My Bar Rules! How to Set-up a Winning Home Bar

Ok so we all like entertaining at home and we have probably pimped out our kitchen like Master Chef. But what about the liquid side of home entertainment? How do we become Master Mixologists?

1. Build a Bar!

t’s not as hard as it sounds.  Check out this video from Woodford Reserve on how to make a bar from warehouse pallets.

The other and perhaps easiest way to setup a bar at home is to incorporate it into your kitchen.  All you need is a storage cabinet or 2 and a dedicated bar fridge.

2. Essential Spirits for a Home Bar

When it comes to choosing spirits for a home bar, the choice can be a little overwhelming. Are you into gin, bourbon or rum? We look at the basics and what you need to know to select the essential spirits for a home bar then build on the collection

  1. Cognac. For sidecars, brandy milk punches, crustas, daisies, and smashes.
  2. White Rum. For daiquiris and mojitos.
  3. Gin. For martinis, gin and tonics, Tom Collinses, etc.
  4. Bourbon. For Manhattans, old fashioneds, and whiskey sours.
  5. Vodka. … Everything, but especially Cosmopolitans
  6. Tequila. For Margaritas of course!

3. Essential Mixers and Modifiers for a Home Bar

You most likely have mixers at home such as tonic water and soda water. Modifiers are a broad category ranging from syrups and vermouth to bitters.

If you want the top shelf bar experience at home, you really should splash out on top shelf mixers with brands such as Fever Tree, East Imperial, Capi and Fentimans.

For modifiers you will need vermouth, bitters and sugar syrup (make up on your home stove equal parts sugar and water).

4. Essential Bar Tools for a Home Bar

Whether you prefer stirred drinks or shaken cocktails, no home bar would be complete without bar tools. Here are the most important bar tools you need when setting up a home bar including how to use them.

1. Cocktail Shaker

Used for shaking drinks, cocktail shakers mainly come in three types. The Boston Shaker has a tin and a Boston glass and is what you often see in bars. It can be more cumbersome to use for the home bar beginner. The Cobbler Shaker or a three piece shaker has a metal tin, a lid with in-built strainer and a cap and allows you to shake then strain. The Parisian Cocktail Shaker  is a two piece shaker without the integrated strainer. Aside from aesthetics, you get more control out of using a Hawthorn or Julep strainer than the in-built one.

2. Mixing Glass

The Mixing Glass is used for stirring drinks. Some mixing glasses like the elegant 500ml Japanese Mixing Glass with cut-crystal come with a pouring spout for smooth pouring.

3. Jigger

A Jigger is a liquid measuring tool that is essential for accuracy. Various styles include the popular hourglass Japanese style double-ended jigger which can hold 30/60 ml and also comes in 15/30 ml.

4. Hawthorn Strainer

The Hawthorn Strainer is a metal tool with a spring coil that fits over a mixing glass or a shaker used to strain drinks and trap ice and solids. The spring fits snugly around a shaker, and less so around a mixing glass. It serves another purpose which is to control the amount of liquid you are pouring.

5. Citrus Juicer

The Citrus Juicer or Mexican Elbow is a handy tool that makes juicing a lot quicker and easier. Cut the citrus in half, put the cut half side down and squeeze. It fits lime, lemons and small oranges.

6. Bar Spoon

The Bar Spoon is used for stirring as well as a measure for small amounts . Its long handle ensures it reaches the bottom of the mixing glass while the twirled shaft helps it to move better around the glass. Some bar spoons come with a fork at the other end used for picking up garnishes such as olives.

7. Pourer

Essential for not wasting any precious liquid, the Pourer is an inexpensive tool that fits on the neck of the bottle and allows for easy pouring and less spillage.

8. Muddler

A Muddler is used to crush or muddle ingredients together in the bottom of a mixing glass, a cocktail shaker or a heavy bottomed glass, such as muddling citrus, sugar and mint for a Mojito.

5. Essential Glassware for a Home Bar

For everyday use in your home bar and to complete bringing the bar culture into your own home, you only need six or eight of each of these three basic types: a short glass, a tall glass, and a stem. Easy!

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