Planning to build your own home bar and absolutely have no idea how to get it started? We’re here to help you on your noble quest with a list of things you need to do exactly that. Here is how you can build and stock your own personalised home bar. House parties will never be the same anymore.
1) Set a budget
To begin with, you must know that creating your own bar has no definite cost. The cost depends purely on your choices and amount of customisation required. The cost of the bar also depends on the type of alcohol you plan to stock and the kind of glasswares you wish to have. Setting a proper budget not only helps you to ease the bar stocking work but will also help you to build the bar in pocket friendly rates.
2) Readymade or Customised?
After setting the budget the next question to answer is whether to buy a readymade bar or get it customised. To get out of this confusing state the best thing to do is compare the prices and the quality from various sources before you make a final decision. People generally prefer customized ones as it gives you the freedom to enhance your creativity and helps to build the bar comfortably.
3) C for Corner or C for Center?
The location of your bar is another important factor to keep in mind while building one. Most people prefer to have their bar in the corner of the house. Coming back to your den and sitting at your favourite spot with a drink in your hand can truly refresh your mood. On the other hand, some people choose to keep their bar classic which also doubles up as the perfect show piece.
4) Flute, Mug and More
Having proper glassware is what adds the charm to your bar other than the alcohol. Thus, it is very essential to know the different types of glasswares and their purpose. Don’t make the mistake of serving wine in a martini glass or vice versa.
5) The Important Stuff
No bar is complete without the proper bar tools or bar accessories such as –
- a) Jigger- A double ended vessel used to measure the liquor.
- b) Speed pourers – It controls the flow and amount of the liquor poured.
- c) Juice presser – To squeeze lemon or lime juice without much trouble.
- d) Bar spoon – A long spoon with few twists in between, used to stir cocktails and drinks.
- e) Muddler- It is a wooden tool used to crush mint leaves, lemon slices etc.
- f) Cocktail Shaker- Used to mix two or more liquids along with ice and mixers.
- g) Knife – A sharp knife is required to cut the ice and other garnishers precisely.
- h) Chopping board – Knife and chopping board go hand in hand. To cut fast and neatly chopping board is must.
- i) Tea strainer – After mixing the cocktail, used for separating unwanted mixers or garnishers from the cocktail.
- j) Hawthrone strainer – Used to separate ice from the drink before being served. It is attached to the shaker.
- k) Bottle opener – To avoid spilling the drink and wasting time bottle openers are must. Remember not all bottle openers are the same. A whiskey required a cork opener where as beer bottle requires the regular bottle opener.
Mixers are added to liquor to make it taste good and enhance its flavour profile. For example, the most common combination of an alcohol and mixer is rum and coke. Just like Coke there are a few main mixers such as-
- a) Lime juice – It is widely used in cocktails to add a tangy and sour taste to the cocktails.
- b) Cranberry juice – Be it for vodka or cosmopolitan cranberry juice is just the answer to all your cocktail problems.
- c) Simple syrup – Simple syrup is nothing but some sugar in water used to sweeten the cocktails.
- d) Soda – This one goes without saying. Be it for whiskey or mojito, soda is a must ingredient in any bar. Make sure you store small bottles so that the soda does not go flat.
Apart from these, the other main ingredient is ice. The only thing that is used in every drink you make. One must have ice tools that includes ice tray, ice bucket and tongs to serve ice. Ice trays comes in various sizes and shapes so it’s important to pick the right one.
The presentation of your drink is the most important aspect of serving your drink. It is always a good idea to keep few basic garnishers in your bar such as lemon, mint leaves, rock salt, onions and cheese.
Last but not the least are the different spirits that will occupy pride of place in your home bar. Make sure you have a decent collection of spirits such as Whiskey, Beer, Vodka, Rum, Wine etc to accommodate everyone’s tastes.
Whiskies come in wide varieties of single, double and triple malt. It also comes in different types such as Scotch, Bourbon, Irish and Rye. This can make it difficult to select the right whiskey for your home bar. Generally, Scottish whiskies are smooth and versatile stocking and will be helpful for making cocktails or simply having it with ice. On the other hand, Bourbon fans are known to take their drink seriously too so it’s not a bad option to stock at least one Bourbon whisky. If you want to experiment, try some of the Japanese whiskies on offer.
Almost every popular cocktail has vodka as a base ingredient in it. There is a wide variety of vodka brands along with different flavours such as cranberry vodka, orange vodka, peach vodka etc. Make sure you have a simple or plain vodka and you can also have the flavoured ones. This will also help you to experiment with your drinks.
Storing two rums is never a bad idea. A light rum is the best ingredient when it comes to making cocktails such as daiquiri. On the other hand, dark rum is generally enjoyed either on the rocks, mixed with Coke or making tropical cocktails.
You can never go wrong with wine. Apart from Red and white wine, Sparkling and Rose are the most popular types of wine consumed. Stocking wine in your home bar will ensure that you are always prepared for the last-minute guests and also for the days when you just want to relax and sip your wine in peace. The red wines you can store are Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvigon. The white wines you can stock are Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
Talking about cocktails and home bar and missing gin? Not a good idea. Gin acts as a base spirit for ample of cocktails and it comes in four varieties London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, and Genever. Try stocking some native gins such as Greater Than and Stranger and Sons and our current favourite Hapusa to impress your friends.
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Palak Khandelwal is a chai enthusiast and a writer on her journey to making a career in journalism