Your home bar setup needs, at bare minimum, the essential equipment and accessories to provide gentlemanly service to anyone close or fortunate enough to score an invitation to drink with you.
Creating a warm and welcoming bar at home isn’t as easy as stocking up on a few bottles of various spirits. To enjoy an evening sipping cocktails and trying new bourbons in 2020 has meant more do-it-yourself mixology and settling into our own home bars than in years past.
While quarantines and social distancing may have tempered our excitement for a night on the town, the situation has enlightened our perspective and renewed enthusiasm for our own space.
There are a number of essential equipment items for the gentleman’s home bar. Here are the top picks from the staff at 1792 Style, an online magazine for those with discerning taste, produced by 1792 Bourbon.
Essential Glassware for the Home Bar
A classy home bar is incomplete without appropriate glassware for the various types of cocktails one’s guests may request. You need more than an assortment of beer steins, wine and shot glasses.
Cocktails normally come in one of five basic types of drink accessory: Glencairn, Highball, Old Fashioned, Coupe and Martini.
The rocks glass, or Old Fashioned, is perfect for… you guessed it, Old Fashioneds. Also Negronis, Boulevardiers… anything you can normally serve on the rocks, including a stiff pour of bourbon or scotch. This is the set I have.
This Glencairn Glass is for sipping whiskey neat or with a single cube to unlock the flavor. Old Fashioned glasses serve to bring the various aromas and garnishes to the nose while imbibing.
Highball glasses offer a taller container for simple mixtures of “whiskey and …” The Coupe is the showman of the set, offering an elegant stage for premium concoctions.
To truly make your bourbon servings complete, add a set of mule mugs and julep tins and your drinks will always have the right delivery route.
Ice Buckets and Batch Bottles
Even if your home bar is replete with refrigeration or even an ice maker, a silver ice bucket adds a touch of hospitality and style to entertaining any house guests.
Not only is the ice available for those who wish to simply refresh their slow-sipping beverage, but it can be used in any self-serve setup to free you up to mingle.
While we’re on the topic, batch bottles make it far easier to free your time to entertain. Pre-mix two or three cocktails so you spend more time engaging your guests and less time working behind the bar.
Multiple Cocktail Shakers
Another time-saving trick is to stock up on shakers.
Having three or four handy allows you to mix different types of spirits and flavors in repetition without having to thoroughly wash between cocktails.
A quick rinse is typically enough so long as the same ingredients are being used.
But having more than one means you can turn to a clean container for the next mix rather than washing after each one.
The house pour at a restaurant could be any number of bourbons or whiskeys. But your house pour can be something refined and elegant. As such, you should present your go-to bourbon in a container to match.
One option is to go with a simple, yet beautiful, glass decanter set like the one you see here. A monogrammed crystal decanter can take it to the next level, subtly announcing this bourbon may be your everyday pour, but there’s nothing common about it.
Matching Bar Tool Set for Display
Nothing says you are more serious about your home bar setup than an elegant and matching bar tool set proudly on display.
It’s one thing to have a drawer with strainers, tongs and corkscrews. Your game is instantly elevated when you have one of all you’ll need for any cocktail at arm’s length.
Your kit needs a double-sided jigger with both one and one-half ounce pours, a muddler for mojitos, and mixing spoons at least tall enough for your shaker.
You’ll also need a Hawthorne strainer — the ones with the circular spring on the bottom. That rolls inside the rim of the glass to better seal and prevent ice from squeaking through should your grip not be ideal.
Ice tongs, corkscrews and perhaps even a few eye droppers round out the set. Eye droppers are used for either plain or mineral water by bourbon aficionados to unlock the freshness of a spirit’s flavor before tasting.
Don’t Forget the Linens
A good host not only provides sturdy cocktail napkins or coasters for each drink, but also uses matching hand towels—cotton, for absorbency—to highlight the presentation.
If you will be mixing continually or behind the bar much of the evening, a matching apron is a nice touch.
Preparation Makes the Home Bar Effortless!
A gentleman’s home bar should be prepared for the maximum size of regular gathering he might host. Having these home bar essentials covers most of the bases.
And setting up your home bar with these items delivers the added value of a premium home experience whether you are entertaining friends after dinner or simply pouring a bourbon for a little evening enjoyment alone.
Editor’s note: Thanks to our friends at 1792 Style for partnering with us on this article! 1792 Style is the online magazine companion to 1792 Bourbon. It publishes articles for the man with discerning tastes several times per week. Elevate your style, fashion, home décor, accessories and, of course, taste in bourbon at style.1792bourbon.com.