The fact that a gentleman – one who enjoys entertaining just as much as he enjoys savoring a good drink at home – sees a properly stocked bar as an absolute must will come as no surprise. Never underestimating the power of a well-mixed drink, he will know just how to impress his friends and how to fully energize a fun gathering at his place. Mixing cocktails at home might evoke a distinct mood, reminiscent of the 1960s, but that is one of the great things about owning a bar at home.
The liquor you choose to stock in your bar is heavily influenced by a series factors, amongst them the cocktails you plan to serve, the budget you assign for the task, some special occasion that asks for restocking as opposed to setting up the bar with drinks that mostly you enjoy. A list of essential spirits could represent a good starting point, as it consist of the ingredients needed for the most popular cocktails.
With that in mind, here’s the best way to stock your bar this week-end for under $150:
- Bourbon: Cabin Still Bourbon – $9.79
- Brandy: Christian Brothers VS Brandy – $11.79
- Gin: Bellows London Dry Gin – $9.19
- Rye: Old Overholt Straight Re Whiskey – $12.79
- Scotch: House of Stuart Scotch Whiskey – $14.99
- Tequila: Familia Camarena Silver Tequila – $15.99
- Vodka: Moskovskaya Russian Vodka – $8.99
- White rum: Bacardi Superior Light Rum Traveler – $11.99
- Aromatic bitters: Angostura Aromatic Bitters – $7.99
- Sweet vermouth: Noilly Prat Rouge Sweet Vermouth – $4.69
- Dry vermouth: Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth – $4.49
- Tomato mix: Clamato Tomato Cocktail Mix – $3.99
- Lime Juice: Master of Mixes Cocktail Essentials Lime Juice – $2.99
- Lemon Juice: Realemon Lemon Juice – $2.69
- Maraschino Cherries: Hadden House Maraschino Cherries – $2.99
- Triple Sec: Leroux Triple Sec – $9.29
- Olives, lemon & sugar – $6
Once you have a solid base, you can add or remove liquors or mixers based on other drinks you may want to make. There’s no doubt that when you’re choosing a liquor for your mixed-drinks you want to get the best available, but sometimes spending $30 or more on one bottle simply doesn’t fit in the budget. At that times is when you should consider paying more on a bottle of spirits that is ready to serve, and less on liquors that are going to be used exclusively for mixed drinks and cocktails.
Alongside the essential spirits, liquors and mixers, you will need to make use of a basic equipment, one that is simple enough to master and that doesn’t require a lot of tools. Your barware should consist of:
- Bar spoon – typically with a long shaft, a spiral handle and a petite spoon bowl with holes
- Jigger – helps ensure a precise measuring of liquids and creating consistent cocktails
- Muddler – usually a thick stick, made of either wood, stainless steel, or plastic
- Strainer – a flat-topped, perforated metal device with a continuous coil of wire around its perimeter
- Cocktail Shaker – a metal shaker with a tight-fitting top covering a strainer
- Speed pourer – offers the ability to pour liquor from the bottles very quickly and easily
- Ice bag & ice cub trays
Gorham 5-Piece Cocktail Prep Set at Bloomingdales.
A little knowledge about storing the liquor comes with the territory. Liquor will keep for a long time, particularly if it’s stored in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. As the liquor level get lower, though, the more quickly you should consume the remaining quantity, as the air in the bottle is known to leach out the flavours. Also, opened bottles are likely to lose some of their characteristics due to exposure to air. You may want to throw a bottle away or give it a taste before mixing it into a drink if you observe any sugar crystallizing on the bottom (particularly in liquors), discoloration, curdling or other notable changes.
In the particular case of Vermouth that is a fortified wine, the bottle should be refrigerated and drunk fairly quickly. Don’t store the liquor with speed pourers unless you’re using them, as these allow air to get inside the bottle and make sure to keep opened bottles sealed tightly in order to increase the liquor’s shelf life.