A home bar is essential for people who love to entertain or even just for people who enjoy having a special drink in the evening. You can set up a distinct bar area or just stock a cupboard so that you have what you need when you are craving a drink. Here’s a look at the top essentials you need for a quality home bar.
A Guide to Cocktails
Unless you’ve got a lot of experience working behind a bar, you probably need a recipe book of cocktails. You can find a range of options in most book stores near the cookbooks, or you can order one online.
If you decide to use a website for your drink recipes, consider finding a site that you like and sticking to it. If you haven’t vetted a site, it’s impossible to know if the recipe is really going to work. A lot of user-generated cocktail recipes are online, and they aren’t always vetted for quality.
Of course, you need alcohol. Ideally, you should have the basics such as vodka, gin and white and gold rum. Vodka works for Bloody Mary cocktails, Vodka Martinis, Long Island Ice Teas, Screwdrivers and a range of other mixed concoctions. Gin is the cornerstone of many martinis, Negronis, Gimlets and, of course, the classic gin and tonic. Rum lets you make Daiquiris, Mojitos and Pina Coladas as well as hot buttered rums.
Finally, round out the flavor profile of your bar with something deep and rich. Choose from whiskey, bourbon or scotch. Those are all very similar spirits with a few small differences.
Bourbon and scotch are both types of whiskey, but the first is made in the United States (often in Kentucky) and the latter is made in Scotland. Another difference is in the manufacturing process. For instance, scotch tends to be made with malted barley, and bourbon features corn. You really only need one of these spirits in your home bar, but if you have friends with a strong preference for one or the other, you may want to stock all three.
For mixers, you need sweet and dry vermouth, bitters, Cointreau and simple syrup. These ingredients let you make a huge range of popular cocktails. You can buy simple syrup or make your own by boiling water with equal amounts of sugar until it’s dissolved.
Finally, buy various juices and sodas. Get small cans so that you can store them for a long time and open them as needed.
To finish off a quality cocktail, you need garnish. Salt and pepper are ideal for seasoning, but you should also have some sprigs of mint or whichever herbs are in your favorite cocktails. Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges are also essential. Finally, finish it all off with olives and a jar of cherries.
Tools and Gadgets
Making cocktails requires the right tools. Ideally, you need a cocktail shaker, a shot glass to measure your spirits and a cocktail spoon to stir or layer drinks. A muddler can help you get the flavor out of herbs, a peeler lets you create spiral garnishes out of fruit peels and a knife helps you cut up wedges of fruit.
You also need glassware to serve the drinks. Start with some lowball or old-fashioned glasses and some highballs or even tall water glasses for long cocktails. Make sure you have some martini glasses on hand for guests who like that. Finally, if you plan to serve wine, white and red wineglasses finish off the list of essentials.
Ready to stock your home bar? Want some help picking out the best spirits and supplies? Then head down to Cellar Dwellers today. We have the products and expertise you need.0