Home Bartending 101: Make Better Drinks at Home

There are two types of people in the world––The Entertainer and The Solitary. The Entertainer loves to invite people over to her place and party the night away with great music and, of course, an unlimited supply of booze. The Solitary, on the other hand, likes nothing more than a quiet and relaxing time at home after a gruelling day at work. He sits in front of the TV, a can of beer in hand, contemplating whether or not to cook dinner or order in. But no matter how different these personalities are, it’s always a good idea for them to stock up on some home bar essentials. Because, really, what’s life without your own mini bar? A very dull one, that is.

So, whether you’re an extrovert who thrives on boisterous gatherings with friends or an introvert who loves curling up at home with a book on one hand and a glass of wine on the other, being your own bartender is always fun and more convenient too! No more trips to the bar if you’re craving for a fancy cocktail. With the right mixology essentials at your disposal, you can easily create one yourself and we will even help you how to do it.

Tools and Equipment for Home Bartending

Having your own mini bar and creating gorgeous drinks right in the comfort of your own home is not as daunting and expensive as you may think. The first step is to simply get your tools right. A few blog posts ago, we’ve discussed about essential tools you need to create the perfect home bar. It’s best to be familiar with these tools to make sure you get to buy only the basics that you need to get started on your home bar project.

Let us give you a rundown of these must-have tools and equipment.

  •         Bartending Kit

We get it that looking for bar tools can be quite overwhelming. There are just so many mixing instruments out there, it can be hard to tell which ones you really needed. That is why we’re going to share with you a little secret: you can choose to stock up on as many tools as you want. But the only ones that would really come in handy, especially if you’re a home bar newbie, are just these four things: shaker, muddler, jigger, and blender.

You can get all four of these tools in a single bartending kit which often carries all these tools plus a mixing spoon. Just make sure that the kit you purchase is rust-proof and dishwasher safe so Check out our own range of professionally-crafted bartending kits to get you started on your home bar project.

  •         Glassware

What’s a great tasting cocktail if it doesn’t look like it? Now that you are thinking about setting up your home bar, it helps to know that part of being a great bartender is knowing which glassware goes with specific drinks. That’s because the right glassware doesn’t only add to a drink’s appeal but it also affects its taste and temperature as well.

So, the next time you start to wonder why martinis are usually served in coupe glasses or scotch on lowball ones, there is a simple explanation for this as well. To find out what this is, read about it, here.

So, what kind of glassware do you really need? For starters, get yourself only some good quality glasses for classic drinks. Essentials include couple glassware for martinis; lowball glasses for drinks such as scotch, bourbon, or other beverages on the rocks. For wine, invest in both glassware for red and white varieties. We also recommend that you get a champagne flute for special occasions such as weddings or graduations. Lastly, do not forget your mugs and pints for serving beer; and a pure copper mug for great-tasting Moscow mules.

Go to this blog for more information on must-have glassware for your home bar.   

  •         Home Brewery Appliance

Speaking of beer, say hello to the future of home brewing with PicoBrew, a range of hassle-free, high quality brewing equipment that’s perfect for your home. You can choose from an extensive array of professional brewing machines that will fit your home bar needs. With its automated and precise brewing capabilities, this device is one thing your future home bar should never be without. Check out their awesome range of professional craft brewing appliances, here.

  •         Storage

Finally, with all these nifty gadgets to choose from you’re probably wondering how you’ll be able to organize and store all of them. When looking for storage equipment, consider the size of the room. A smaller space means you may have to compromise on space but not on functionality.  Consider getting a cocktail cabinet that you can put up against the wall. They can still hold a bit of glassware and alcohol without putting up too much space.

Want a classic and elegant storage for your wine collection? Check out this foldable bamboo countertop rack that’s a perfect mini cellar for your small home bars. Display and organize up to six bottles of wine with its convenient as well as sturdy flat surface design.

Do you need to store spirits in a cool place as well? Read this article to find out whether or not you need to use a fridge to store your wine collection.

Types of Alcohol You Need at Home

Aaaahh yes, alcohol, the stuff home bar dreams are made of. What can be more exciting than stocking up on all those glorious and colourful bottles of spirits? The problem is, there are just so many that it can be difficult to choose which ones you really need to have a steady supply on. Don’t worry though, because we will help you decide which spirits are essential for that home bar of yours.

  •         Gin

Gin is many a cocktail’s main ingredient. You will find that a lot of classic cocktails such as martini, Negroni and the citrus-flavored Tom Collins have gin on them. As a neutral spirit, gin is so versatile that it instantly adds a wonderful flavor and aroma to most cocktails. It is made from juniper berries and a variety of natural botanical flavors that goes well with your favorite drinks.  More popular types of gin include London Dry and the Plymouth, which is the oldest commercially available gin in the world.

