8 Essentials To Set Up The Ultimate Home Bar
Entertaining guests can be equal parts delightful and stressful, but if you have the right tools at your disposal, it can be a breeze. Setting up a home bar can be the ideal home addition to make entertaining, unwinding after a long day, or simply enjoying a well-crafted cocktail on your own a true pleasure. However, to create the ultimate home bar experience, you need more than just a collection of bottles and mixers, it needs some planning to make it your own.
1. Where To Set Up Your Bar
It’s all about location, location, location! The first step in creating the ultimate home bar is to choose the right spot so that it affords easy access to you and your guests. Ideally, it should be in a space where you can comfortably entertain a few people without crowding the room. A corner of your living room or a dedicated counter space in your kitchen can work well. Just ensure there is adequate space for storage, mixing drinks, and seating.
2. Stock the Basics
In a similar way to kitchens, every bar needs a set of basic ingredients. While in the kitchen it’s things like salt and pepper, in a bar, it’s a selection of basic spirits. Every well-equipped home bar starts with a selection of basic bottles. These typically include vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and a few liqueurs. Opt for quality brands, as the better the spirit, the better your cocktails will taste.
3. Essential Glassware
Glasses can hugely impact your drinking experience. Since around 80-90% orf taste is actually based on the aroma, the size of the glass can change how much you smell your drink and therefore, how it tastes. To enjoy your cocktails to the fullest, invest in a set of quality glassware. At a minimum, you'll need highball glasses, rocks glasses, martini glasses, and wine glasses. Crystal glassware can add a touch of elegance to your home bar, but quality glassware of varying sizes can help elevate your drinks.
4. Bar Tools
While fancy tools aren't necessary to make a cocktail, they can definitely make the job quicker. A well-equipped home bar requires a set of essential bar tools. These include a cocktail shaker, a jigger for precise measuring, a strainer, a muddler, and a bar spoon. These tools are vital for mixing, shaking, and stirring your drinks with finesse. You can also opt for additional touches like ice moulds or metal chilling stones for a more sophisticated touch.
5. Mixers and Garnishes
There are some liquors that shine on their own, but most people will opt for a sippable mixed drink. To prepare for that eventuality, stock up your home bar with a variety of mixers, including soda, tonic water, and a selection of basic fruit juices like orange, apple and mixed fruit juice. Additionally, if possible, keep a supply of common fresh garnishes such as lemons, limes, oranges, maraschino cherries, and olives. These will not only enhance the flavour of your cocktails but also make them visually appealing.
6. Ice, Ice, Baby
There’s nothing quite as offputting as lukewarm cocktail, so as a host, you’re on constant ice duty. Make sure you have a good supply of ice on hand. You can use ice cube trays for regular ice cubes and invest in an ice bucket or ice maker for larger gatherings. Clear ice cubes, which are denser and slower to melt, are ideal for cocktails. If you want to experiment, you could even try freezing fruits and using them as edible ice cubes.
7. Storage Solutions
Now that you have all these extra bits and bobs to account for, it’s ideal to have a place to put it right? Aside from making everything look neat and tidy, it can also impact the quality of your liquor over time based on the exposure to sunlight, heat and humidity. Invest in a sturdy and stylish liquor cabinet or shelving unit to store your bottles. It's also wise to have a wine rack for your collection of wines and a wine fridge to keep them at the right temperature.
8. Lighting and Ambiance
Setting the mood is the first step towards creating an enjoyable experience. Install appropriate lighting, such as pendant lights or wall sconces, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Consider adding some artwork, mirrors, or a bar counter to enhance the aesthetics of the space. If you plan to add a seating area, choose barstools or lounge chairs that complement the style of your bar area with extra cushions or throws for extra comfort.