While going out on the town is fun, sometimes you just want to unwind with a drink in your own abode. And when we say you want a drink we don’t just mean a glass of whatever-liquor-you have-leftover on the rocks. Here’s what you need to run a miniature craft cocktail empire, right in your own home.
A la Cart
Not everyone’s Don Draper, and therefore not everyone can find the perfect mid-century modern landing strip for their libations (or the space in their apartment to house it). At the very least, corral your drinking related items and display your drinking paraphernalia with pride. If you can’t accommodate a whole cart, arrange booze-related items on a tray on a bookshelf, console, or desk in the area where you’ll usually imbibe.
"When stocking your bar at home, start with the essentials,” recommends Gil Bouhana, Cocktail Creator & Brand Manager at Virgil Kane Low Country Whiskey. “A good gin, your favorite vodka, great whiskies (bourbon and scotch will do the trick), a solid tequila, and, of course, rum.” Gil recommends splurging on the good stuff, since it’ll serve you not just in mixed drinks but also when you decide to sip your liquors on the rocks. The good news – booze lasts for a long time. Opened spirits are fine for eight months, but the less liquor that’s in the bottle the worse it’ll get. Air in the bottle can speed up the expiration process, so use that as an excuse to finish things off.
Mix it Up
Once you’ve got the basic booze, fill things in with spirits you’ll use for making cocktails (Note: rum and coke is not a cocktail.) Both sweet and dry vermouth mean you can make Manhattans and martinis like a pro. Then pick your favorite beverages and stock the required ingredients list, creating a signature “house” cocktail for yourself. Bitters take your cocktails from basic to bespoke, while a stock of citrus keeps your guests feeling juiced. Keep soda and seltzer in the fridge as needed.
"Note: rum and coke is not a cocktail."
It’s tempting to stock up on a slew of supplies, but you aren’t Tom Cruise in Cocktail. You don’t need a massive mixer -- just a few basic tools that can get the work done. The real bartender’s punch list: a shaker and mixing glass, a strainer, a double-sided jigger (with one-ounce and two-ounce sides), a stirring spoon and a paring knife for citrus (though you probably have that in the kitchen).
Glass from the Past
Bacardi doesn’t really need room to breathe, so save the decanters and high-class glassware for your highest end bottles (which you should save for yourself). To serve, stock a glass for sipping straight, short glasses for lowball cocktails and tall glasses for drinks you’ll load up with ice.