In fact, throughout history, gin has been known to be a favorite drink of great historical figures such as the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the literary giant Ernest Hemingway. Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay, Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, and Aviation are only some of the most famous gin brands all over the world.

It’s always a good idea to stock up on this spirit so you will always be ready for a glass of your favorite cocktail whenever you feel like it. Try this delicious and vibrant Blue Gin Sour cocktail recipe for a zesty and refreshing gin-infused drink. See also what other cocktails go well with gin, in this article.

  •         Vodka

Vodka s another versatile spirit we recommend you should always have in your home bar. Like gin, vodka mixes flawlessly into a cocktail. Its clear liquid and mild flavor and aroma is perfect for mixing liquor, such as in classic drinks like Cosmopolitans and Bloody Marys.

Vodka is either distilled from potato, wheat or sugar canes. There are many vodka brands to choose from and the ones that are very popular in the market today are Absolut, Grey Goose, and Smirnoff.

Summertime has also seen the popularity of flavoured and infused vodkas in the market with big brands such as Skyy, Absolut, and Smirnoff showcasing fruity tropical flavors on their extensive range of vodka products.

Wondering what other cocktails you can mix with vodka? Try this classic Moscow Mule recipe to instantly perk up your week or this incredibly refreshing Suddenly Summer Cocktail recipe for that stimulating vodka vibe. You may also check out this other mouth-watering cocktails you can make with vodka.

  •         Whiskey

Did you know that 8 out of the 20 best drinks in the world this year are bourbon-based cocktails? This is according to a study done by Drinks International, a top Internet news and analysis source for global drinks. So, if you’re feeling adventurous and wanted to try to create your own versions of bourbon classics such as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Mai Tai, you’d better be prepared to have premium quality whiskey with you at your mini bar. A bit of caveat though, bottles of whiskey tend to be a bit expensive especially if you are into the premium Japanese variety which can cost as much as 300 thousand dollars a bottle!

But the good news is, there are also many varieties of whiskies to choose from that will surely fit your budget. If you want your whiskey sweet, go for Canadian ryes or a Tennessee bourbon. If you prefer something smoother, then Irish whiskey is best for you. No matter where you are in the world, there is always a whiskey that’s perfect for your taste and preferences.

But is premium whiskey that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, still a possibility at this day and age? It is if you know where to look. In fact, you can score a bottle of the best whiskey in the world for under 20 dollars! In fact, this whiskey is not only budget-friendly it has won awards from consumer groups as well. Read our blog to find out where you can get this awesome deal.

Still confused as to how to best enjoy your whiskey? Click here to find more about this world-famous drink and how you should drink it.

  •         Tequila

There is a reason why a popular cocktail concoction is called a Tequila sunrise. Tequila represents happy days, a drink that’s perfect for chillin’ and basking in the sunshine. Summertime, of course, conjures up warm memories of the beach, sand, and a refreshing glass of margarita, another famous tequila-infused drink.

With a bottle of tequila, you can always experience a Cinco de Mayo celebration right in your very own home whenever you feel like it. Take home some of the most famous tequila brands in the world, such as Patron, Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, and Espolon.

Although Margarita is the most popularly known tequila-infused cocktail, you can also create other cocktail recipes like a Paloma with its delicious pairing of lime juice and grapefruit. Try the this recipe, here or enjoy these other great-tasting margarita recipes you can make at home as well.

Fancy another agave-based spirit? Try a mezcal instead of tequila on your cocktails for a smokier, richer flavor.    

  •         Rum

Rum is another spirit that gives off a sexy, summertime vibe. All the more reason why you should have it on your list as a home bar essential. Like vodka, tequila, whiskey, and gin, rum is also a versatile drink that brings life to classic cocktail drinks.

One of the best-selling coconut-flavored rums in the world is Malibu. Their wide array of Caribbean rum products range from fruity summer favorites such as Mango, Pineapple, and Tropical Banana to the original coconut flavor.  Check out Malibu’s enticing flavors with our previous blog post.

With rum, you can recreate classic favorites such as a Daiquiri, Mojito, and Piña Colada. There are three types of rum: white, dark, and spiced. Try to grab a bottle of other world-famous brands such as Bacardi, Captain Morgan, or Kahlua and try for yourself which ones you like best.

