A bar is an exciting way to entertain friends and family while keeping your liquor and barware organized. It lets you have a drink or two at home much more cheaply than if you went out for one. However, putting together an at-home bar might take some work to assemble. To save you time and keep you organized, here are seven tips on how to assemble your first at-home bar.
Figure out how much space you have
Do you have enough space for a console table that you can fashion as a bar? Is your home not big enough to fit more than a bar cart? Before you get to work putting together the parts of your first at-home bar, you’ll need to firmly decide which avenue you’ll take. If you’re truly limited on space, you can consider reserving kitchen counter space for a couple of wine bottles, buying an at-home beer tap, stocking up on ice trays, and installing beer, wine, and cocktail glass storage above your sink. If you’re short on space, a bar cart is an excellent, low-profile way to store glasses, mixers, and liquor all in one place.
Stock your bitters
Once you’ve chosen where your bar materials will live, it’s time to stock it. Before stepping out to the liquor store, though, think about all the other items that bring your drinks from blah to wow! Start with bitters, the flavoring used in many classic cocktails. Bitters are often infused with spices, herbs, and roots, so they’re perfect for use in mixed drinks. Without bitters on hand, you and your visitors might find that your bar’s drink-making options are somewhat limited, and no good bar is complete without the ability to make almost any cocktail imaginable.
Stock your spirits
Bitters are all but pointless without spirits! Keep some combination of gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, and rum on hand so your guests can make mixed drinks ranging from Long Island iced teas to daiquiris. Decide which spirits you’ll stock based on both your budget and which spirits are your favorites — if vodka grosses you out, don’t buy top-shelf. Whiskey snob? Pick up something high-end (and be sure to store it properly!)
Stock your beers and wines
Stocking one bottle of red wine and another of white wine is a simple way to keep the essentials on hand at all times. Keeping a six pack or two of craft beers in your fridge should also add to the experience. An at-home beer tap can also provide an unusual way to spruce up your home bar.
BONUS: Get fancy with a decanter. These gorgeous glass bottles transform any bottle of wine into something special!
Stock your mixers
Keep lemons, limes, a small cutting board and tiny knife easily accessible from your bar. Having sugar and salt on hand will also help for mixing, as will juices and sodas. Once you open your juices and sodas, move them to the fridge (you can also pop them in the fridge before opening if you’re more of a cold mixed drinks person). Make sure your ice trays are always full or keep a bag of ice in your freezer.
Buy drinking glasses
You can usually buy beer, wine, and cocktail glasses in boxes that contain several of one type of glass. Pick glasses that best reflect the types of cocktails you plan to make. Martini man? Get a few martini glasses. Scotch aficionado? Select a snifter or two. Choose a number of glasses that meet your budget and your guest expectations to complete your at-home bar.
Invite friends over!
No at-home bar installation is complete without inviting friends over to enjoy it! Choose a weekend night to spend at home with drinks and friends instead of heading to the local bar or club. You’ll realize right away how much value your bar has brought to your home.
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