The best part of entertaining at home is the ability to show off your hosting skills and showcase your creative side with food and drink. A home bar can be a big part of impressing your guests as you make their favorite Martini and offer them a fine ale from your elegantly placed bar fridge.
photo credit: Olya Kobruseva / Pexels
Nowadays, learning the art of bartending can be an enjoyable hobby and not just relegated to those who work in bars. Many people are getting their mixology certificates in their spare time so they can learn how to mix the ultimate cocktail in the comfort of their own homes.
Making the perfect drink requires the perfect tools, and stocking your home barware essentials can be an enjoyable hobby in itself.
What do you need for your home bar?
In order to make a great cocktail, you must have a reliable cocktail shaker. No one wants to start shaking and then have liquid dripping all over their bar top and onto their clothes. Quality cocktail shakers are an important investment for anyone serious about their home bar.
A 28-ounce and one 18-ounce shaker in stainless steel made by a reputable company should take care of your shaker needs and last you a long time. There are three types of cocktail shakers available: the Boston shaker, cobbler shaker, and the less common Parisian shaker (also known as the French shaker).
A cobbler shaker is a cup with a cap. This type of shaker is easier to use for beginners but it has a tendency to leak and spill, so it is not the one most recommended for long-term use.
This type of shaker has two cups rather than a cap. The Boston shaker is what the professionals use, and while it takes some practice to use it properly, it is worth the extra effort. These shakers make a tight seal that won’t break until you are ready to pour.
Also known as the Hawthorne strainer, this tool will strain the pulp, ice, and any other bits and pieces you don’t want pouring into your glass. Have you ever poured a drink with ice and had the ice fall into the glass, spraying all the liquid? A strainer will prevent that from happening, and you won’t be picking seeds out of your drink or gulping big chunks of fruit.
For beginners, a jigger is very helpful to measure out the perfect amount of liquid for the cocktail recipes you are pouring. Stainless steel jiggers will last longer and don’t cost a lot, leaving you more money for other things necessary in your home bar.
Once you are comfortable with the basics and want to explore more involved and complex drinks, there are some advanced tools you can purchase that will bring your bartending skills to the next level.
Tools the professionals use
Have you ever heard the term “double-strained” when ordering a drink at a bar? This means that once the liquid passes through the initial Hawthorne strainer, it is then poured through the fine strainer to ensure no little pieces of pulp or small seeds get through. Using a fine strainer creates a smooth, quality cocktail.
This tool is useful when mixing alcohols together. A mixing glass gives you more control when the drink contains mostly spirits and helps your drink not get too diluted.
You may be asking yourself why you need a bar spoon instead of just using a regular spoon. These spoons are specifically designed for mixing drinks, and they are the perfect length and width for this purpose. Plus, they look way more professional than an ordinary kitchen spoon.
Several special drink recipes call for muddling fruit, spices, herbs, and other ingredients to release the flavor. It is worth the extra effort to test out a few types of muddlers to see which one suits you and is comfortable to use. Muddlers look like pestles and work in the same way, but you want to make sure it is comfortable and doesn’t obliterate the ingredients you are muddling.
Best booze for your bar
Some spirits and liqueurs are more prevalent in drinks than others, and there is a list of standard types every home bar should have.
- Vodka – available in different flavors and a must-have for traditional cocktails like Caesars and Cosmos.
- Gin – another favorite of those who enjoy a Tom Collins or a Gimlet
- Other types that are a must include white rum, dry vermouth, whiskey, tequila, and Triple Sec.
Mixers, bitters, and juice
A cocktail with pizzazz starts with adding something other than just straight liquor. Types of bitters that are a must for any home bar are Angostura and orange bitters. You can make the majority of cocktails requested with these two types in your arsenal.
Standard juices for any drinks include lemon, lime, orange, and cranberry.
Mixers include soda water and sodas like 7Up, ginger ale, and cola.
Building and stocking your own home bar can be a fun and challenging hobby that will bring you joy every time you entertain, definitely making the home bar a worthwhile investment.