Home Bar Essentials

Have you ever wanted to host a cocktail party only to pause because you didn’t have the right tools or liquors​​? It’s easier than you think to assemble everything you need in a great home bar. You don’t have to stock up on everything imaginable.

You can add new spirits and tools to your collection over time. Here’s what you need to shake, stir, and serve classic cocktails and libations.

Bar Set Up

You need a place to keep all your bar paraphernalia in one easily accessible area. You want plenty of room to store your bottles, glassware and accessories. You can buy a home bar already configured or do-it-yourself.  If space is tight, a bar trolley or a repurposed side table might work.

You have to figure out what works best for you based on how much space you have, your budget and what style or look you want to project.

A popular trend in Australia is to set up an outside or garden bar for backyard entertaining.

Bar Tools

To start you only need essential bar tools.  

● shaker for mixing the drinks 

● jigger for measuring ingredients

● trainer for removing ice, pulp and other bits

● muddler for mashing fruits, herbs and spices

● mixing glass for mixing stirred cocktails

● long-handled bar spoon for mixing and layering drinks

● manual citrus press for juicing lemons and citrus

● bottle opener for mixers and beer

● corkscrew to open wine bottles

● paring knife to cut garnishes and other fresh ingredients

Glassware

The proper glass can enhance your cocktail and drinking experience. Glassware can take up a lot of space, so concentrate on getting glasses that you will use frequently. If you like your spirits neat, get a set of rock glasses. For long drinks get highball glasses. These are suitable for gin & tonic and other fizzy drinks. They also work great for Long Island Ice Tea. Coupe glass for Martinis and other cold drinks with no ice. Lastly, if you like wine, then either get a set of all-purpose glasses or if you have the space you can choose glasses for each type of wine you enjoy.

Spirits

A bar is only as good as the liquor it’s stocked with. Get a variety of spirit staples that are easy to mix in cocktails and good to drink on their own. Gin, vodka, whiskey, bourbon and tequila are the basics.  

You don’t have to spend a fortune, although they say the better the quality the less likely you are to have a hangover. Stock up on your favourite bottles, since you will be the one drinking them for the most part.

Master a few simple cocktails that you enjoy for yourself and your guests.  Keep in mind that aromatic mixers and liqueurs need refrigeration once opened, or they will oxidize and get stale.

Mixers

Mixers and syrups are the key to unlocking the flavours of your cocktails. Angostura bitters are a staple in every bar. Start with that and experiment with other bitters once you get more comfortable.

If you host a cocktail party, keep an eye on your guests. You don’t want them arrested for drunk driving.

A home bar set-up is great for gathering friends and family for special occasions and collecting lasting memories.

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