Cocktail Bar At Home

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Cocktail Bar At Home

If you’d like something a bit more distinguished than your kitchen cabinet to serve as the home for your home bar, consider getting a cocktail cabinet or mini bar. They’re small pieces of handsome furniture that you can usually put up against the wall. They’re nice because they can serve as a gathering point without having a huge bar installed in your home. Cocktail cabinets take up very little space, but can hold quite a bit of alcohol and glassware. I have friend who picked up a vintage cocktail cabinet at the antique store. It was a bit rough, but with a bit of elbow grease he was able to spruce it up. Here’s a nice example of a retro cocktail cabinet from the 50s:

Cocktail Bar At Home

All drinks using this template were called “Cocktail” for years and years. It would’ve been “Rum Cocktail” or “Brandy Cocktail” or “Whiskey Cocktail.” As the 19th century marched along and all kinds of new drinks emerged with unique identifying names (Martinez, Manhattan, Martini), people came to ask for this original version as the “Old Fashioned” cocktail. The bar at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky helped standardize this name and recipe – specifying bourbon as the preferred spirit. As the century turned and Prohibition restricted access to “the good stuff,” people took to adding all kinds of adulterants to make the drink less awful: muddled oranges, cherries, lemons – even pineapple and mint on occasion. A drowning in seltzer was the final disgrace. And wouldn’t you know it, that formula stuck all the way through the next turn of the century, when people got their hands on copies of old 19th-century recipe books that called for the original, simple style of spirit, sugar, water (as ice) and bitters – with just a little hit of orange oil that perfectly unifies the caramel and vanilla of the bourbon with the holiday spices of the bitters.

Cocktail Bar At Home

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Co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, historian David Wondrich is one of the greatest cocktail writers around today. In this tribute to the aforementioned cocktail pioneer Jerry Thomas, Wondrich spotlights 100 classic cocktails from Bartender's Guide, contemporized with current equivalents of old-time tools, ingredients, and measurements, making it more accessible and inuitive for today's budding mixologists. He also introduces 16 new recipes inspired by the early days of the cocktail from today's top mixologists. It is the first cocktail book ever to win a James Beard award, and needless to say, a must read.

Cocktail Bar At Home

26 / 39 Shop David Wondrich Imbibe! ($18) Co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, historian David Wondrich is one of the greatest cocktail writers around today. In this tribute to the aforementioned cocktail pioneer Jerry Thomas, Wondrich spotlights 100 classic cocktails from Bartender's Guide, contemporized with current equivalents of old-time tools, ingredients, and measurements, making it more accessible and inuitive for today's budding mixologists. He also introduces 16 new recipes inspired by the early days of the cocktail from today's top mixologists. It is the first cocktail book ever to win a James Beard award, and needless to say, a must read.

Cocktail Bar At Home

David Wondrich Imbibe! ($18) Co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, historian David Wondrich is one of the greatest cocktail writers around today. In this tribute to the aforementioned cocktail pioneer Jerry Thomas, Wondrich spotlights 100 classic cocktails from Bartender's Guide, contemporized with current equivalents of old-time tools, ingredients, and measurements, making it more accessible and inuitive for today's budding mixologists. He also introduces 16 new recipes inspired by the early days of the cocktail from today's top mixologists. It is the first cocktail book ever to win a James Beard award, and needless to say, a must read.

Cocktail Bar At Home

The first rule of stocking your bar is to choose spirits you actually enjoy. This is the only way to develop a knack for making and appreciating cocktails. Once you nail a few favorite cocktails, your interest and palate for other spirits is bound to expand — we guarantee it. The second rule is don't do it all at once. Liquor is expensive, so start small. There's no need to spend your car payment at BevMo in one afternoon. All you need is one great cocktail to impress your guests, and if you learn to craft a few things well, others will take notice and appreciate that. Liqueurs, mixers, apéritifs, and digestifs in particular are things you will and should accumulate over time. That said, the most classic and popular drinks include a handful of spirits. So, we recommend these basics if you want to begin with a few: – Gin – Bourbon Whiskey – Scotch Whisky – Tequila – White Rum – Dark Rum Vodka may be notably absent from this list to you. Designed to taste like nothing, it is devoid of both aroma and flavor, and thus, it isn't a spirit that will help a beginner learn the craft of the cocktail. While it has no place on our bar, we occasionally keep it in the freezer if we're expecting guests who prefer it — or for when we want to blend up a boozy frozen fruit cocktail that tastes like, well, fruit. Keep scrolling for our most recommended spirts — as well as essential glassware, mixers, and garnishes.

Cocktail Bar At Home

A proper home bar is one thing every grown-up home should have — even if you don’t drink, you should always have something on-hand to offer your guests. Whether you’re just beginning to make cocktails and appreciate spirits, or you’ve been mixing for years, this guide will help you set up a home bar that not only has all the essential tools you need, but is also beautiful and inspires you to try new things. First, we’re guiding you through where and how actually arrange your bar, and then we’ll show you all the must-have essentials, including specific bitters, bar tools, must-read cocktail books, spirits, glassware, mixers, and garnishes. Whether you have room for a single tray or a full built-in wet bar, you’ll find that setting one up isn't as daunting as it may seem.

Cocktail Bar At Home

A Cocktail Shaker 20 / 39 Shop Williams-Sonoma Insulated Cocktail Shaker ($) A cocktail shaker is essential to every home bar. For cocktails that require shaking, you'll generally add your non-alcoholic ingredients and any herbs, produce, or syrups that need to be added or muddled. Then you'll top with ice and your liquor, and shake until there's condensation on the outside of the shaker. You can also use the base of the shaker as a mixing tin for any drinks that only require stirring.

Home Bar Rule #1: Pick alcohol you actually enjoy imbibing. When I first started my own home bar, I only picked spirits that I thought would impress guests when I had them over. I ended up spending a fortune for alcohol that I hardly ever used. While you’ll use your home bar for entertaining, don’t forget that a home bar’s main customer is you. When you mix yourself a cocktail to sip on the weekends while you sit on the patio with your dog, you want to enjoy it. The dog doesn’t care what your favorite gin is. That is of course if this pooch isn’t your dog. He’s so smug.

We always have lemons and limes in the kitchen, as they're essential to many great and favorite recipes. Sugar cubes, or fine white sugar, is also a must for every home bar. It's also great to have a basil plant and a mint plant in the house, so you can make herbal cocktails at the ready. Other herbs like sage and thyme are also wonderful garnishes. If you like martinis or Bloody Marys, cocktail olives, onions, horseradish, salt, pepper, and hot sauce can also be essential. Once you've stocked bar, shake or stir up some of our favorite cocktail recipes.

Written in 1862, Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide is arguably the most famous bartending and cocktail book of all time, and it was the first real cocktail book published in the U.S. It is the first written record of many classic cocktail varieties like the fizz, the flip, the sour, the julep, and more. While its language and metrics may feel outdated, it remains highly relevant today, and it's essential read for anyone to learn the basics and history of cocktails.

One thing to note when you're shopping is the size of the glasses you're eyeing. Some go up to as large as 20 oz., but we recommend between 10 and 16 oz. for a highball. If you're making a classic cocktail, such as a negroni which measures just 3 fluid oz., you'll find that the portions are small. A smaller cocktail ensures that the drink stays cold while you drink it. As the aforementioned legendary barman Harry Craddock famously put it, “The way to drink a cocktail is quickly, while it’s still laughing at you.” Needless to say, it would be unfitting to use an oversize glass with a small portion.

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