Top 10 home bar essentials
A quality, well-stocked home bar is a dream for a large number of young adults. However, due to start-up costs and the perceived effort required to maintain, it is something that often gets overlooked. Creating a home bar doesn’t have to be difficult. There is surprisingly little equipment required and it can save you lots of money in the long run. Choose to have a few of your friends over and enjoy bar quality drinks without paying ridiculous mark-ups or having to tip the bartender. However, if you don’t have the correct liquor, glassware or tools then it won’t be worth your while. That is why I bring you a list of the top 10 home bar essentials sure to make your next formal dinner, birthday party or Friday night a huge hit:
- Alcohol –You can have all the best equipment in the world but no bar is complete without alcohol. There are certain liquors that cannot be overlooked, notably: vodka (for vodka martinis, screwdrivers and vodka tonics), white rum (for mojitos and daiquiris), gin (for gin martinis and gin and tonics), bourbon (for manhattans and whiskey sours), tequila (for margaritas and sunrises), Cointreau (an orange liqueur used in a variety of drinks from margaritas to cosmopolitans), cognac (for sidecars), dry vermouth (for martinis) and sweet vermouth (the other key ingredient in manhattans).
- Glassware – Now that you have the alcohol, you require appropriate glasses for your drinks. There are three main types of glassware: the short glass (for drinks, such as scotch, which are served neat or on the rocks), the tall glass (for drinks that require large amounts of mixer, such as mojitos) and the stem glass (for martinis and cocktails served “up”). If you plan to serve wine at your gatherings, it is worthwhile investing in a set of white wine glasses (a shorter, more shallow glass) and a set of red wine glasses (a deeper, taller glass). They should be of the classic stemmed variety, and what better way to store them than on a hanging wine glass rack?
- Martini shaker – A martini shaker is a necessity for all bartenders looking to achieve James Bond style martinis. Shakers are also good for mixing drinks you plan to serve “down” but don’t mix well when poured directly into the glass (margaritas or drinks that use flavored syrup). If you are not comfortable mixing and sieving the contents with a Boston shaker then seek out a Cobbler Shaker, which has a built-in strainer and includes a cap.
- Jigger – To make fantastic cocktails you must have the correct mixture of ingredients. Therefore it is important to own a shot measurer, known as a jigger. Select a jigger with a 1-ounce measure on one side and a 1½-ounce measure on the other because the standard shot is 1½ ounces.
- Corkscrew – If you plan on serving wine then a good bottle opener is a must. Opening wine bottles with conventional corkscrews used to be quite a hassle. However, new bottle opening gadgets, such as the Metrokane Houdini lever-style corkscrew, make serving wine a breeze.
- Ice bucket – Barmen go through large amounts of ice no matter how small the party. An ice bucket is essential for preventing the ice from melting so it can be used for cocktails, mixed drinks and keeping glasses chilled.
- Juice squeezer – Take your cocktails to the next level with freshly squeezed juice from lemons and limes.
- Muddler – A muddler is used to mash fruit, mint leaves and ice together at the bottom of a glass. A muddler is the professional bartender’s tool of choice for creating mojitos, caipirinhas or mint juleps.
- Cutting board & knife – A cutting board and knife are required to prepare garnishes for drinks as well as shaping the fruit to fit into the juice squeezer.
- Home bar cabinet – What better way to organize all your liquors, glassware and bar tools that in your own home bar cabinet? Liquor keeps better if it is kept in a cool place away from direct sunlight so ensure your drinks are premium by storing your spirits away in the cabinet.
If there are any bar essential you feel are missing from the list, please feel free to add them in the comments section below. I would love to hear your thoughts.