  •         Beer

Last but not the least, a well-stocked bar is incomplete without beer on it. Whether in a can or bottle, beer should always be a bar staple. If you are into simple, refreshing drinks without the fuss but with a lot of buzz, then you’ve got to love that hoppy feeling that only an ice-cold beer can give.

Knowing which beer types to look out for can help you organize your alcohol collection. We are taking the liberty to show you which ones they are so you can choose which ones you like best.

However, not everyone we know is a fan of beer. Some people find it to be bitter for their taste. According to experts, there is a simple explanation for this. However, we still find it unusual that some people just don’t like the taste of beer as it is considered to be one of the most famous drinks in the world. In fact, just recently, Dunkin Donuts, an international chain of donut shops, came up with a non-alcoholic coffee-flavored beer that’s guaranteed to jump start your day. Apparently, beer can also be combined with wine as this unique drink proves.

Still can’t get enough of beer? How about ginger ales? Do you know of the difference between the two? Surely, it confuses you too. Read to find out more about this interesting topic, here.

Starting Your Own Home Bar Rules

Finally, you now have your spanking bar accessories and equipment with you, carefully organized and stocked in your shiny new mini bar. The wines and spirits are prominently displayed and even your countertop is gleaming with endless nights of drinking possibilities with friends or by your lonesome, whatever mood you are in.

But a wonderful undertaking such as this requires some pretty basic home bar rules that you should live by to make the best out of your home bar experience. Here are some basic rules we’ve created for you. Don’t be afraid to add some more as you get more and more familiar with your mini bar and its contents.

  •         Home Bar Rule #1 - Choose your alcohol wisely.

As with most things, your final decision ultimately reflects your own desires. The same goes with choosing which alcohol to stock up on in your home bar. Sure, this can be a bit tricky as the list of must-haves is practically endless.

There is always the chance that a friend or two might come over, so you would need to be prepared for whatever drinks they request for. While this may be ideal, know that your little piece of heaven (i.e. your mini bar) also has its limitations (see also rule number 2). You can only have so much supplies in your collection. A little bit of what you enjoy most which is actually the point of having your own home bar. Sure, your mini bar may come in handy for entertaining guests but at the end of the day, it is yours and what is yours should contain only things that you would enjoy the most.

  •         Home Bar Rule #2 - Know your limitations

Perhaps to reiterate the first rule of thumb to having your own mini bar, know when enough is enough when it comes to buying stuff for your home bar, whether it be tools, equipment, or spirits. The key is knowing that you cannot buy everything. There is a reason why it’s called a home bar. One cannot be expected to have everything in such a small space. For a real fancy drinking experience, you can always head to the nearest pub or local bar where the real deal is.

Look at your home bar as an opportunity to make your friends happy with your graciousness. Impressing them with your fancy mixology gadgets, while it may look cool, should only be secondary.

Home Bar Rule #3 – Clean as you go

This rule may be plain and simple but it can also be one of the most difficult things to do. While creating your own home bar is a great accomplishment, some people usually think that the responsibility stops there. The hardest part of owning a home bar? Cleaning up. After all the guests have left and you’re home alone to pick up the mess, you will know that not all is fun and games when it comes to maintaining your mini bar. There will be mixing tools and glassware to clean up, countertops to wipe, and the entire place to tidy up.

Maintaining the cleanliness of your home bar is a tough job. But who would want an area where molds grow and bugs thrive. Remember that you spent a lot of money buying that beautiful bartending set to just let it gather dust in your cocktail cabinet. Besides, these gadgets that we spent so much money on and our collection of spirits deserve all the care they can get. After all, people use them and we wouldn’t want our guests including ourselves to die of poisoning because of dirty glassware and expired cocktail ingredients. Which brings us to the question, how long should your spirits stay holed up in there without drying out or simply losing its flavor?

The answer depends on what is written on the packaging itself. Know when your perishables are due to expire, whether they are garnishes or bottles of bitters. This will save you from a lot of embarrassment in the future.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. I hope we’ve covered the basics of having your own bar at home. From picking the right mixing tools and equipment, knowing which drinks or spirits you should be carrying in your nifty little drinking corner, as well as rules you should put to heart as a first-time home bar owner.

In time, you will realize that the amount of time you put on planning, developing, and creating the home bar of your dreams is all worth it.

So, what are you waiting for? Invite your friends over for a party or enjoy the drinks all by yourself, it doesn’t matter. Whatever category of personality you fall on, the outgoing Entertainer or the introverted Solitary, creating your own home bar is a truly worthwhile experience. And preparing your favorite cocktails from scratch, right in your very own mini bar is a skill that is always something to be proud of.  


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