How To Stock A Home Bar

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How To Stock A Home Bar

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.

How To Stock A Home Bar

Remember Home Bar Rule #2: Start small. If you don’t have room or any place to store your home bar, keep your home bar small. Pick two or three different liquors and stick with those. When I was in an apartment, I kept my small bar in a cabinet above the fridge, and I kept my mixers and garnishes in the fridge.

How To Stock A Home Bar

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My home bar currently consists of about 300 bottles of alcohol. However, I remember the day not so long ago when I had a bottle of Dalmore 12 Scotch and a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP. I have a clear recollection of wondering how the hell I was going to build a bar. It seemed the alcohol vanished faster than it appeared. However, with time, patience, consistency and self-control, you will quickly be able to build up a bar that soon will only need an occasional bottle of alcohol to keep it stocked. However, if I’m honest, I can tell you that my bar which is larger than most home bars will never be fully stocked in my opinion. I am always working to build it. My wife on the other hand thinks I’m nuts.

How To Stock A Home Bar

If you do move into a bigger place and you’ve really enjoyed being a home mixologist, then I can’t recommend installing a permanent home bar in your home enough. Many homes today come with wet bars and storage space for a home bar. If you don’t have that, with a little initiative and sweat, you can install your own bar in an unused room in the house.

How To Stock A Home Bar

I have acquired mine over time, and the trick i have learned is a wide variety of canned / bottled mixers of a wide variety and of high quality. Fever Tree tonic and club are a must. Small mixer cans of orange, grapefruit, tomato etc last forever, and with ice and a shaker you cant miss. Changing your produce habits by making grapefruits, oranges, and cucumbers part of your diet makes fun cocktails easy as you are stocked with something else. For the ladies, go to the liquor store and ask the cashier for what their smaller bottle stock looks like. Having a variety of small, not airplane size, but just larger of flavored vodkas, baileys, irish whiskey, bourbons and more gives you variety and space on the cheap. As for beer, I pair with the cuisines I tend to serve ie steaks, mexican and bbq, so a six pack of mexican beer (dos equis) american lager (coors banquet), import (stella) and something inspired by my travels (Carling currently) always have a part of my bar. As for wine, I stock two types…high end varietals and cellar defenders. A great cab like Silver Oak or Jordan are always ready for a steak, as is a good sancere for poultry, and a good Provence rose…but i also stock easy to drink chardonnary, chianti, pinot noir, and sauv blanc at a lower price point to guard against the casual non discriminating tongue. Lastly, have something you pair with cigars. My go to is The Dalmore scotch, a highland, which has a cigar malt reserve. Great conversation and great pairing. In short, have wide basics on mixers, use small bottles to extend variety on liquor, have 4 varietals as cellar defenders, and a few bottles that tell a story.

How To Stock A Home Bar

If you only have a handful or a small selection of liquor in your bar, it’s going to look rather silly in a large liquor cabinet. Instead, pick up a bar cart and organize them neatly on it with a set of bar tools and some crystal glassware. All of a sudden, it doesn’t look like a small bar but looks like a fine selection of spirits.

How To Stock A Home Bar

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:

How To Stock A Home Bar

All you need to stock the perfect home bar is a dozen bottles and a few essential tools, according to David and Lesley Solmonson, authors of The 12 Bottle Bar. From there, the cocktail combinations are practically limitless.

Also, you don’t have to have your bar always stocked and prepared for a big party. When you host a party, stock up your bar to fill your needs. When you’re not anticipating a party, there’s no need to have gallons of tonic water or dozens of lime wedges on hand.

The next thing you’ll want to start collecting is beer. If you enjoy beer, focus on buying bottles that aren’t your favorite so that you won’t run the risk of plowing through them by yourself on a hot summer day. Try to stock a variety if you can, and it’s always a good idea to invest in a bar fridge for it. Rather than buying new, check sites like eBay or Craigslist for great deals. Try to build a collection of popular varieties with some local craft beers and specialty beers thrown in the mix. Since a 24 pack of domestic beer is so inexpensive, it’s an excellent way to really build the bar, and most men will opt for a cold beer when given the choice.

In addition to alcohol, one thing worth getting at the start of the bar is a bottle of Angostura bitters since they’re called for so much in cocktails. As you build the bar, you can begin to add things like grenadine, various flavored bitters and other bar mix to the collection.

I have built my bar over several years and I agree, that it is easy to maintain at this point. I usually run out of ice first, as a previous reader had mentioned, or I run out of cocktail glasses.I have found it interesting to offer a basic bar, such as club soda, Collins, vermouth, bitters, ice, bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, brandy, scotch, some pre-prepared garnish options (olive, cherry, lime, lemon, orange, onion etc.), but also offer one or two featured craft cocktails that I have already tried, and believe that my guests might find interesting.My wife and I once received a formal invitation to a “cocktail party” and upon arrival, we were asked if we would like a cocktail. I requested a bourbon on the rocks and was told by the host that all she had was wine, red or white. No matter what you decide to do with your bar, if you mention the word “cocktails” in an invitation, please make sure that you have cocktails.TheQuietMan

If you’re stocking a home bar for the first time, or you’re wondering why you never seem to have just the right ingredients to mix good, staple drinks at home, this video will help you out. In it, bartenders from around the globe explain exactly what your home bar needs, from base spirits to mixers.

No one's coming over to your house for a flaming cocktail. Conversely, no one's coming over to your house if you have no booze at all. You don't need to get too wild, but you need to be prepared. Friend, you need to stock a home bar.

The fact is that developing a home bar doesn’t mean having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars. There are tricks to making you look like a veteran host with just a handful of spirits on hand, and if you follow my advice, you’ll develop a reasonably sized bar without much effort or investment.

If you enjoy wine, now is the time to buy it. Many wine stores offer boxes called cottage cases throughout the year. Usually, it’s a selection of 12 bottles, and you can pick red, white or a mix. Some of the bottles will be terrible which makes it perfect for bringing to your Aunt Bertha’s house for the holidays, and usually, there will be one or two bottles worth the purchase. Overall, the concept is simply to develop stock and build a wine bar.

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