How to Set Up A Bar At Home
In some parts of the world, going out to the bar for a drink or two with a few good friends can end up being an incredibly costly endeavour. For whatever reason – taxes, high cost of living, high cost of ingredients, etc., etc., – it’s always a downer to pay a lot for a nice cocktail that you can easily make at home for much less money. Here is how to set up a bar or bar area at home where professional, tasty drinks can be made, and it won’t send you to the cleaners financially, either.
Find the best place to work
Right off the bat, you don’t need a fancy “wet bar” built-in to your home in order to make nice alcoholic beverages. While these areas are quite nice to have, they aren’t necessary. What you will need however, is an area that has a sink and counter space or a table close by for your tools. A double sink will be the most ideal sort of sink to have, and one side can be used for washing glasses on the go and re-using them and the other side can be for storing ice; if ice is bought from the store, take it out of the plastic bag it comes in; the idea is for water to drain out of the ice as it melts so that drinks won’t get watered down. However, before placing any ice in the sink, make sure the sink is spotlessly clean by sanitizing it with a bleach/water solution, giving it a scrub, and thoroughly rinsing. If a double sink isn’t available, a single sink will be just fine, but keep ice in a separate bucket on the countertop and drain water out periodically if necessary.
The next thing you’ll want to make fancy cocktails is proper glassware. Cocktails come in a variety of glasses, so make sure you’ve got the basics. If buying new stuff at the department store is too expensive, have a look at the second-hand shops in the area; there are great deals on decent quality glasses. Here are the types and minimum quantities of glasses you’ll need.
• 2 old-fashioned or “rocks” glasses. These are the short glasses that are sometimes used to serve water.
• 2 highball or “Collins” glasses. These are the tall water glasses and have an 8 oz capacity.
• 2 martini or cocktail glasses. These are the ones that look like an inverted triangle on a stem
• 4 white wine glasses.
• 4 red wine glasses. These will be bigger than white wine glasses with a larger bowl. Some red wine glasses that are popular are stemless, like glass cups.
• 2 champagne flutes. The tall and very narrow wine glasses; good for champagne and champagne-based cocktails.
• 6 shot glasses.
• 4 beer glasses. A classic “pilsner” glass will hold one regular sized bottle of beer.
With these glasses, you’ll be able to properly present most cocktails that are popular in bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
Once the glasses have been sorted, in order to make proper cocktails and open wine bottles correctly, you’ll need proper tools. You will need:
• A waiter’s corkscrew.
This sort of corkscrew is the best to have. Others that have double handles or rely on an air pump are next to useless. Take a few minutes to learn how to use one, and it will be your best friend forever in a bartending sense.
• A bottle opener. Even if one is included on your waiter’s corkscrew, it’s always good to have an extra one so that guests don’t try to open beer bottles by banging them on your table or using (and breaking) their teeth.
• A cocktail shaker with lid and strainer. Usually, these are made of stainless steel or glass and are widely available; however a cocktail shaker can be improvised with a Tupperware jug, lid, and regular tea strainer.
• A measuring glass that measures out 1 ounce or 1.5 ounces. Shot glasses can be used for this purpose is special measuring glasses can’t be found.
• An ice scoop or tongs and an ice bucket if a double sink is not available. Never use a service glass or any glass to scoop ice; the glass can easily break and can cause a whole host of problems.
• A blender. This will be necessary if one wants to make frozen, slushy-style drinks like margaritas and daiquiris.
• A long, slender spoon for stirring.
• A cutting board for preparing garnishes and slicing limes, lemons and oranges
• A small, sharp knife for garnish preparation. Never use a dull knife; dull knives are likely to slip and cut your fingers.
• Dish soap and a dish towel for washing, drying and polishing glasses as you go.
• Optional kettle/coffee maker. If you are preparing beverages like Hot Toddies, Polar Bears, Hot Buttered Rum, or Spanish Coffees, have a kettle close by for hot water and have coffee made ahead of time.
Basic Bar Ingredients
If you’re setting up a bar for a party where lots of different cocktails such as fruit margaritas and piña coladas will be made, you’ll also need:
• Lime-flavoured syrup
• Lemon-flavoured syrup
• Strawberry-flavoured syrup
• Coconut syrup or coconut milk
• Pineapple juice
• Orange juice
• Cranberry juice
• Variety of sodas (Coca-cola, Sprite, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, etc.)
Because cocktails will be made with the liquor, you can get away with buying the cheapest brands, which are referred to in the business as “bar brands”.
• Bar vodka
• Bar rum
• Bar tequila
• Bar gin
• Bar whiskey
• Bar rye
• Bar coffee liqueur
• Bar orange liqueur (triple sec)
• Bar irish crème liqueur
There are many more types of liqueurs that one can get in order to make more cocktails, but the liquors mentioned above will enable you to make at least 25 different cocktails with ease.
Bartending at home for a party is a lot of fun if you’re prepared for it, have the right ingredients, correct tools and a good place to work. With a little practice you’ll find tending bar feels quite natural and chances are you’ll be making the best cocktails in town.
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