No matter if your space allows for a full built-in home bar or you turn an end table or console into your personal drink station, having an stocked cocktail area will enhance any entertaining occasion. Begin with essential spirits like bitters and vermouth (dry and sweet), plus bitters for cocktails (either dry or sweet) plus ice.
Choosing the Right Space
Joybird conducted a study that revealed 58% of Americans listed an adequately stocked home bar as their top must-have item for hosting parties at home.
Starting out, it’s essential that you choose where your bar should be located. Catherine Mack, co-owner of House Buyer Network in Cleveland suggests considering which space you entertain most and planning accordingly. Depending on where your chosen location is, investing in either a wet bar with proximity to plumbing or a dry portable bar for multipurpose rooms such as the living room may make sense.
If you prefer a permanent setup, consider investing in a cabinet with ample storage to organize bottles and glasses. Mix open shelving with cabinets for display of eye-catching barware while hiding everyday essentials away in cabinets. Mobile carts offer another excellent choice that can easily be moved out of the way when no longer necessary.
Stocking the Bar
Home bars can be an invaluable asset when entertaining or simply sipping on whiskey after a long day. With some planning, creating an eye-catching, functional bar will become the centerpiece of your living space.
Your selection of home bar items depends entirely on your personal taste and budget. A bar that specializes in mixed drinks will require various glassware including basic wine glasses as well as taller cocktail highball glasses. Jiggers may also come in handy to measure out cocktails accurately.
As a starting point, stock your bar with standard spirits such as vodka, gin, rum and whiskey as well as bottles of each variety of vermouth. Incorporating modifiers like Angostura aromatic bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters and Scrappy’s Bitters into your arsenal to achieve specific cocktail flavors will round off your bar experience nicely. Don’t forget nonalcoholic mixers and garnishes to finish it all off!
Keeping it Clean
An in-living-room or dining-area bar can make entertaining easier by eliminating the need to leave when guests request beverages, and serving as a central storage spot for spirits and mixers so you don’t have to run back and forth from the kitchen.
Even without an attached bar area, standalone cabinets and carts provide plenty of storage, with designated spots to display your glassware and bottles. For added functionality, add a small refrigerator so prized bottles stay chilled!
If you enjoy garnishing cocktails, ensure that you stock a selection of fresh fruit such as lemons, limes, oranges and cranberries to add color. In addition, keep mint and basil plants on hand along with sugar cubes as essential additions for garnishing cocktails. Finally, don’t forget a strainer for shaken mixed drinks, citrus peeler and pitcher of ice as essential tools!
Adding a Personal Touch
Making your home bar truly your own starts with adding some personal touches – for example, adding an eye-catching gold accent can elevate the appearance of any cabinet and bring instant class and sophistication.
Add a mirrored backsplash for added light reflection and to make the space feel larger and brighter. Incorporate artwork or photos for personalization of this area.
Final touches should include some essential tools and accessories for mixing drinks. A quality cocktail shaker set and selection of glasses should be the base components of any home bar. They can easily be found online or locally for an affordable price; for something unique consider personalized glassware emblazoned with monograms or initials as unique touches that elevate a home bar and help make entertaining easy!