Does anything create the illusion of ‘at-home’ luxury quite like the home bar? Sure, maybe we can’t afford the big fancy swimming pool out back or the massive home theater system, but who needs that stuff when we can pour ourselves a cocktail on a Wednesday night and drink it from a fancy crystal glass!
Of course, if you going to make the effort (and cash spent stocking the shelves with liquor), you may as well do it properly and so when planning the ultimate home bar, here are a handful of absolute necessities.
To start off, at the very least, you have be packing the five most common an essential liquors; gin, vodka, rum, whisky and tequila. Without these five, your home bar is just a bench and a cabinet with a few bottles in it. From there, it helps to slide in as many commonly used liqueurs as possible; things like Cointreau, Amaretto and Campari are a good start. It never hurts to have too much variety, as the most choices you have, the more creative you can get with your mixing.
Beyond the obvious carbonated mixers like flavoured sodas and tonic water, there are a handful of more subtle mixers that massively open up the possibilities when experimenting with new recipes. Two features that never go amiss are bitters and simple syrup. Both are ideal additions, relatively cheap (you can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous) and are important parts of a number of popular cocktails, significantly opening up your range. With both being typically used in small doses, you’d be surprised how far a small bottle of each can stretch.
A good shaker is an obvious place to start, but there are a ton of other little pieces that enhance your set up. Make sure you have a high-quality set of tools easily on hand, including a juicer and peeler for mixing fresh juices and making quality garnishes, a strainer for getting prevent large, unpleasant pulpy bits from finding their way into the final glass, and crucially, a decent knife to prevent you swishing your garnish to death and making a mess when trying to cut a simple lemon slice.
Finally, all the fancy stuff means nothing if you’re serving your gorgeously-made cocktail in a plastic cup. Investing in some quality glassware, particularly a set of rocks glasses which work well with most homemade cocktails, will be well worth it in the long run. Also, have a few martini glasses handy for that one James Bond-wannabe in your friend group (you know there’s always one) or the caffeine fiend who you know will be begging for a round of espresso martinis.