Having your own home bar is the key to entertaining friends and family at home. You can create a perfect selection of drinks while also saving money on expensive restaurant bills—all while looking like a professional mixologist. But what are the essentials that will make your home bar stand out from the rest? Let’s find out!
Useful tools such as a strainer, cocktail spoon, and bottle opener.
Essential tools such as a strainer, cocktail spoon, and bottle opener are a good place to start. A jigger is also very useful for measuring your ingredients, but it isn’t absolutely necessary to have one. If you do decide to get one, make sure that it has measurements on both sides of the glass so you can use either side as needed. If you don’t have a jigger in your bar set-up at home, then just use a measuring cup or even an old-fashioned shot glass if need be!
Glasses for every drink.
If you’re going to be serving drinks, glasses are an absolute must.
A proper bar setup should include a variety of glassware for all the different types of drinks you plan on making and serving.
There are a few different types of glasses that can be used for your home bar:
- Highball glasses (or Collins or Fizz) are tall, narrow glasses used for tall drinks like martinis or Tom Collins. These usually hold 8–10 ounces and have a stem to keep them from sloshing around in your hand when you drink them. They also look really pretty!
- Old-fashioned glasses are short, squatty-looking things that hold 6–8 ounces and have a wide base so they don’t tip over easily when set down on the table before you take your first sip. This type is great for serving classic cocktails like Manhattans or Old Fashioneds since they look lovely with their rounded rim and big blocky base!
- Rocks glasses hold 6–8 ounces depending on their size, but most importantly, these have no stem, so they fit perfectly into most refrigerators without sticking out all awkwardly as our previous two examples did! “They also come in lots of different styles at varying prices, so there should be something that fits everyone’s budget!”
Know the basics.
First things first: it’s important to know the difference between a shaker and a blender, a jigger and a muddler, and a mason jar vs. a shot glass. While these may seem like simple concepts, they’re actually critical distinctions when it comes to mixing drinks at home.
- A blender is used for making smoothies or frozen drinks that require blending ice into the mix. It doesn’t work as well with liquids like whiskey or gin—which are more prone to separating in the blades of a blender—so stick with using your shaker if you’re looking for something more robust than fruit smoothies or margaritas made from scratch.
- A jigger (also called a shot glass) is used for measuring out liquor when making cocktails on your own; it’s not as precise as using an actual measuring cup (which will give you exact measurements), but it’s easier to eyeball how much alcohol you’d like in each drink without having to measure every time you pour ingredients into your shaker or glassware prior to mixing them together.
- A muddler is similar in concept but slightly different in application; rather than measuring out exact amounts of ingredients before adding them all together at once, this utensil helps break up ingredients like mint leaves (for mojitos) so they release their oils into other liquids while stirring them together—it also works great when crushing fresh fruit pulp into juice!
Garnishes for additional flavor
- Garnishes are a great way to add flavor and color to your cocktail. As well as being an important part of the presentation of a cocktail, they can also be used to add texture, even crunchy texture!
- Some popular garnishes include:
- Lemon wheels/wedges
- Orange or lime slices
- Cucumber slices
- Grapefruit segments
A great selection of alcohol.
- Know your limits.
- Know what you like to drink.
- Understand the alcohol content of each drink and consider the type of occasion that you are serving the drinks for (if it’s a party, there’s probably going to be a mix of people who want different things).
- Consider your options (for example, will someone else bring wine, liqueurs, etc.).