Home Liquor Bar

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Home Liquor Bar

2 of 9 Storing Liquor Liquor will keep for a long time, particularly in a cool place away from direct sunlight. The lower the liquid level, though, the more quickly you should consume the liquor, as the air in the bottle will leach out the flavors. Vermouth, however, is a wine, and should be refrigerated and drunk fairly quickly.

Home Liquor Bar

Liquor will keep for a long time, particularly in a cool place away from direct sunlight. The lower the liquid level, though, the more quickly you should consume the liquor, as the air in the bottle will leach out the flavors. Vermouth, however, is a wine, and should be refrigerated and drunk fairly quickly.

Home Liquor Bar

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Vodka. An excellent liquor for doing shots with singing babushkas or for mixing into popular cocktails like Bloody Marys and Cosmopolitans. Vodka doesn’t have a strong color, taste, or aroma, so it makes for a perfect mixing liquor. The differences between vodka brands comes down to what they’re distilled from (potatoes, grains, sugar cane) and their texture in the mouth. Some (like Absolut) have an oily, silky texture while others (like Stolichnaya) have a watery, medicinal finish.

Home Liquor Bar

Home Bar Rule #1: Pick alcohol you actually enjoy imbibing. When I first started my own home bar, I only picked spirits that I thought would impress guests when I had them over. I ended up spending a fortune for alcohol that I hardly ever used. While you’ll use your home bar for entertaining, don’t forget that a home bar’s main customer is you. When you mix yourself a cocktail to sip on the weekends while you sit on the patio with your dog, you want to enjoy it. The dog doesn’t care what your favorite gin is. That is of course if this pooch isn’t your dog. He’s so smug.

Home Liquor Bar

Remember Home Bar Rule #2: Start small. If you don’t have room or any place to store your home bar, keep your home bar small. Pick two or three different liquors and stick with those. When I was in an apartment, I kept my small bar in a cabinet above the fridge, and I kept my mixers and garnishes in the fridge.

Home Liquor Bar

If you do move into a bigger place and you’ve really enjoyed being a home mixologist, then I can’t recommend installing a permanent home bar in your home enough. Many homes today come with wet bars and storage space for a home bar. If you don’t have that, with a little initiative and sweat, you can install your own bar in an unused room in the house.

Home Liquor Bar

If you’d like something a bit more distinguished than your kitchen cabinet to serve as the home for your home bar, consider getting a cocktail cabinet or mini bar. They’re small pieces of handsome furniture that you can usually put up against the wall. They’re nice because they can serve as a gathering point without having a huge bar installed in your home. Cocktail cabinets take up very little space, but can hold quite a bit of alcohol and glassware. I have friend who picked up a vintage cocktail cabinet at the antique store. It was a bit rough, but with a bit of elbow grease he was able to spruce it up. Here’s a nice example of a retro cocktail cabinet from the 50s:

Home Liquor Bar

Without going low on the liquor shelf, we’ve assembled a list of fifteen recommendations under $50 that will keep you experimenting and mixing up a variety of classic and modern cocktails at home without completely breaking the bank. While it isn’t a complete list, leaving off a multitude of cordials and even some more basics spirits, it’s a good place for any home bartender to get started with classic recipes.

6 of 9 The Liquors Cognac For sidecars, brandy milk punches, crustas, daisies, and smashes. White Rum For daiquiris and mojitos. Gin For martinis, gin and tonics, Tom Collinses, etc. Bourbon For Manhattans, old fashioneds, and whiskey sours. Vodka Vodka is the workhorse of the liquor cabinet, used in basic drinks such as vodka tonics, screwdrivers, and the vodka martini. Tequila For margaritas, sunrises, and palomas. The best tequilas are made from 100 percent agave; check the label.

