Here on the fourth floor, we love to entertain. With the holiday season fast approaching, what better time to prepare our home bar to host any friends and family who stop by for a visit? Cocktail culture can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s a run down of the basics:
Let’s get started with the most important part of a home bar: the alcohol. As you may have noticed when out on the town, the basic bar consists of a standard set of liquors (vodka, gin, rum, rye and scotch), beer and wine. This combination ensures all guests will find something that suits their tastes. These staples can be stocked on a budget or to reflect finer tastes. While not for everyone’s tastes, we also like to stock our bars with bourbon and some sort of bubbly (Prosecco is a lower cost alternative to champagne).
Stocking up on a variety of mixes is just as important as alcohol itself. We recommend having the following on hand: soda water, tonic, ginger beer and cranberry or orange juice. If you’re feeling like experimenting with cocktails, then bitters are your new best friend. Bitters are an essential for most cocktail recipes, and act as a binding agent for different flavours. If you’re going to have two bitters in your bar, the classics are Angostura (required for Manhattans and Old Fashioneds) and Peychauds (used in Sazeracs). However, there are so. many. bitters out there. Experiment away! Stop into BYOB for an insanely comprehensive offering. Some fresh cut lemons and limes, olives and maraschino cherries provide a finishing touch. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some ice!
Glassware is the obvious place to start. Your bar should have rocks glasses (great for most mixed drinks), coupes (a fancier way to serve cocktails, also perfect for bubbly), Collins glasses and wine glasses. A cocktail shaker is a given, as is a wine/beer opener. Less obvious, but great to have on-hand are a citrus zester, jigger, bar spoon and vermouth mister (for your martini-loving friend). Finally, one of the latest trends in cocktails is XL ice cubes. The Tovolo King Cube tray makes 2-inch cubes, which melt slower than traditional cubes and cause less dilution. Finally, the piece de resistance for any home bar is where you store it. We have been dying to pick up a bar cart, to house all of our goodies (you listening, Santa?).
With all of the above, your best bet is to buy a few things at a time knowing what cocktails they will make and slowly grow your home bar as you experiment with new drinks! Finally, please remember to drink responsibly this holiday season. In particular, never ever driving or letting a friend drive when drunk. Stuck for a ride home? Download Uber for quick, hassle-free lift.