Bartending at home should be a relaxing and entertaining component to living an enjoyabe life. To make a wealth of cocktails at home that anyone and everyone can enjoy is not that difficult, it just takes having a properly stocked bar and a few basic techniques. In today's post we will discuss some basic concepts and bottles that will help develop your home bar into the neighborhood envy! In upcoming posts we will delve into stocking bar equipment, basic bartending techniques and recipes for some standard cocktails.
First and foremost: Don't be in a rush to develop your home bar. My dad has a saying' "you rarely rush to good decisions." And this is especially true for the home bar. Take your time stocking the bar. There is really no need to buyeverything at once. Add bottles strategically. Remember some of the keys to unlocking your home bar's potential. It all starts with stocking YOUR home bar first! Buy the bottles that resonate with your household and those people with whom you spend your time. However, at some point you will need to round out your home bar and below are a few professional tips to make your home bar more complete.
Rounding out your home bar: Once you have stocked your home bar with your favorites it is time to add some bottles to maximize your bartending potential. One great way to off set the economic investment of stocking the home bar is to vary the bottle sizes you purchase. Most quality retailers will keep a variety of bottle sizes (from 50mL all the way to 1.75 L) in stock so you don't have to buy a liter of Artichoke Liqueur at a time.
Some basic bottles to round out your home bar: Here is a list of recommended bottles to keep on hand to maximize your cocktail potential.
Rye/Bourbon/Tennessee Whiskey - whiskey is today's spirit darling . I love whiskey, so I keep multiple labels of each of these categories, but if you are a novice home bartender then start with one bottle of rye or TN Whiskey or Bourbon...your choice.
Rum - Light and Dark - Summer is coming and a great daquiri with light rum is hard to beat, but with that beautiful warm weather comes those dark summer rain storms. So best to have that dark rum for a Dark 'n' Stormy.
Gin - as an unapologetic nerd, I present the chemical composition of gin (& tonic)
Scotch - So many choices! If you are not an experienced scotch drinker then start with a moderately priced blended scotch and start making drinks. Ask your retailer for help, they get paid to do more than stock shelves and some of the smartes folks I know work in liquor stores.
Triple Sec - This is one category where spending a little extra money will make a big difference. Do not skimp on the orange liqueur! Also, look for smaller bottles to allow you to buy a nicer product!
Sweet Vermouth - also labeled as red/rosso/rouge/Italian. Check out the link for some interesting information and history on vermouth. The timeline alone is worth a visit.
Bitters - Angostura & Orange and check out Parson's book on Bitters here
Campari/Aperol/Cynar - these are a few of my favorite bitter liqueurs. Only one is necessary for making some of the basic cocktails like Negronis and Boulevardiers.