Los Angeles Times
CHEERS! CREATE A HOME BAR
If entertaining family and friends in your home is important, serving celebratory drinks is a nice touch. But if you’re more accustomed to buying six packs than spirits, you may be wondering what you should get for a home bar.
Since building a collection of liquors can be pricey – take your time. Guests won’t expect you to match the offerings of a full bar; most people will gladly drink whatever you’re serving. So, start accumulating bottles one at a time, and think about where you’ll put them – in a cabinet, cart or even on a table. Check out these tips on the essentials of an at-home bar:
Basic spirits: To lay a foundation, you’ll want your first purchases to cover all the spirits categories: whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, and rum. Eventually, add brandy, sweet and dry vermouth, and several liqueurs.
With this, you’ll be able to make most drinks, from a martini to a margarita. (Be sure to buy what you need to make your own favorite cocktails.)
Budget: Buy the best quality spirits you can afford. That doesn’t mean they have to be the most expensive. Quality is what counts. And remember you can always upgrade later if your budget gets bigger.
Mixers: Cocktails need a mixer or two, so be sure to have the basic ones on hand. If you have club soda, tonic water, and ginger beer you can make a mojito (rum and club soda), gin and tonic, or dark and stormy (rum and ginger beer). Other mixers are fruit-based: orange juice, which pairs with champagne or sparkling wine for mimosas, and cranberry juice to make Cape Cods, (mixed with vodka).
Garnish: To add fresh flavor to citrusbased drinks, grab lemons, limes and oranges. They’re integral to classic libations like Cosmopolitans (made with lime juice) and Lemon Drops (lemon juice).
Tools: As a bar newbie, all you need for now is a corkscrew and bottle opener. To prevent over- and underpouring, have a jigger at the ready to measure spirits you’ll pour into a glass. You can also find affordable cocktail shakers online and in many department and home stores.
Glassware: Rather than get a dozen different types of glasses, stick with these three for all your glassware needs: a curvy coupe (for daiquiris, margaritas or Manhattans), skinny highballs (gin and tonics, Tom Collins, Long Island iced teas), and short old-fashioned glasses (Negronis, white Russians).