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Top Tips From Bartenders For Setting Up Your Home Bar

Urvashi Deshpande on September 12, 2020

A home bar adds an exciting element of design to any space. It doesn’t matter if you are just a beginner learning to whip up some tasty cocktails and appreciate spirits or have been mixing and wowing your guests for years. A beautiful home bar stocked with all essential tools will serve as an inspiration for you to try new things there.

Sometimes, too much drink is barely enough- Mark Twain

 

Home bar hopefuls, take note: Before you start entertaining at home, how you stock your bar utmost important. To be honest, planning a home bar isn’t as intimidating as it may seem. Just a few important things to note and you can easily make the switch from one-bottle-in-the-freezer to a professional home bar with several mixers, tools, and spirits on display.

Whether you are buying two bottles or 20, have a strong garnish game, or have never used a peeler, there is one central theme-

 Buy top of the line stuff but don’t go overboard.

 It is not about having the most expensive products, but finding what you like- a process that you should enjoy and shouldn’t break the bank in return.

Get into the right spirit

A home bar is about entertaining guests and not something that you enjoy. If you want your living room to be transformed into a private speakeasy- here are tips from some professional bartenders. Bourbon may be a spirit of your choice, but your cocktail repertoire would be quite limited if you had just bourbon. So, bring on that rum, brandy, scotch, rye, bourbon, and gin. You can make a million drinks. Expand your inventory based on cocktails preferred by your guests. Add spirits and modifiers required to make these regularly.

Pro Tip: Check out apps such as Bartenders Choice where once you input ingredients, you get a list of drinks you can prepare. Or try this nifty Cocktail Shaker that comes loaded with recipes!

 

Mix, Match, Modify!

 

There are three essential modifiers without which your home bar is just a highball bar- vermouth (dry and sweet), Cointreau, and Campari. Some base spirits, and these three, and you can make a wide range of classic cocktails like Martini, Old Fashioned, Negroni, Manhattan, Boulevardier, Margarita, and many more.

A cocktail renaissance is sweeping up the nation! Gone are the days when one lonely bitters bottle held court behind your home bar. As everything from rhubarb bitters to coffee bitters is now available, the range of flavoured options is ever-expanding. You will need a bottle of aromatic bitters -for example, for many classic cocktails. And if you want to go minimalist, we suggest orange bitters.

Pro Tip: Remember to purchase the perishable vermouth in smaller quantities and always store it in the fridge. A good supply of carbonated mixers preferably in glass bottles over cans or plastic- since glass retains carbon dioxide better!

Bar Tools and Glassware

Most experts will tell you that simplicity and minimalism is the key when it comes to purchasing bar tools and selecting glassware. In most home bars, some must-haves include mixing glasses, bar spoons, jiggers, shakers, and a strainer. Professional bartenders swear by purchasing from professional suppliers for better quality bar tools and glassware.

One essential tool no home bar of a cocktail fan should be without is a little hand juicer since cocktails just don’t taste lip-smacking good without a dash of fresh citrus. A sharp vegetable peeler is crucial for garnish games, allowing you to give clean, attractive twists to the cocktails you come up with. Start your collection small- a couple of attractive coupes, colins, and Double Old Fashioned glasses are more than enough to get you going. You can expand eventually as you need.

Pro Tip: Don’t go by the glamour factor. Remember, if it is not good for commercial use, they are not good for your home bar.

Ice, Ice, Baby ;)

All that sugar and spice needs a dash of fine ice! Fine quality ice can’t be found in the freezer tray. Get a few interesting ice cube maker trays like this Diamond Shape Ice-Cube Maker that can dramatically increase the flavour and enhance the presentation of your drinks.

Pro Tip:  Don’t want your Martini to taste like a frozen burrito? Stock your ice in separate freezer bags to avoid the ice picking up any unwanted aromas in your freezer.

Bonus Pro Tip- Bringing it all together!

Remember that all spirits deteriorate over time, and keeping bottles away from sunlight and avoiding temperature fluctuations slows this flavour killing process. A bar cart, if you have room for one, makes for a great dedicated area for mixing a drink as they are welcoming enough for guests to feel comfortable walking up and fixing their drink.

 

So, all you bar enthusiasts, time to don your thinking hats, and start thinking like bartenders! Going to a bar will always be fun, but we think inviting your friends over is the new going out. Plus, a home bar is like bringing a bar home where happy hours never cease to exist!

A home bar gives you the liberty of making every day a Friday, and every Monday full of stories of what happened at your home! We are here not to help you drink more, but to drink better! Get the best quality bar tools from Bar Enthusiast. Our hand-picked bar tools and other bar accessories will adorn your bar at home. They also make great gifts! 

For those party nights, we have interesting drinking games for you to pick from. Turn drinking into an experience with essential bar tools. Bar Enthusiast has a quintessential collection you'll absolutely love! We have a smoker's corner too! Check out the ultimate Bar Tools Guide for every home bar owner!

Cheers!

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