Cocktails, Mocktails, and More: How to Set Up Your Home Bar

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Setting up a home bar is easier than you may think and offers a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and revamp your home décor. A home bar is also a must for entertaining guests. So what are you waiting for? Follow this simple guide, and get started on creating your own home bar today. Cheers!

Where to Put It

The first item to tackle when setting up a home bar is to invest in a storage system to store and additionally show off your impending alcohol collection and essential tools. Depending on how ambitious you are in setting up a home bar, this can range from a simple bookshelf with a few key items and bottles of alcohol to a fully stocked console unit, fit for hosting events of Great Gatsby grandeur. Another great option is a bar cart, which can be conveniently moved around.

Buy the Basic Tools

It only takes a few simple tools to get your bar up and running. You can find these tools at kitchen stores, flea markets, or antique shops. Be sure to have the following tools on hand: bar spoon, corkscrew, muddler, jigger, cocktail shaker, and strainer. The convenience of these tools will become self-evident as you get started, but for some of the less self-explanatory terms, a jigger is a convenient tool for measuring 1 to 2 oz. volumes and a muddler is a pestle-like tool that is used to “muddle” fresh ingredients and spices in the bottom of a glass in order to release full flavor into your drinks.

Recipes and Alcohol

Invest in a few base spirits and a few mixers and let your imagination run wild! If you’re not sure where to start, borrow a cocktail book from the library or try new drinks at your local bar to find out what you might enjoy making. Arguably, Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks is the most famous bartending and cocktail book of all time and a great place for any budding enthusiast to start.

The simplest of bars are stocked with a few base liquors, convenient mixers, and bitters. If you’re just setting up your home bar start small and slowly grow your stock of alcohol. A good place to start is with one of each essential: gin, bourbon, whiskey, scotch whiskey, tequila, white rum, and dark rum. Ultimately, buy what you like to drink and don’t feel you have to go top shelf!  Remember, it’s your bar!

Extras and Garnishes

The most common mixers are tonic, ginger beer, and fresh juice. Fresh juice is also key for creating stunning mocktails to cater to guests and family members who don’t drink. Keep these on hand and don’t forget garnishes. No matter the cocktails you prefer, the fresher the ingredients the better. It’s also handy to keep fresh herbs such as mint or basil on hand. Try growing some in your home garden!

Storing Liquor

The beauty of a home bar is that it is fairly easy to maintain because alcohol can often keep indefinitely. Store your liquor in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
A good rule of thumb is to consume liquor with a lower liquid level first, as air in the bottle will leach out flavor.

Storing Wine

Vermouth, both sweet and dry, is great to have on hand for any home bar, but
is actually a wine. Vermouth, along with all your other wines, is best stored in a controlled unit. Consider a wine cooler like the Wine Storage System by Miele, which stores up to 102 bottles in attractive wood shelves and makes controlling the temperature extremely easy with simple controls.

Setting up a home bar is not only a great way to get creative with the drinks you make, but also offers opportunities to play with the décor and design of your kitchen. H&H Appliance Center offers endless options to not only build out your dream kitchen, but also has the latest appliances for improving the efficiency of your kitchen. Visit us at our showroom today to speak to an expert!


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