Putting together a few ingredients and making a famous or novelty cocktail at home is increasingly something we enjoy. And while a bar stocked like a London cocktail bar isn’t totally necessary for successful cocktail making, there are some essential items that will make the job easier and better. So here, based on top tips from www.liquor.com are ten essentials for a home bar.
Unless you have an amazing memory or only plan to make one or two drinks, then a good cocktail book is an essential element before you think about anything else. There are loads of recipes on the internet though this might mean printing them or trying to balance an iPad or smartphone while making the drinks – not an ideal proposition. A good cocktail book lets you mark your places and if it gets a little damp, it dries out.
The jigger (a term I hadn’t heard before to be honest!) is a simple measuring tool and come in different sizes. These are two in one jobs with a one/two ounce size along with a half-ounce/three quarter ounce size being the most popular. I must admit I’ve always just used one of those little Pyrex measures as it has ounces, millilitres and a few other measurements on it so no matter what the recipe uses, you are ready for it.
Ice cube trays
Most cocktails use ice in one form or another so it is important to have a ready supply in the freezer for a cocktail evening. Different size ice cubes can be handy for the different size drinks and glasses too.
If you are a fan of mojitos or other cocktails that add a bit of crushed fruit or herbs then the best way to get the oils from them without making too much of a mess is a muddler. Citrus peel and herbs should be muddled gently while mint leaves and fruit can be given a bit more forcefulness.
Alongside the muddler, the other fruit preparation essential is a juicer. There are plenty of variations but the theme is the same – an easy way to squeeze the juice from a piece of fruit while leaving the fleshy part of the fruit behind. Put the cut side of the fruit to the holes of the juicer for the best result.
There’s the shaken then there’s the stirred and for the latter, a long bar spoon is needed. Sometimes those ingredients want to be gently persuaded together rather than banged and bashed but for long glasses, a tea spoon won’t do the job – besides it just doesn’t look the part!
There’s no real substitute for a shaker when it comes to combining ingredients perfectly plus there’s the style factor – can’t pretend to be Tom Cruise without one!
This one may be more style than function but are inexpensive to buy and make pouring out of bottles a lot easier. Less chance of those catastrophic moments when the alcohol misses the glass!
Garnishes like lemon and lime may seem like a style elements but do actually add to the final flavour of the drink and so if it recommends in your cocktail book that you use them, then go with it. Buy the right ingredients from the shop or even prepare your own for some of them to finish the drink perfectly.
So you have all your essentials, picked your recipes from your cocktail book and prepared your ice and garnishes – what’s left to add? Alcohol of course!! It is possible to set up a nice range of cocktails on a budget because there are plenty that use the same few ingredients with different mixers and garnishes. So start with your favourite base spirit, say whiskey or vodka, and see how many different drinks you can make with it. Before long, your alcohol cupboard will resemble a brightly coloured, interesting smelling drinks shop but in moderation, it’s all great fun.