While social gatherings are on pause until further notice and it’s ill advised to visit a crowded grocery or liquor store, alcohol delivery is still available and this may be the perfect time to put together a swanky at-home bar to keep yourself satisfied during these times of social isolation.
Not only do home bars look awesome but you’ll also be able to enjoy top-notch cocktails in your pyjamas – sitting on your couch at a fraction of the price you would pay at a bar. What more could you ask for? Am I right?
Now it’s time to get creative and move this party on over to the kitchen!
What to stock?
Let’s start with equipment and don’t worry, we aren’t going to suggest that you spend an arm and a leg. In fact you probably have all the necessities in your house already.
- Jigger – A cocktail jigger is an alcohol-measuring cup. A vital tool bartenders use for measuring the perfect alcohol serving in a cocktail (usually 1.5 oz) but if you don’t have one on hand you can use a regular shot glass as your measuring device. If you don’t have either of the two, no biggie, just eyeball it and free-pour to your desired strength.
- Muddler – AKA mashing stick. Muddlers are made for crushing fruits and herbs. This releases their juices and aromas adding flavor to the cocktail. You can use a wooden mixing spoon, the blunt end of an ice cream scoop or a meat masher, your kitchen tool should have a wide enough base to pound fruits and herbs in your mixing cup.
- Shaker & Strainer – You’ll need a two-piece shaker for martinis, daiquiris and the like. If you don’t already own one, you can use your gym protein shaker, a to-go coffee cup, or a mason jar. Simply put your ingredients inside, cover the mouth-sipping hole and shake away. When you’re ready to pour you can use a small kitchen sieve or a large slotted spoon to separate the ice and larger ingredients from the liquid while pouring the mixture into your cocktail glass.
- Bar Spoon – You’ll be stirring things up in your new bar and you may have some mixing spoons handy but if you don’t try using a metal straw, a chop stick or even a butter knife.
- Ice Trays – Last but certainly not least, ice trays. Getting the right ones will elevate your cocktail game. When it comes to the ice you can use whatever ice trays you have at home but if you want to serve cocktails that are extra special, we recommend buying large cube ice trays; the larger cubes will melt slower so they won’t water down your drinks as quickly.
The most important thing is the final product so don’t get too bogged down on the equipment. Be resourceful and improvise with what you think might work best, once you figure it all out, you’ll have your own bar flow in no time.
With so many choices of liquor to choose from, the task of buying liquor can be daunting. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to buy bottles to impress guests or bottles that you think would look nice on your shelves.
We recommend sticking to what you know and buying booze you will actually drink. If your favorite cocktail is a Negroni, get some gin, vermouth and Campari. If you love citrusy margaritas add on some tequila and Cointreau. You can later use these base ingredients and try them in cocktails you might not usually order. You can Google recipes online or check out our recipes page and play around with the flavor combinations.
If you don’t have a particular go-to cocktail list, get a bottle each of the standard house pour spirits. From these base spirits you can begin to experiment with cocktail recipes you find on Google. Think Bacardi Light Rum, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Jose Cuervo Tequila and Gordon Dry Gin.
Over time you will familiarize yourself with the taste profiles of each spirit and figure out what suits your personal preference. Just keep in mind that mixing cocktails is like anything else: the more you practice, the better you will become.
I’m hoping you will emerge from social isolation with a few new cocktail recipes under your belt, good luck!