When I first got into the home buying market I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so cool to have a bar in the house?”. Now, that is definitely easier said than done. The thought stayed with me though as I looked at tons of different houses. I had thoughts of entertaining all of my friends and standing behind the bar. Mixing up some killer drinks, popping off the tops of some great beers, and maybe even doing some cool tricks or flips behind the bar. It just sounded super cool and I wanted to make it happen.
It’s something that is both easy and hard to do at the same time. It’s really easy to put a bar in your house. It’s not easy to put a good bar in your house. I envisioned a sink, a mini fridge, and a smattering of liquors all lined up in front of some cool light up sign or mirror. The latter gets expensive and isn’t always an option, especially if the house isn’t plumbed for something like that. What you end up with if it’s not designed to have a bar is basically a cool shelf with liquor in it. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just not what most people think of when you say you have a bar at your house.
Tools for the Home Bar Novice
So I decided to go the cheaper route and just go with a built in bar. No sink or mini fridge but a counter, some chairs, and a T.V. so we could watch the game. What I learned is that you can make it work if you want to make it work. I also learned about some invaluable tools that every home bar, newbie level or professional, should have. So let’s go through some of the obvious, and maybe not so obvious tools of the trade.
- A Jigger or Measuring Cup – It’s super easy to use a shot glass and call it good. It’s not always that accurate though. Not all shot glasses are created equal and that shot glass you got in Florida on Spring Break back in the day probably isn’t very exact. It may not be as cool but a jigger or measuring cup will have markings on it so you know exactly how much alcohol you are adding into your drink.
- A Citrus Juicer – There are a lot of drink recipes out there and I mean a LOT! Some of the best drink call for a squirt of lemon, or lime juice. You can even do fresh squeezed orange juice for those Mimosas you love so much. Regardless, its super easy to use a juicer instead of doing it by hand. It’s not that expensive either.
- Shakers – You know what these are, even if it doesn’t sound familiar. You put the ingredient in, you put the smaller cup into the larger cup and then you shake it up. Anyone who has ever seen the movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise knows what this is. It’s a must-have for martinis, shots, and most mixed drinks.
- Classic Glasses – You definitely want to have the authentic look and feel of a typical bar. Serving Whiskey in a solo cup just doesn’t have the same appeal. Drink a beer out of a mason jar may be trendy, but it doesn’t really look that cool. Going with the classics like a pint glass, A champagne flute, or a tumbler is just the way to do it.
- A Corkscrew – This may seem like a no brainer but get caught without one and you’ll never live it down. You can go with a classic style or you can get a little swanky and pop for one of those electric style openers. Either way, you need this tool. I would go as far as to say you need this even if you don’t have a bar at home.
Intermediate Home Bar Essential At Home
This part goes out to all the home bar owners that are above the “rookie” level. You may have more equipment like a mini-fridge or a full fledged wet-bar with a sink, but the bottom line is; you know what you are doing. So here are some of the essentials that you’ll need to have at your bar to pull off the next level.
- A Big Ice Cube Tray – It doesn’t make your drink any colder and it doesn’t make it taste any better. It just makes it look cooler. If you want a whiskey on the rocks then by golly, make it the biggest rock you can find. You can even get cool shaped ice trays. Did you know you can put the Death Star or an ice baseball in your drinks? Yep. You need’em.
- Pouring Spouts – If you use your bar on a regular basis then it’s so easy to just flip and pour by adding a spout to your liquor bottles. It not only helps regulate the liquid so you don’t pour too quickly, but it looks pro level bartender.
- Stainless Steel Bar Strainer – These strainers work with the shakers so you’ll want to make sure you have them. These strainers hold back the ice, seeds and pulp so you get a smooth drink with just the flavors you were looking for and none of the other stuff.
- Muddler – First of all, this thing looks like a tiny baseball bat. That in and of itself makes it awesome. Secondly, if you want to make delicious Mojitos, you’re going to need to smash that mint up with something better than a spoon.
- A Bar Spoon – It’s pretty simple actually. It’s long so you can mix a drink in almost any style of glass. It’s also twisty so it won’t slip out of your hands. It doesn’t always have to be fancy to be effective.
Next Level Items for the Professional Home Bar
Alright ballers, this one is for you. If you want to talk the talk, then walk the walk and show us what you got. These are next level bar items that are going to make your home bar feel like the city’s best kept secret, even though it’s in your basement. Anyways, here are some things to really make sure you’re the most popular guy in your party circle.
- Keggerator – If you serve up beers like it’s going out of style then why not just save some time and money over the long haul and invest in a kegerator. You be able to pour cold brews like a pro and keep’em coming. Just make sure no one is driving if you have one of these bad boys at your place. You can run through those pints like a marathon runner.
- A Crystal Whiskey Decanter – Every bad guy in the history of film always hatches a devious plan while pouring a drink from their crystal whiskey decanter. You want that level of cool, without all the crime of course.
- A Smoke Gun – Adding smoke to a drink makes it look super awesome. It looks and feels like something out of a science fiction movie. On top of that, you can use different methods for adding smoke, which adds a different flavor element to your drink.
- A Cutting Board and Bar Knife – I know this feels out of place but bare with me. You have a kegerator filled with Bell’s Blue Moon. If you know anything about this beer then you know it just doesn’t taste the same without an orange slice, either garnished or dipped in it. How many people do you know that would want a corona without a lime slice to shove in the bottle? It may seem like a tiny detail but that is exactly what professionals pay attention to; the details.
- High Quality Sour Mixes – Whiskey Sours, Amaretto Sours, and Midori sours are all popular drinks. No sour mix, no drink. You can even buy fancy bottles to keep them in so it looks cooler when pouring them. Want to go the extra mile? Make your own homemade sour mix.
Having gone through all the different accessories that you can have for a home bar it’s important to note that it should be about having fun and bonding with your friends and family. Yeah, there are always those who do things just for the acclaim and that can be said of anything, but this list is about fun. It is designed to make your experience with a home bar better and more enjoyable for you and your company. If you want to get into the home bar game then check out this great starter set available at Amazon. Above all else, always drink responsibly and watch out for your friends and family. With that said, here’s a toast to you and your journey to having the ultimate home bar. Cheers!