You can have your own bar at home! Here’s how:
You just got home from a long day, and want to have a nice cold drink. You don’t want to go to a bar and spend a bunch of money. Being around a lot of people doesn’t sound appealing to you. What can you do? How about bring the bar to your own home by creating your own personal bar? Follow this easy how-to guide for an beginner’s setup!
What glasses to stock
Most people are perfectly content drinking anything and everything out of a pint glass. Personally, I would not turn my nose up against any glass a friend serves a cocktail or beer to me in. However, for your personal bar, you should have a nice, wide variety of glasses. Each different type of glass has it’s own purpose, and fits best with certain cocktails or liquors.
Whiskey Rocks Glasses and Snifters work perfectly for each of their own cocktails or alcohol. A rocks glass is very versatile in the sense that you can put whatever cocktail you want to in it. If you have an ice maker for your whiskey, many people like the round ice or the large square cubes for their “on the rocks” whiskey.
Beer Glasses: Pints, Snifters, Tulips, and Weizen Glasses serve as excellent containers for your different types of beer. For the pints, you can put really any beer in them, (or cocktail for that matter) but most often, lagers and pilsners belong in the pint. Higher abv beer goes in a snifter. This allows you to control the quantity and speed that you drink the high abv beer. Tulips are great glasses for flavorful beers, such as IPA’s. Their shape gives an enhanced ability to smell the beer, and as it pours it fans the beer over your pallet, giving you a full flavor profile. Weizen glasses are for hefeweizen beers.
You should also have wine glasses for when you feel like drinking wine. These glasses double for sangria as well. If you like champagne, make sure to pick up some champagne flutes. (Even if you don’t drink a lot of champagne, flutes are great for toasting!) You will also want martini glasses for your martini style drinks, as well as shot glasses for those party nights!
What liquor to stock
Here is the magical, age-old question: What liquor should I stock for my personal bar? The short answer? Whatever the heck you want. But, for the sake of the DIYer who would like some guidance on a basic idea for what to stock, I will address the question. In my opinion, you should stock one or two different bottles of each staple type of liquor. The reason I say two of each is simple: one for yourself and loved ones or when you want to be fancy, and the other for hosting guests. You don’t want your random guests drinking your $250 bottle of Blanton’s.
Have two bottles of each type of your liquor. Depending on how often and how many guests you host, you can vary your stock accordingly. If you don’t host people that often, simply buying in pints at a time will suffice. If you host often, then it might be better to have a larger bottle of the stuff that you share, and pints of “the good stuff”. In my humble opinion, I would stock Jack Daniels, Bacardi Rum (I prefer silver), Camarena tequila (silver or gold), Tangueray gin, and New Amsterdam vodka.
As you explore different liquors and find your favorites, of course I suggest stocking what you like. The listed examples are simply for the sake of a good place to start. Your personal cabinet should have your favorites of each type, if you have them. I enjoy Angel’s Envy bourbon, Bumbu rum, Espolon tequila, Knickerbocker gin, and Valentines vodka. I don’t generally drink a lot of vodka, so my personal cabinet has much room for improvement in that sense.
Now that you have your glasses and liquor, you need the other essentials for a bar. You can buy a bartender’s kit from most general stores, and they usually contain most of what you need. You will need a shaker for your mixed drinks. While I personally don’t like Boston shakers due to my use of a lot of ingredients that could clog it, these are a good starting point.
I prefer a mixing tin with a strainer for my mixes. You will also need tongs for adding ingredients, a jigger to measure out proper quantities, a muddler, and of course a spoon to mix it all together. For your whiskey, a cool ice maker makes for a good addition to your bar. There are some interesting ice makers out there that can make perfect spherical ice balls, or large cubes for your drink. It is all about personal preference there, but there are advantages to having large ice too.