Having a solid bar at home is required for any person who loves the odd cocktail and a Saturday afternoon G&T. It’s also great for entertaining. So what constitutes a good bar?
Needless to say, there is no right answer. It all comes down to your personal situation and preferences. If you like to entertain frequently you might want to equip your bar more extensively. For personal use a minimal set up will do. But where do you start from, what’s a good basic set up for any bar?
The cornerstone of your bar. If you only like gin and tonics or are a martini enthusiast and don’t care for much else then you know what to get.
If you want to make different cocktails and experiment you’ll need a couple of bottles. Owning these five strong liquors will give you a wide range. Don’t go for the most premium bottles but do buy quality.
-Whisky (bourbon and/or rye, scotch is rarely used)
You should also invest in some supporting alcohols. These four are widely used in cocktails and will make a great addition to your bar:
-Dry Vermouth (vermouths should always be kept in the fridge)
-Cointreau or Triple Sec
Stocking all of this will be plenty. Yet if you want to take it a bit further I suggest buying some liqueurs, cordials and apéritifs.
-St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
-Creme de Violette
Make sure to have plenty of ice. Having fresh citrus such as limes, lemons and oranges is preferable. Other fruits can come in handy too. Sugar is essential and easy to use if you turn it into simple sugar. Simply boil one part of sugar with one part of water till the sugar dissolves. This syrup keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
Keep some mixers like soda, tonic water, ginger ale and sparkling lemonade in your fridge as well.
You don’t need a bunch of 007 gadgets to make cocktails, most standard kitchen equipment will do. You should buy a good cocktail shaker and strainer though. They aren’t expensive and required for a lot of cocktails. You could invest in a muddler, bar spoon, citrus reamer but you probably have similar items in your kitchen already. A jigger for measuring can be quite useful.
With this basic set up you can’t go wrong. If you’ll allow me to suggest one more thing; store all your equipment on a bar cart. It’s an elegant and practical way of storing your bottles and equipment plus it serves as a work base.
Have fun and let us know if you have any suggestions to improve this list. Cheers!
[Article by Alexander Eeckhout]