Invest in basic equipment, stock up on essential liquors, and you can have a spread that will impress amateurs—and even make professionals nod in quiet approval.
Setting up a trendy home bar does not have to be expensive or tedious. Almost every grown-up has some sort of bar area in their home, whether it’s a small corner stocked with your favourite tipple or an entire cabinet stocked with the finest liquor, but lest we forget the all-important bar accessories!
The Drinks Trolley or Drinks Tray
There’s no denying that bar trolleys are one of the hottest furnishings around. If you have the space for it, bar carts make a great dedicated area for mixing a drink, and they’re welcoming enough that guests feel comfortable to mix their own drinks.
If space and budget constraints prevent you from investing in a trolley, a drinks tray is a good compromise. Transform any console table, sideboard, or credenza into a bar by simply topping it with a good-looking tray. Be mindful of differing heights and colours when arranging your tray and don’t make it too cluttered.
The Cocktail Shaker
Invest in this essential bar accessory to mix up all kinds of cocktails. The best cocktail shakers are made with a quality stainless steel which will not alter the taste of the drink being made. It is a very useful tool and can be used with rum, brandy, vodka, bourbon or gin.
The Bar Spoon
If you are taking this gin bar thing seriously, then this is a must. It is a long coil spoon – usually stainless steel. Inspired by the traditional Japanese design, bar spoons have smooth coil for comfortable stirring. The decorative trident top can also be used for spearing garnishes.
The Jigger or Tot Measure
Get a Japanese-style jigger in stainless steel with a 25ml and 50ml measure for precise measurements.
This handy tool is for when you need to get the essence of the chosen garnish to mix with your drink. Usually wooden or plastic, a muddler allows you to put the garnish in the glass and gently crush it to release the oils before adding the ice, spirit and mixer.
This is usually connected to your cocktail shaker but in cases where mixing is being done in the glass, it is useful to have a separate strainer in your home gin bar to strain out any unwanted bits and get a clear, pleasing liquid in the glass.
For everyday use in your home bar, you only need 6 or 8 of each of these 3 basic glass types: a short glass, a tall glass and a stemmed glass. Cocktail glassware has become so sophisticated these days and you can never include all the glasses available. However for basic cocktail making, we suggest 4 copia glasses, 4 brandy glasses and 4 cocktail glasses.
Read The Gin Glass Guide
An Ice Machine or Ice Bucket
Ice is one of the most important ingredients. An ice machine is a decadent pleasure, otherwise, go for a stainless steel ice bucket. Get a handy stainless steel ice scoop to transport ice into a glass.
Ice in different shapes is also a wonderful way to serve different cocktails. One of the hottest ice shapes at the moment is one single round ice ball. You can achieve this at home by getting a silicone ice ball tray.
The Corkscrew and Bottle opener
An imperative in any home bar. Get something with character!
The Spirit Pourer
This handy little device ensures even pouring with less chance of wasting that precious liquor.
You really can’t go wrong with local Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic, Barker & Quinn Indian or Light at Heart Tonic and a few soda waters for those who are not partial to tonic water. There are an abundance of heavily flavoured tonic waters on the market at the moment. I suggest those for substandard gins but usually if you are buying good gins, you will want to stick to Indian tonic.
Garnish Bowls or Boards
Garnish options are very important for your gin bar. Your home bar requires 6 little manikins which can be filled with garnish options depending on what you have in the garden, fridge and fruit bowl.
Lastly, keep a bar towel handy and place a small trash can close by.
To make fantastic, creative cocktails, there’s no need to stock your bar with 12 brands of expensive different spirits and a rainbow’s worth of brightly coloured liqueurs. A half dozen base spirits and a few mixers will not only allow you to turn out a surprising number of cocktail classics but also give you enough to come up with some cool cocktails of your own. Gin is obviously a given in your home gin bar!
There you have it: A trendy gin bar in your home! Now you have no excuse not to sharpen your mixology skills. A set-up like this is sure to impress. What are you waiting for?!