Before the tirade of shaken and not stirred jokes make themselves heard, there’s one thing we need you to know. It’s your bar. Not the one at your favourite club. You don’t need to stock it with names you can barely spell. Rule No 1 of putting together the bar at home is very simple – stock up on your favourites. It’s meant to cater to you, to begin with.
You don’t need a pantry full of mixers. Nor do you need a bar full of a hundred spirits. Stock up on essential liquors like vodka, gin, and scotch. If you find yourself entertaining often, then invest in a slightly wider variety of spirits, bitters, etc. so you can whip up those perfect cocktails. If you are just starting off, then it’s best if you stick to a two-ingredient drink. While you have factored in alcohol and mixers, make sure you stock up on garnishes too. Olives, lemon, salt, sugar, etc.
Now that you have picked up the bottles, next comes storage. Always find a cool, dark place to set up your bar. There’s nothing worse than a warm, musty place to store liquor. Keep an eye on your bottles, once the liquid level in a bottle goes down drastically, try and finish the bottle first as the air in the bottle tends to draw out the flavour profile.
For starters, invest in a few basic types of glasses, a short glass, a tall glass, a stem, and a carafe.
A bar is not complete without appropriate barware. You don’t need to go all-Steuben with the word go, remember, this is a game best played slow. One set at a time. Instead, invest in a good mixing beaker, long bar spoon, strainer, and a Boston shaker even, if you please. Also, a good knife, dedicated chopping board, muddlers and citrus squeezer. Then come the wine stems, champagne flutes, highball glasses, etc. Read our story on Glasses for your Home Bar. If your space allows for it, get an icemaker. There’s nothing more infuriating than having to wait for the ice to set before you can fix another round of cocktails.
And lastly, remember, your bar is much like Rome; it can’t and won’t be built in a day.