Whether you are hosting an intimate dinner or a sizable soiree, flaunt your bartending skills with a well-stocked home bar.
Step 1: Select location Select a spot to set up your bar. Home bar options may include a stand-alone bar complete with sink, wine racks, and glass storage, or simply a designated cabinet or other area in the dining room or basement.
Step 2: Choose alcohol Make your alcohol selections. A typical bar well includes vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, whiskey, scotch, and bourbon. You will also want sweet and dry vermouths, beer, and wine.
TIP: Remember that selected spirits need not be top shelf. Premium price alone doesn't ensure quality.
Step 3: Add mixers Select mixers, such as tonic water, club soda, fruit juices, soft drinks, tomato juice, sour mix, lime juice, grenadine, and bitters. And, of course, ice.
Step 4: Select garnishes Stock garnishes. Common garnishes include olives, maraschino cherries, sugar, and kosher salt. When you're expecting company, add perishables like lemon, lime, and orange slices.
Step 5: Stock equipment Stock your equipment. Must-haves include a bottle opener, blender, corkscrew, and shaker. Other tools to consider are jiggers, a strainer, a cocktail spoon, a grater, a paring knife, a cutting board, and a muddler.
Step 6: Choose glassware While your options for glassware are limitless, a well-kept bar should include old-fashioneds, highballs, martini glasses, glasses for wine, champagne, and beer, shot glasses, and cordial glasses.
Step 7: Throw a party Now that you're stocked, invite your closest, most sophisticated friends over for a cocktail party!
FACT: By one account, a New York bartender invented the Manhattan cocktail in the 1860s at a bar on lower Broadway.