5 smashing tips to build a stellar home bar

The tippler in us truly believes that one of the best accessories a home can endorse is a fully stocked bar. The joy of crafting your fave cocktails from the comfort of your home provides thrills matched to none, and it doesn’t hurt to become the talk of the town to host the best parties. Here’s a quick and simple guide to help you build a well stocked bar at home.

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THE SET UP

First up, think of the vibe you want this special corner of your home to project. For a more sophisticated, classic look and feel, a bar cart or antique wooden cabinet could work wonders. For a more relaxed feel, pick up a wooden crate or tray that can be placed on your side table. You can do up that area with empty colourful bottles and fairy lights. To get the fun vibe rolling, take out that old trunk (or a suitcase), and use empty bottle caps and fun souvenirs to enhance its top. Wall-mounted bookshelves also make for a good beginner’s bar.

If you’d rather leave it to the experts, Good Earth and FabIndia Home keep it quirky and classy at the same time. Alternatively, Ghitorni is our all-in-one fix for home furnishing needs, you’ll find select stores, furniture shops and can even get antique pieces customised to your liking!
The online shopper in you needn’t be disappointed, there’s something for everyone! Socktail.com, woodenstreet.com, pepperfry.com, fabfurnish.com and urbanladder.com are some of our favourites for buying all things bar.

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THE TOOLS

The top three tools that your bar should have are:

Shaker: Because what’s a party with zero shaking!
Jigger: Even though we prefer to ignore numbers when talking about tipples, this will really help get the proportions and taste of your cocktails just right.
Muddler: We love what herbs and fruits can do to a drink and the best way to extract those oils and flavours is a sturdy muddler.
(We’re assuming you already have a corkscrew and ice bucket – don’t let us down!)

When you’re ready to take things one notch higher, invest in a citrus peeler and juicer, a bar spoon, and pour spouts. After this step, you’ll have access to the direct line to our HQ. We’ll be expecting invites!

 

THE SPIRIT OF THE BAR

Stocking up the bar can be a long and complicated process if you’re trying to please EVERYONE. Remember, it’s your bar so first bring in the liquors you enjoy. And because we don’t want you to sit at home alone and drink, let’s bring in some more booze for your friends. Whiskey, rum, gin and vodka should cover all bases. A small but solid collection of wines and beers are always good to have when entertaining or after a long day at work. Our suggestions: Try the Chandon Rose, a beautiful subtle wine with hints of soft peach (how can our tipples be left behind the universal rose gold rage?), it’ll bring you compliments without burning a hole in your pocket! Walk away from the once-delish Kingfisher Ultra and stock up a mix of Bira 91 + good ol’ Corona + Hoegaarden beers in your mini fridge.

For the more daring ones, tequila or absinthe is also a great choice. A coffee or fruit liqueur can take your dinner party from zero to hero in one sip. Stocking-up on a few of each, spirits, liqueurs and aperitifs, will have you ready for a mixology session at all times. Bourbon whiskey, vermouth, and bitters are your friends if you wish to up your game.

Want another level up? Instead of serving all your inventions in the same glassware, get glasses which are suited for different drinks. There’s no bigger buzzkill than sipping on a stiff martini in a tumbler meant for a mean Old Fashioned.

Don’t forget to have lots of napkins handy, stirrers and toothpicks (put ‘em olives to good use!). And when you have your alcohol collection on point, add a few essentials, like cocktail onions and olives, tabasco sauce, salt & pepper, citrus garnishes and sugar to the stock. Don’t hesitate to experiment and add more as you ace those bartending moves!

 

THE OOMPH FACTOR 

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Even when you’re at stage 1 of stocking your bar, there are various concoctions that you can create if you have the right assistance. No, we don’t mean for you to borrow (we mean, kidnap) a bartender from PCO but to go shopping for mixers and garnishes. Even just lime cordial and soda can go a long way, but don’t stop there! Tonic water, ginger ale, mint, various juices, bitters are other easy-to-get, high-value products to add to your bar. For example, a simple twist like Jameson and Ginger Ale has be doing the rounds and gets a great response.

Whether sipping by ourselves on a quiet evening, or throwing THE buzzfest of the year, we’ve all (not so) secretly wished for background music in our lives. Time to make that a reality! Have playlists ready for all kinds of tipple moods, and you’ll earn major brownie points not just from your future self, but your co-tipplers too.

And if you truly want to up the ante, few drinking games up your sleeve will help you arrive on the home bartending scene like none other!

THE HOW-TOs

No one expects you to pull a rabbit out of the hat but it’s good to have some cocktail recipes up your sleeve. “Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer” is a good guide of beer-based cocktails. “Tequila Mockingbird” is a must have for literary enthusiasts. For a more in depth look into the world of mixology pick up “Liquid Intelligence: The Art & Science of the Perfect Cocktail”.

Alternatively, you can just keep these DSSC formulas handy:

Simply muddle 4-5 basil leave and with about a spoon of brown sugar. Mix that with 60 ml Hendrick’s Gin and 30 ml lime juice. Top it up with some soda. Sip away to glory!

Bacardi Rum works well with fruity flavours. Stir 60 ml rum with 30 ml each of orange juice, pineapple juice and mango pulp. Fill up the glass with ice and pour this beautiful concoction in and enjoy your evening!

Share our love for the Old Fashioned by putting a teaspoon of sugar in the glass, top it off with 2-3 drops of bitters and water, each. Add whiskey and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Drop in some ice cubes and stir again to chill. Bask in the glory of mastering this classic!

Make a fun mix with one or two shots of bourbon and peach iced tea as per choice. Finish it off with a lime wedge and thank us later for this cocktail quick-fix!

Pack a punch with 25ml each of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and 50ml of lime juice. Put some ice in the glass, pour in the ingredients and top it off with coke as per liking. Have this when your brain says ‘cocktails’ but your heart says ‘shots’!