When it comes to stocking a home bar, there are a few basics to consider that can help you build a solid foundation for any occasion.
Stocking an at home bar is different than showing up at your favorite local restaurant or bar spot. By making a drink from home, you can rest easy with friends and not worry about crowded spaces or navigating traffic on a weekend.
To start your bar tool set, there are few things to consider that can make the process of creating drinks easier and more enjoyable. With the right set-up, you can host friends, family, or have a quiet evening at home from the comfort of your own at-home bar.
To help you get started, here is a step-by-step guide for stocking home bar with the right tools.
Step 1: Know The Basics For a Home Bar
It sounds simple, but knowing the basics for a home bar helps determine what you personally want to stock in your own bar. There is no pressure to build up all the tools and liqueurs at once, as it often takes time to build up the foundation of items you want.
From more complex to simple designs, there are a few aspects to consider before purchasing tools and alcohol.
Look At The Design You Want
Design is an important part to consider when looking at how you want to build your home bar. The design of the bar determines the level of storage, the style of set-up, and the amount you want to keep on hand.
Consider the space you have available when installing a home bar. For some, storing liquor in other places helps keep the bar area more clear and ensures the space can be changed as needed within the home. For others, having the liquor, mixers, and garnishes all in one place makes it easy to quickly create drinks without having to move too much around.
If the design includes a bar cart, look at the type of one you want to match the aesthetic of your home. From twisted iron to stained wood, there are many options that can fit seamlessly in your home for a congruent look.
Once a design is determined, you can move onto the second step to consider before stocking up on home barware tools.
Step 2: Consider How To Properly Store Liquor
When setting up a home bar, make sure you have proper storage for each type of liquor you decide to include. Liquor should be stored in a cool place that is not in direct sunlight or collecting moisture.
Keep in mind if the liquor level becomes low in alcoholic bottles, then the flavors will deteriorate over time. In turn, it causes liquors to be less flavorful in drinks resulting in a lower quality beverage. Make sure to refrigerate alcoholic beverages that should be lower temperatures before serving guests.
By understanding how to properly keep liquors at an ideal temperature, you can ensure your stock is well looked after to last as long as needed.
Step 3: Find The Right Bar Tools
Finding the right bar tools does not have to be a complicated process. If you are starting from scratch, you may want to consider buying a bar tools set that provides the items you need at first.
Foundational Bar Tools
When looking for the foundational bar tools you need, there are a few items you should start with.
An ice bucket is simple, but an effective bar tool that is necessary for most drinks. Having an ice bucket lessens the worry about trying to pull ice cubes quickly and it serves as a great resource for churning out drinks quickly without any extra hassle.
Ice Cube Tray
If you do not have a refrigerator that automatically makes ice, then an ice cube tray is your next best foundational tool for an at home bar. An ice cube tray helps replenish your ice bucket and is a resource that is needed for mixed and simple drinks.
When you need the extra hand to mix, a bar spoon is ideal. The handle is long and allows for expertise in stirring mixed drinks. Bar spoons come in several styles and lengths, and can vary from region to region.
A muddler is needed to add a whole new level to your drinks at home. A muddler serves as a way to press into fresh ingredients to release flavors that truly tie a whole drink together. While a muddler can be improvised with a spoon, it is easier to have the foundational tool in your barware tools set.
A jigger is essentially a small measuring cup that helps you determine the amount of alcohol used. Jiggers come in a range of sizes that vary across 0.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces. To start with the standard size, look for a 1.5 ounce jigger.
While you may have a regular strainer in your kitchen, having one specifically for your home bar helps you create cocktails with ease. A strainer is a type of sieve that only allows liquids to be poured into a glass, which makes it ideal for serving mixed drinks.
To complete a foundational bar tool set, you will need a cocktail shaker. Cocktail shakers mix liquids together by shaking it all in a contained space that helps cool a drink quicker before serving. Many cocktail sets include a shaker along with other foundational bar tool items.
Additional Bar Tools To Look For
A mixing glass is used as a tool combined with a bar spoon and strainer. A mixing glass is ideal for optimal dilution and cooling for bar drinks, but is not a necessary foundational tool if you are only beginning to set up a home bar. If you are more experienced in creating drinks, a mixing glass is definitely an additional tool that makes mixing drinks easier.
A peeler gives the extra flare for drinks at home that reflect similarity to what you would order at a bar or restaurant. A peeler can be used to peel citrus or other garnishes to give drinks the final touch needed to complete a professional drink aesthetic for everyone to enjoy.
