Just the Basics: Stock Your First Home Bar
So you’ve got your own place. Congrats. And you’ve got room for a bar cart. Double congrats! Now, you’ve got to stock it. Between martini glasses, margarita glasses, shakers, jiggers, and every variation of liquor and mixer on the market, there’s a lot out there. But you’re not opening a mixology parlor, you’re stocking a home bar. Here are the things you need to get started.
Sure, you can just mix your ingredients together and call it a cocktail. But your drinks will taste exponentially better if you use a shaker. It allows you to mix the ingredients together thoroughly and to make a cold drink without watering it down too much. You can’t really make a martini without one of these, and pretty much every cocktail recipe you look up is going to recommend you use one.
Partner of the shaker, the strainer is how you’re going to get the drink from one vehicle to the other. Use it to strain liquids into a drinking glass without letting ice spill out.
We’re going to tell you how to be the most popular home bartender in town: Get yourself a muddler. Use it to mash fruit and herbs to level up your drinks and give them fresh flavors.
Shot glasses may bring back some bad, good, or just plain fuzzy memories from college, but they’re a useful part of your adult bar situation as well. Use them to measure alcohol for drinks. Or, you know, use them for shots.
Have you ever been to a party, realized there was no bottle opener, resorted to frantic Google searches for “how to open a bottle without a bottle opener,” and ended up trying to open one with your teeth? Don’t try to open a beer with your teeth. Make sure that doesn’t happen at your party. Invest in a bottle opener and keep it on your bar at all times.
See above. Same goes for wine.
No explanation needed. You need ice to keep your bottles cold (without having to get up and fetch more ice).
There are wine glasses for essentially every type of wine, but here’s the thing: Unless your friends are sommeliers, they’re not going to notice which type of glass they’re holding, as long as the glass is full. If you don’t want lots of glasses, one option is to go with a universal set. As we said, the most important thing about a wine glass is that it has wine in it.
Double Old-Fashioned Glasses
If you’re tight on space, don’t bother with glasses for every type of cocktail. Go with a set of double old-fashioned glasses, and serve everything in them. Whether you’re serving manhattans or margaritas, they’ll do just fine.
No need to stock your bar with every type of liquor under the sun. If you’re throwing a party and want to make a specialty cocktail, buy ingredients and alcohol as needed. But here’s what you should have around all the time:
- Vermouth (optional)
The rule for alcohol applies to mixers, too. Keep seltzer, tonic, and bitters around all the time. Everything else you can buy as necessary.
Never have a party without the following items on your bar:
- Juices (Cranberry is a great no-fail option. Orange and pineapple juices are also good choices.)
- Lemons and limes