Cognac For sidecars, brandy milk punches, crustas, daisies, and smashes. White Rum For daiquiris and mojitos. Gin For martinis, gin and tonics, Tom Collinses, etc. Bourbon For Manhattans, old fashioneds, and whiskey sours. Vodka Vodka is the workhorse of the liquor cabinet, used in basic drinks such as vodka tonics, screwdrivers, and the vodka martini. Tequila For margaritas, sunrises, and palomas. The best tequilas are made from 100 percent agave; check the label.

There are many pre-bottled mixes that allow you add a base spirit to like Bloody Mary Mix and Pina Colada Mix that are available at any store that stocks liquor. These are alternatives to mixing your own cocktails from scratch and, while they are okay, they tend to leave something to be desired in the taste department.

4 & 5. Tequila (Silver & Gold)The good folks at 12 Bottle Bar have based an entire cocktail blog on the idea that a good bar can be complete with only 12 bottles. Tequila, however, was left off the list. Their justification? The only classic cocktail you can make with tequila is a margarita. Right – but where would we be without margaritas? (Look for bottles labeled “100 percent de agave” – anything else contains ‘fillers’ made from tequila-flavored grain alcohol. Gross.)

9 of 9 The Nonalcoholic Bar No one should be punished for passing up a cocktail, but if plain soda and canned juice are the only alternatives, an abstainer is likely to wind up pouting in the corner. Fortunately, there are enough flavorful nonalcoholic beverages to fill an entire bar and bring cheer to the soberest of souls. Mix fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice with a splash of seltzer to make a light cocktail. Also try sweetened, diluted lime and lemon juice served over crushed ice, or whip fresh or frozen berries in a blender with ice and a dash of lime. Get our Nonalcoholic Drink Recipes

Also, you don’t have to have your bar always stocked and prepared for a big party. When you host a party, stock up your bar to fill your needs. When you’re not anticipating a party, there’s no need to have gallons of tonic water or dozens of lime wedges on hand.

For the gentleman who enjoys entertaining, a properly stocked bar is a must. A well-mixed drink can help schmooze a boss, romance a date, and impress a friend. Mixing drinks at home for friends and family makes me feel like some swanky 1960s gentleman pouring drinks in his Space Age-inspired mid-century home. I love that feeling.

4 of 9 Glassware For everyday use in your home bar, you only need six or eight of each of these three basic types: a short glass, a tall glass, and a stem. If you plan to serve wine at your parties, invest in eight to 12 basic stemmed wineglasses, either a single shape that is appropriate for both red and white or separate sets of glasses for each.

For everyday use in your home bar, you only need six or eight of each of these three basic types: a short glass, a tall glass, and a stem. If you plan to serve wine at your parties, invest in eight to 12 basic stemmed wineglasses, either a single shape that is appropriate for both red and white or separate sets of glasses for each.

So my advice to the man just starting out: start small, grow gradually. Stocking a home bar is a marathon, not a sprint. I recommend beginning by getting the ingredients needed to make the cocktails you enjoy and know how to make well. Like Manhattans? Canadian whisky and vermouth. Martinis? Gin and vermouth.

You also have your pick between the different flavored and infused vodkas on the market. Personally, I stay away from flavored vodkas in my home bar. I can do my own infusing with garnishes, thank you very much.

Scotch whisky. Like Jack Donaghy, I too enjoy staring out a window, while holding a glass of scotch. It soothes the soul and assists in the thinking of deep, manly thoughts. My favorite Scotch-based cocktail is the classic Rob Roy. I suggest having a blended and single malt scotch in your home bar. Check out AoM’s guide to Scotch.

Well, gents, that’s all she wrote. I hope this little guide was informative and a bit entertaining. But more importantly, I hope it inspired you to get started with your home bar today. Don’t wait!

To make fantastic, creative cocktails, there’s no need to stock your bar with 12 brands of expensive vodka and a rainbow’s worth of brightly colored liqueurs. A half-dozen base spirits and a few mixers will not only allow you to turn out a surprising number of cocktail classics but also give you enough to tinker with to come up with some cool drinks of your own.

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