The quick n' dirty home bar starter guide
We'll admit it: a not-so-secret part of us has always wanted to pull off a Mad Men moment and wow visiting friends by whipping up a round of casual martinis from a well-outfitted (and impossibly stylish) at-home bar cart. But the art of the at-home drink is intimidating. Where do we start? What are the essentials? What kind of investment are we looking at and what if we've never mixed a drink in our lives? We decided that we needed some expert advice on the subject so we got in touch with Elliott Clark, aka @apartment_bartender, whose blog and Instagram feed made us want to get in touch with our inner mixologists.
Below, you'll find Elliott's top tips for stocking and starting your very own home bar. Follow his advice and you'll be stirring, shaking and straining like a pro in no time!
5 tips for the perfect home bar from the Instagram king of at-home boozing
1. Be better than vodka soda. Spend $200 and build a decent home bar. Two hundred dollars is a perfect start up investment. This will allow you to get set up with the tools of the trade, as well as a good set of spirits and liqueurs needed to mix up some creative and classic cocktails.
2. Learn the basics of cocktail technique and cocktail classics Once you make the start-up investment into your home bar, the fun really starts. Take some time to learn the difference between a shaken and stirred cocktail. Once you catch on, get experimenting with the cocktail classics.
3. Keep it fresh Gone are the days of using canned juice and cheap sour mix. Use fresh squeezed juice in your cocktails if you’re at all interested in having the best homemade drink you'll ever taste.
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment It’s OK to channel your inner Bill Nye the Science guy and experiment with your home bar. Don’t be afraid to research different recipes, or just mix things together to see how it turns out (it might taste bad, but it won’t explode... I promise).
5. Be prepared to be the life of the party Being regarded as the "slinger of booze" amongst your peers is a great power, and with great power comes great responsibility, right? You will carry the burden of guiding your significant other, friends and family to the experience of good drinking. You'qull also be the life of the party, which is a fun spot to be in. Your job is to embrace and enjoy it!
When stocking the bar with spirits, and liqueurs don’t worry about breaking the bank. Bottles ranging from $15-$25 work perfectly when mixing. Here are some recommendations when starting out:
Recommended Spirits Bourbon whiskey Rye whiskey Gin Tequila Light rum Vodka Orange bitters Angostura bitters
Recommended Liqueurs Aperol Campari Elderflower Liqueur Cointreau (orange liqueur) Dry Vermouth Sweet Vermouth
Tools Mixing glass for stirred cocktails Bar spoon Cocktail shaker Jigger (for measuring) Hawthorne strainer Fine mesh strainer Muddler
Elliott Clark is the founder and Chief Home Bartending Officer of Apartment Bartender. A lifestyle and cocktail blog focused on creative drink recipes, home bartending how to’s and other random shenanigans.
Photography by: Justin Sisson