Mixing your own cocktails is super fun; it’s a great hobby and the most satisfactory way of taking care of your guests. Many cocktail enthusiasts craft restaurant-quality drinks; even better, some homemade concoctions are up there with the finest creations coming from prestigious bars. Making cocktails is relatively easy, too, especially if you have the right tools in hand.
Every bartender and mixologist knows they’re only as good as the ingredients and tools around them. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of essentials for a home bar. Let’s check it out!
Cocktails are more than booze and mixers, you need to have vessels to serve them in, and that means glassware. There are endless possibilities here, from handsome stemmed glassware to tumblers, highballs and martini glasses.
Start building your glassware collection today. You don’t need more than four glasses of each to meet your guests’ expectations. The thing with fancy glassware is that you just get addicted to it. Every time you see a nice crystal glass, you start thinking about what cocktail to serve in it. That’s part of the fun!
The tools of the trade
The right tools are the difference between so-so cocktails and real masterpieces. Here are some essentials you’ll need for your home bar.
- A three-piece shaker or a two-piece Boston shaker.
- A long and thin bar spoon.
- A muddler to create awesome mojitos and other mashed drinks.
- A prong strainer for your shaker and a fine-meshed strainer to double strain your drinks.
- A citrus hand press to extract all that tangy lemon and lime juice.
- A bar mat to work cleanly without worrying about drips.
- A jigger to pour precise measures.
- A peeler and zester, both can help you create really interesting garnishes to your cocktail or extract essential oils that can give the flavor of some cocktails a real boost.
Spirits and liqueurs
Let’s not forget the most important thing in a home bar, a few varied liqueurs and spirits.
Start with the basics, have a bottle of Gin, Vodka, Rum, Tequila and Whiskey in hand. Complement them with Orange Liqueur, White and Red Vermouth, Coffee Liqueur, Amaretto and any other sweet treat you want. From Chocolate Liqueur to Peach Schnapps, the sky’s the limit!
Make sure you have some simple syrup too, and perhaps some grenadine to give some color to your drinks. Bitters are also quite handy, especially to add a special touch to your drinks. Finally, some mixers. Tonic water, sparkling water, juices and a few sodas go a long way. If you have all these, you’re probably good to go to prepare a few dozen different drinks.
No cocktail is complete without a proper garnish — they’re not to be underestimated. Make sure you have in hand some fresh fruit. Citrus fruits are great for making wedges, wheels and curly peels. Lemon zest is an ingredient in its own right as well.
Then you might want to have some fresh berries around; they’re just pretty and tasty. Ideal garnishes for all types of cocktails.
A few bamboo skewers, some fresh mint and basil leaves, it’s all good. Be creative! Some of the coolest cocktails out there are garnished with unusual stuff. Just browse around and get inspired. Good luck with your cocktail mixing undertaking!