Virtual Bartender-The home bar
So, you want to set up a home bar?
OK, you are gonna need some stuff...
We already went over some of this in other places, but hey, you clicked this link...
Your bar is what you make it. It can be themed or not. You can build it, buy it, or just designate an area that is your "bar"
you can turn a room, or just a corner into your bar. it's up to you. That being said, you will need a place to keep the stuff, Booze and tools and all that, a place to shake it up, and a surface to serve on.
Yeah, well of course, and lots of it. But here is the thing, my advice is, unless you are rich, don't go out and buy too much at first. You will need some basics, The "well" stuff as it is called. like when you go to a bar, and they will have a special on "well drinks" This is the basic no name booze. But, most of this will go into mixed drinks, so at first, go cheap and small for some of it. You will want:
Dry (French) Vermouth
Sweet (Italian) Vermouth
This is a start, you can add as you go... Obviously, you can buy all top shelf stuff, and if you have a favorite booze or mixed drink, you will want that...
So, this really depends on what you are making, but, cans or small bottles of cola, lemon-lime, tonic and seltzer are pretty basic. Then, you can also get juices such as pineapple, grapefruit, orange, tomato, etc, in small single serving ( 6 to 8 oz), shelf stable containers. Simple syrup, regular sugar, Roses lime, bitters, and Grenadine are good to have around...
A bar guide, and/or drink recipe book(s) Know what you are making before the party starts, and make sure you have what it takes to make it.
You are going to want:
A good jigger and set of measuring spoons, as well as a pint size
measuring cup marked in 1/4 oz increments are all indispensable tools
A good shaker (or two)
plastic sword picks
A Bar journal. That way you don't have to try and remember what so-and-so wanted but you didn't have the (whatever) to make it. Write it down, and you will be ready next time...
And, depending on the size of your home bar, you might want a small refrigerator.
If you are in a spot where there is no sink, you can get a five gallon bucket to dump old ice or unfinished drinks into.
Other than Olives and cherries, Always use fresh garnish, and have as much of it prepared as possible before you begin mixing. All of your limes, lemons, oranges, etc should be wedged or sliced as applicable, and stored in separate containers, or in a divided bowl, no more than a few hours before your party. For this reason it is a good idea to know what you will be mixing. Also sugar cubes,
Booze and The Menu
I used to try and have anything and everything to make anything and everything, but contrary to what most people think, an opened bottle does have a shelf life, and I have poured out more expensive and unusual booze than I care to list. An unopened bottle will keep almost indefinitely, but once opened, most booze should used within a year. At the 821, we had our regulars, I pretty much knew what they drink, and made sure I had that. But I also had a menu of "specialty" drinks and would keep the ingredients for those on hand. It gives me a sort of "check list" for pre-party shopping, and (mostly) eliminates the guess work. If you don't want to go through the trouble of printing menus, you can get a chalkboard and list your drinks there. In any case, having a set of drinks you know you can produce will make your cocktail making that much smoother.
So speaking of the right stuff, You can do pretty well with just the following glasses:
Cocktail (sometimes called "Martini")
Old fashioned (or rocks glass)
And of course,
However, If I had to narrow it down, I would have, a cocktail (Martini) glasses, rocks glasses, and highball or pint glasses
Again, just like liquors, buy what you need as you need it, and save your storage for cases of rum.
Also, you will go through a lot of ice, and more than likely your home ice maker will not keep up. Always a good idea to buy a large bag of small cube ice before the party, and have one of those "what can I bring?" late arrivals bring more...
AND If you haven't already, read the bar tips,
and the secret bar tips...