Chances are that you already own a corkscrew at home for opening wine. Lightweight corkscrews that have a permanent place in your at-home bar ensure that it will not go wandering off to other places in the home. Find one that is light and can be used for what drinks you enjoy.
A wine saver helps slow down the oxidation process. In turn, it helps wine bottles last longer in a wine bucket before too much oxidation causes the flavor to become bitter and not ideal for serving. Wine savers come in a variety of designs and looks that can match your other home bar tools.
A pitcher is great to have for home bar tools, as it provides an avenue to serve more drinks at once when entertaining. Pitchers can hold a larger quantity for mixed drinks being served, or as a way to serve beer with ease when out on the patio. Pitchers are also a way to hold soda or other ingredients for various drinks.
Cocktail picks are the final look to complete a garnished drink. Cocktail picks can be used for slices of lemon, lime, cherry, orange, or other garnishes of choice. Without a cocktail pick, a garnish does not stand out as well.
Citrus juicers come in hand-held versions or electric options for bigger batches. Citrus is a common ingredient in alcoholic beverages and is a great additional bar tool to have if you enjoy adding a little extra natural flavoring to at-home drinks.
If you want to bring the feeling of a bar to home, consider adding cocktail napkins to your list for bar essentials. Cocktail napkins are smaller than regular napkins and are ideal for holding off condensation from ruining furniture with water marks. Reusable cocktail napkins are ideal, as they can be washed after use.
Straws are not often the first item you may think of when setting up a home bar. Straws allow for easy sipping and come in sustainable versions that do not harm the environment.
Coasters are a part of the decor idea and add flare to any home set-up. Choosing coasters to match your glassware or style add the extra piece of design needed to pull your bar set all together.
A wine cooler is an ideal place to keep your wine collection cool and consistent. The temperature within a wine cooler is regulated, making it the perfect place for alcoholic storage in all climates and weather schemes.
Step 4: Serve In Style With Glassware
Not only are bar tools essential, but it is also important to consider the glassware stocked in your home bar. Glassware comes in a variety of sizes and purposes that are ideal for completing any drink.
A highball glass is a type of glass tumbler that contains up to 12 fluid ounces. A highball glass is commonly used for cocktails and mixed drinks.
A lowball glass is more commonly referred to as an old fashioned glass. It is a type of tumbler that is shorter and often holds whisky on the rocks or is used for smaller cocktail options.
A champagne flute conveniently says its purpose in its name. It is a glass that is specifically designed for champagne and is an essential glass for all occasions worth celebrating. Champagne flutes can also be easily added in a collection all within a champagne bucket.
A Collins glass is a tumbler that contains up to 14 fluid ounces and is taller than a highball glass. The design is narrower and reflects the shape of a cylinder that is ideal for beverages that contain larger cubes of ice.
A martini glass is a type of cocktail glassware that has greater exposure to the air around it. By having an open and wider top to the glass, it helps air it out for an ideal flavor and look. Embedded within its name is also the purpose for the glass, which is to hold martini drinks that can include a salted rim.
There are several different types of wine glasses available to choose from. Depending on your preference, you can have glassware that ranges from suiting red wine, white wine, rose wine, and sparkling wines.
A coupe glass is a shallow glass that has a wider brim. It used to be more common than a champagne flute, but it is also still used for smaller cocktail drinks.
Step 5: Stock Your Bar With The Essentials
Once you have your bar tools and glassware ready, the next step is to stock your bar with the essentials that make it a true bar.
Beer and Wine
Beer and wine are a straightforward option to add when it comes to serving alcoholic beverages. You can serve it directly from your wine cooler or beer fridge, which makes it easy to serve guests or for relaxing at home on your own.
There are many liquors available to choose from that can serve as a foundation for a variety of drinks. Liquors to consider starting with are bourbon, brandy, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. From there, you can add additional flavors, cordials, liqueurs, and garnishes.
Bitters are great to have available in your home bar. Bitters are spirits that are infused with botanicals that add the extra spice or fruity flavor to any drink you serve in a bar tub.
Step 6: Expand Your Bar With Mixers
With a foundation for your home bar, you can begin to add juices and mixers. Mixers include adding pre-made mixes or being creative in making your own.
Mixer items can include,
- Simple syrups
- Sour mixes
- Hot sauces
- Ginger Ale
- Juices (orange, cranberry, pineapple, tomato, grapefruit)
From a range of simple syrups to add, to hot sauces for savory drinks, there are a variety of drinks you can make without having to go out.
Step 7: Be Creative With Your Barware Set
Be creative with your barwares tool set to create customized drinks right from the comfort of home. With the right tools in place you can have the ideal foundation for a home bar that helps the comfort of home feel that much greater with a handmade drink in hand.