How to Set up your Home Bar: Bar Tools, Glassware, and Booze Essentials

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last week I covered the first step to setting up your home bar: finding the perfect bar cart.  Now that you have a foundation, we can get into the bar tool accessories and essentials you need to be the best home bartender around!

Step 2: Home Bar Tool Essentials:
home bar tool essentials
1. cocktail shaker: for obvious reasons.
2. jigger: for precise measuring.
3. mixing glass: for when you want it stirred, not shaken.
4. muddler: sometimes you have to muddle.
5. hawthorne strainer: once you mix a cocktail you have to pour it.
6. opener: this one is cute and fun.
7. stirring spoon: you know, to stir.
8. cocktail picks: for your olive, cherry, or what have you.
9. large ice cube tray: so you can have it on a rock (and so your drink gets less watery).
10. mesh strainer: to keep the muddled stuff from getting in your drink.
11. y peeler: garnish anything you like. Bonus points for lighting your citrus zest on fire before rimming your glass to release the essential oils.
12. juicer: this is the mother of all juicers and will get every last ounce.

Bonus points for decanters, ice buckets, sphere ice molds, ice picks, pourers, and swizzle sticks.

Step 3: Home Bar Essential Glasses
Home bar essential glassware
1. old fashioned glass
2. coup
3. champagne flute
4. beer glass
5. wine glass (red and white)
6. martini
7. collins glass
8. shot glass

These glasses will get you by for entertaining guests in a heart beat.  If entertaining isn't really your forte, think about the drinks that you enjoy most.  Are you a beer connoisseur?  Then focus on your beer glasses.  Some of these are multi-purpose as well, you can serve a negroni or champagne in a coupe.  Don't be afraid to have a little fun with your glasses as well - these Sisters of Los Angeles rocks glasses are some of my favorites.  Etsy is also a great resource for vintage bar and glassware.
via Refinery29
Step 4: Spirits (the booze):
Vodka: I like Ketel One best.  Tito's is also a solid choice.  Try making a moscow mule or martini.
Gin: Gin is my favorite spirit, and I have a few favorites.  Blade, Amethyst, and Hendrick's are all solid choices.  Try a gin and tonic, tom collins, or east side.
Rum: We always have a bottle of Atlantico on hand.  Try a dark and stormy, it's one of my favorites!
Tequila: I like Espolon, and Casamingos is a great higher end tequila.  Try a margarita or paloma.
Whiskey: Buffalo Trace is a great every day bourbon whiskey.  I've even done infusions with it before - try figs or cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest; they make great gifts!  Try making a manhattan or sazerac.
via Design Sponge
Step 5: Liqueurs, Bitters, and Garnishes:
Triple Sec: Orange liqueur is an essential in many cocktails.  Cointreau is a great one.
St. Germain: This elderflower liqueur is great in gin and vodka cocktails, and even with champagne.
Vermouth: I don't have a favorite here, but you'll need dry for martinis and sweet for other cocktails.
Orgeat: St. Vincent's is a great quality almond syrup.  Stay away from the cheap stuff on this.  One of my favorite cocktails uses orgeat, it's called a trinidad sour.
Pimm's: For Pimm's Cups, of course!
Bitters: Start with the granddaddy of all bitters, Angostura.  If you like bitters, I'd recommend Orange, Peychaud, and Underberg.
Garnishes: Lemon, lime, orange, and Luxardo cherries should cover all your bases.
via Lonny
Step 6: Mixers:
Tonic: I swear by Jack Rudy small batch tonic.  It's a bit pricey, however, its a syrup, and therefore not carbonated so it lasts much longer.  To mix a drink you use the tonic and add your own seltzer water for the bubbles.  It's completely changed my gin and tonic game.
Seltzer: A must, we just buy it from Trader Joe's.
Ginger Beer: In my opinion, Bundaberg is the only way to go.

Now you should have everything you need to have a fully stocked bar at home!  Don't forget about the first essential piece in building your home bar: the bar cart.  For recipes, bar tools, bar inspiration, and more, visit my bar pinterest board.

Look for Less: Make it or Fake it #15

Monday, December 1, 2014

Make it with this Caravan Pacific Alberta Table Lamp for $500
or fake it with this Target Threshold Ceramic Table Lamp $44.99
Be sure to check out other make it or fake it posts here for more affordable home decor options.
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