Do you have a home bar where you entertain friends and family? If so, having a bar set up correctly is important to host properly and please your guests. Ask your inner circle of friends and family what they like to drink. Then, stock up on the necessary spirits, mixers, and garnishes. Yes, garnishes are important. After all, what is a martini without olives or lemon twist? However, if you have no idea what some guests may like, try to have the basics on hands. You’ll likely be able to make most happy.
You’ll need to know the best investments and get some quality liquor. Yet, before we go into the spirits you’ll need, let’s talk about the setup and arrangement of your home bar. Use a tablecloth to cover the bar and keep cool, unique cocktail napkins.
Every home bar should have enough glasses on hand without having to worry about washing them if you run out. Disposable cups are an option, but they should be that hard plastic with different shapes that mimic real bar glasses.
For designated drivers, make soft drinks available either on the bar or behind the bar to satisfy them.
You’ll need essential accessories in order to make a proper drink such as aluminum mixer glasses, a strainer, and ice. Why not go all out and buy a blender especially for those iced blended drinks that some guests may desire.
- Rum – regular and flavored
- Brandy – regular and flavored
- Vermouth for martinis.
- White and red wine.
- Bottled beer or coolers.
- Club Soda
- Simple Syrup
- Cranberry Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Ginger Ale
- Orange Juice
- Apple Juice
- Grapefruit Juice
- Tonic Water
- Bloody Mary Mix
- Fresh Mint
- Maraschino Cherries
You certainly don’t have to have every single thing listed above, but they’re options for you. Some spirits are meant to be sipped slowly while others are usually drunk normally.
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Some Drinks to Serve at Your Home Bar
Liquors such as whiskeys and vodkas can be made straight up (neat) or on the rocks (with ice). Some people prefer it without ice but chilled. This is where your aluminum glass and strainer come into play. Simply fill the glass with ice and the chosen liquor, shake well, and strain into a glass.
Martini – Martinis are generally made with vodka or gin and vermouth and garnished with olives or a lemon twist. If ordered dry, put in less vermouth than a regular martini.
Gin & Tonic – Gin is mixed with tonic water or club soda if preferred with ice and a slice of lemon or lime.
Manhattan – Mix whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters on the rocks with a cherry garnish.
Screwdriver – Mix vodka and orange juice on ice.
Margarita – Combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in an aluminum shaker filled with ice. Moisten the rim of a Margarita glass with lime juice or water. Holding glass upside down, dip the rim into salt. Shake and strain the drink into the glass and serve.
Malibu Bay Breeze – Add ice cubes to a chilled short glass. Add Malibu rum, cranberry juice, and pineapple. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Bloody Mary – Mix vodka and the Bloody Mary mix in a tall glass with ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Remember, you don’t have to buy everything in one fell swoop. To build a home bar, buy the necessary ingredients for the cocktails that you like to drink. After all, it is your bar, and you’ll likely use it much more for yourself than entertaining guests. Decide on what you really like to drink and get what’s needed.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Building a home bar can be really fun and rather personal. Arrange it how you like it because ultimately you’ll be using it the most. A home bar doesn’t have to resemble an actual bar with stools. Having a table or tray with liquor displayed is just as good.[/perfectpullquote]
You’ll need to have regular sources of ice and refrigeration just as real bars in restaurants have. Do you prefer to have a full-scale bar or more customized to suit your needs? You can equip it with all of the items needed for a wide array of cocktails or downsize it with just basic necessities for average drinks and refreshments.
When buying different brands of spirits, pay attention to the quality. Would you like to Fstock your home bar with top shelf liquor? If so, it’s definitely more expensive, but you’ll likely impress your guests. The best way to figure out what extras you’ll need, such as garnishes, decide what your limit will be in terms of what you’ll offer your guests. Do you want to use any of the recipes in the above list? Check out the ingredients you’ll need for each and stock up.
Be sure you have all of the bar accessories needed for the types of drinks you plan to have available. This includes a stainless steel cup and strainer for chilled drinks without ice. The mixing glass and shakers are widely available. You have the option of buying little 1-ounce measuring cups so you know how much liquor to put in the shaker. Having larger ice cubes on hand allows for slower dilution. The looks of them are a bonus.
Choose clear drinking glasses in different shapes and sizes such as wine glasses, tall glasses, and short glasses.
Above all, enjoy setting up your home bar and revel in what you’ve accomplished. You and your guests will enjoy it for years to come.
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