February 24th is World Bartender Day and, after this past year, we appreciate bartenders more than ever!
With bars closed across the country, many of us found ourselves mixing up our own drinks over our kitchen sink. After months of dealing with a makeshift bar, perhaps it is time to create a real home bar.
Here are five things you must have to make the perfect home bar.
The (Home) Bar
The key difference between having a home bar or just a well-stocked home is having a dedicated bar space. Have a home bar in your house? Great! If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of creative ways to create one. If space allows, a large wooden side bar is a strong contender for the real thing. Bar carts are a trendy, cost-efficient option for smaller spaces. Up for a DIY project? Repurpose an old piece of furniture such as a dresser or tv stand into a side bar.
When it comes to alcohol beverages, not all drinks fit one glass. In fact, there are scientific reasons why drinks are better in certain glasses. For instance, tall, narrow champagne glasses are designed to preserve its bubbles and red wine glasses have a stem to prevent your hand from altering the wine’s ideal temperature.
Although having the right glass is important, we aren’t saying you need to buy every type of glass out there. Instead, invest in a few high-quality glasses that cater to the drinks you and your guests enjoy most.
Ever notice those crazy-looking contraptions bartenders use? Yes, they look very cool, but not all of them are necessary. While you’re building up your home bar and bartending skills, stick with the basics.
The must-have bar tools include:
- A Bottle Opener
- A Corkscrew
- A Shaker
- A Strainer
- Long Stirring Spoons
- A Bar Prep Cutting Board
- An Ice Cube Set or Whiskey Stones
- Jiggers in a Few Different Sizes
- A Mixology Recipe Book
The best thing about a home bar is that they always have your favorite drink! The types of alcohol to stock your home bar with is completely up to you! Be sure to always have your favorites, but also bottles to create drinks for your guests.
Here are the types of alcohol you should have in stock so you can make popular drinks: vodka, gin, light and dark rum, vermouth, whiskey and bourbon.
A few good white and red wine options and a variety of beers are also essential.
Mixers + Garnishes
Just like the alcohol, the types of mixers and garnishes you keep are your choice. Always keep a fresh inventory of the ingredients required to create your favorite drinks. When hosting guests, stock up on garnishes and mixers needed to make popular drinks. These may include fresh lemon and limes, juices (cranberry, orange, pineapple and tomato), bitters, sour mix, grenadine, club soda, tonic water, cola and ginger ale.
Show off your home bartending skills by using garnishes to enhance the flavor or simply style the glass. Common garnishes include sugar or salt for the glass rim, lemons, limes or oranges, olives, maraschino cherries, fresh mint leaves and whipped cream.
Keep in mind that the saying “some things get better with age” does not apply to mixers and garnishes. You will need to keep an eye on expiration dates and the condition of fruits, vegetables and other perishable items.