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Say Cheers! Here's Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Home Bar

September 21, 2023 at 4:18 PM PST
Home Home Bar

Say Cheers! Here's Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Home Bar

September 21, 2023 at 4:18 PM PST

Happy hour at your favorite spot is nice. But happy hour in the comfort of your own home is the move, especially when you can make your own specials, and decide when it’s closing time. That’s the beauty of curating the perfect home bar experience, plus, it comes in handy when entertaining guests! Get ready to tap into your inner mixologist and explore the art of stocking and styling your personal home bar.

Pick the Perfect Spot

The first step in creating your personal pub is finding the right space in your home to set up. It should be a place that’s easily accessible and allows for comfortable seating and mingling, unless you want a more intimate experience.

In that case, any area, even in your bedroom could easily work. Otherwise, you might want to dedicate a corner in your living room, setting up a bar cart, or if you’re feeling wild, convert a small spare room into your very own cocktail lounge.

Shelves of liquor
Photography Credit: Chris F

Stocking the Essentials

At the very minimum, you’ll need a well-curated selection of spirits, mixers, and tools. Here’s a checklist of essentials to get you started:

Liquor Selection

Your liquor selection should cover a range of spirits, including:

  • Whiskey: Bourbon, Scotch, and Rye
  • Vodka: Classic and flavored options
  • Gin: London Dry and botanical varieties
  • Rum: Light, dark, and spiced
  • Tequila: Blanco and Reposado
  • Liqueurs: Vermouth, Triple Sec, and others for cocktails
Specialty cocktail with garnish
Photography Credit: Olena Bohovyk

Mixers and Garnishes

Having a variety of mixers like soda, tonic water, and fruit juices is important if you’re making cocktails or want to experiment to create new signature drinks. Don’t forget to stock up on fresh ingredients for garnishing, such as lemons, mint, limes, cherries, and olives.

Bar Tools

Load up on quality bar tools, including a shaker, jigger, muddler, strainer, and a set of stylish glasses. They’re not exactly necessary, but if you’re going for the full bar experience, they’re nice-to-haves. At the very minimum, you’ll want glasses dedicated to serving your drinks.

Stylish Decor

Your home bar is all about you, and if you’ve ever dreamt of owning your own bar, now’s your chance to design it all your own. Here are some ideas:

  • Install shelves to showcase your liquor collection
  • Hang tasteful artwork, vintage, or neon signs
  • Add ambient lighting with pendant lights or candles
  • Incorporate comfortable seating, like bar stools or cozy chairs

Learn the Classics

Mastering classic cocktails is an essential step in becoming a skilled home bartender.

These timeless recipes have stood the test of time and are beloved by cocktail enthusiasts worldwide. Here’s a closer look at a few classic cocktails and tips on how to perfect them:

The Martini

The martini is the epitome of sophistication. To make a classic martini, you’ll need gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and a twist of lemon or an olive for garnish. Experiment with the ratio of gin to vermouth to find your preferred level of dryness.

Shake or stir the ingredients with ice until well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Remember, the choice of gin or vodka and the garnish can greatly influence the flavor of your Martini.

The Old Fashioned

This cocktail is all about simplicity and flavor. To craft an Old Fashioned, muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of Angostura bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Add a large ice cube and your choice of bourbon or rye whiskey.

Stir gently and garnish with a twist of orange peel and a cherry. The key to a great Old Fashioned is using quality whiskey and achieving the right balance of sweetness and bitterness.

The Margarita

For a Margarita, you’ll need tequila, triple sec, and fresh lime juice. To achieve the perfect balance, use a 2:1:1 ratio of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Shake all the ingredients with ice, then strain into a salt-rimmed glass.

Garnish with a lime wheel. Experiment with different tequilas and explore variations like the spicy Jalapeño Margarita or the fruity Mango Margarita.

Mason jar cocktail with straws
Photography Credit: Lisa Fotios

Experiment with Signature Drinks

While classics are the foundation of mixology, creating your signature cocktails can be incredibly rewarding. Here’s how to go about it:
Start by thinking about the flavors you enjoy. Do you prefer sweet, sour, or savory? Consider herbs, spices, and fruit combinations that appeal to your palate.

You’ll want to incorporate fun flavors, but don’t forget, the perfect cocktail is all about balance. Practice different recipes to make sure your drinks have the right combination of sweet, sour, and bitter elements.
Finally, give your signature cocktails a unique name that reflects its ingredients or a personal story.

Presentation Matters

The visual appeal of your cocktails can elevate the overall drinking experience. Have fun with unique garnishes like edible flowers, edible glitter and fragrant herbs. They add their own unique flavors and make your cocktails Instagram-worthy.

You’ll also ideally want a variety of glassware. These can include highball, rocks, and coupe glasses. Different cocktails are traditionally served in specific types of glassware to enhance their flavors. You also don’t overlook the importance of ice. Large, clear ice cubes not only look elegant but also melt more slowly, preventing dilution of your carefully crafted cocktails.



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