One of the most stressful parts of planning events at your own home can be making sure that everyone leaves satisfied. The snacks, food, and music are all important to think about, but having a selection of adult beverages can elevate a simple get-together into a soiree. Here are some of the most important items to have in your own home bar.
Tools of the Trade
In case your guests don’t prefer their drinks on the rocks, you’ll want to make sure to keep some mixers on hand. Soda, ginger beer, and a few types of juices are a minimum, but there is a variety of cocktail making ingredients like bitters, blue curacao, grenadine, pineberry syrup, and sour mix that really kick a bar up to legendary status.
To make sure that your bar is up to snuff, you’ll also want to have a few tools for mixing your cocktails. For the basics, a cocktail shaker is key. Stirring drinks with a spoon doesn’t offer the same luxury feel that a shaken cocktail brings. Another basic is what’s called a jigger. You have probably seen this without even knowing what it is called. A jigger is a small tool used to measure shots before putting them in a drink. Without a jigger, your drinks can vary in strength wildly and make for a party that ends a little too soon.
To make sure you are more prepared, a blender can be a useful tool. Making frozen drinks without it can be next to impossible. A decanter can also help to class up a bar. Usually found with matching glass sets, a decanter is just a fancy way to store your alcohol without the annoyance of a store-bought bottle.
To really set your bar apart, I recommend a glass chiller. These can be found as standalone units or as a rack that fits inside a full-size fridge. Nothing is quite as nice as serving up an ice-cold drink inside of an ice-cold glass.
Let the Spirit Move You
The heart and soul of your bar will be the selection of spirits. Wine and beer are great, but liquors offer more flexibility with flavor and ensure that your guests will have something they want. For light spirits, white rum, gin, and vodka are a must. Gin compliments tart and citrus flavors, rum can simmer down a bubbly dark soda, and vodka is a great middle-ground that works particularly well with fruity drinks. A bit of silver tequila would round off this section nicely.
For dark spirits, it is best to stick with whiskey. Having a brandy, scotch, rye, and bourbon would make sure you are completely stocked. If you aren’t willing to bust the bank, a value bottle of Canadian whiskey and classy bourbon are enough.
Craft Beer and Wines
For those guests who don’t prefer a stiff drink, a home bar will need a selection of beer and wines. As wine is a popular gift item, you probably already have some quality draughts sitting around. Making sure to have both dry and sweet wine is more important than color. A Pinot Grigio (dry), Chardonnay (medium), and Moscato (sweet) are enough to satisfy everyone.
As far as beer, a wide selection is preferred. Make sure to have classic light beers like Bud Light, Miller Light, and Coors Light. Apart from that, try to find different craft brands that you like. Popular styles of craft beer are IPAs, APAs, Stouts, and fruit-infused varieties. Ask your local liquor store for some help. They can give you better direction based on what is available locally.
Now that your bar is up and running, the only thing left is to invite over some friends or business partners. Here are a few popular cocktails to make sure that your next party is memorable:
- Dark and Stormy – 2 oz. rum, 5 oz. ginger beer, a splash of lemon juice, lime wedge garnish
- The Old Fashioned – Angostura bitters, 2 oz. bourbon, sugar, orange peel garnish
- Whiskey Sour – 2 oz. whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, shake, orange slice garnish
Enjoy your new perfectly-stocked home bar, and remember to drink responsibly.