Being a beginner you will surely love to both shake and stir your drinks. Vigorous stirring in the hands of an amateur will surely break up the ice in little pieces which shouldn’t ideally go in your drink. You will have to then strain out those ice chips for your drink to taste flawless and smooth unless you love munching on ice that is.
- A Bar Spoon or Chopstick: As you might have discerned, this is for stirring the drinks. Stirring takes skill and if you do master it then you should be damn proud of yourself. But if you are out of options and looking for a stirrer then the handle of a spoon works just as well. A chopstick works really good too.
- Big Cube Tray: Yes your beloved fridge does make ice and chill your beer. But that ice won’t last long while you will be making the drink and it definitely won’t last for the time it takes to finish the drink. This is why Big Cube tray is needed. The ice here is harder and will survive any pounding or breaking you give to it to get the desired pieces.
Stock thee mixers you love to have. These will help you experiment more but as always don’t buy everything at once and instead pace yourself. These are the mixers which you should have- Soda water, Fresh juice, Ginger beer, cola, sprite and tonic water. Remember, the drink will taste better when fresh ingredients are added in.
Want healthy mixers for your drink? See this Cosmopolitan article.
Lemon, sugar cubes, limes or fine white sugar are things which must be there in your kitchen generally. It will be more beneficial if you also have a mint and basil plant too so that you can make herbal cocktails as well. Other garnishes like thyme, olives, and sage also work well.
Here are some tips to help you out at a party:
- Don’t overserve. You will be doing no one a favor by making them drunk faster. If a recipe needs 1½ oz. of vodka then use just that amount. Don’t exceed 2oz of liquor for any drink you are making.
- Make sure that you have a beer, punch, colas, lime water, and juice available for the light drinkers. A good host always takes care of all guests.
- Make use of fresh and clean ice and fruit. Use tongs scoop or a large spoon to serve fruits and ice. Don’t use your hands.
- You can also chill the glasses and bring them out only a few minutes before the party starts.
- If you don’t have things called bottle pourers with you then rub up the waxed paper on the tip of the liquor bottles so as to prevent dripping.
- Make sure that you close the bar an hour or so before the party ends. This will officially signal that the party is over.
Having a well-stocked bar with the necessary ingredients will let you start making cocktails which you and your guests will be able to enjoy. This will make you the famous bartender amongst others and you will also be able to have the drinks you want, always.