Build Your Essential Home Bar Collection – Plus A Cocktail to Get you Started

Rhubarb fennel gin cocktail
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Way back when we first started exploring how to make cocktails, we essentially had an old souvenir shot glass and an old juice glass that came home with us from college years ago! While our setup worked for the simple cocktails we used to make, but as we started to explore the world of craft cocktails we realized that our home bar collection was severely lacking. Our woefully equipped home bar really let us down when we started having friends coming over wanting to try some of the cocktails that we kept posting. While the drinks tasted good, it definitely wasn’t the experience our friends were looking for when we served them a cocktail in a kiddie cup! Obviously we had to do better, so we setup to make our home bar something that we could easily entertain guests at! This post contains affiliate links for products that we think you as readers might find useful, plus it might actually let us buy some more booze to make our bar even better while allowing us to keep bringing cool content to you! For more details about our affiliates, click our Disclosure and Contacts Page.

While it is good to have lots of bottles, a really good home bar needs some attractive glassware and tools to help you take your drinks to the next level. While it used to be fine to serve drinks in plastic cups, at some point it is good to grow up and get some good looking glasses. It also is fun to be able to get some different styles that not only look cool, but serve an actual purpose! Specific types of glasses serve a different purpose, and can change the way a drink tastes or smells as you drink it. To get off to a good start, you really need three styles of glasses for your bar.

The Boulivardier - A Rye Whiskey cocktail combining Campari, sweet vermouth and Rye Whiskey

Every bar should have some good rocks glasses.These rocks glasses are what Old Fashioned cocktails are typically served in. Rocks glasses are great for drinks that are boozy (lots of whiskey based cocktails are served in these!), need ice cubes, or are “built” in the glass. Rocks glasses are typically found in a single (6-8 oz) or a double (12-14oz). Rocks glasses can also pinch hit for other styles of glasses for some cocktails like Moscow Mule Mugs should you not want to splurge on a copper mug (although really you should treat yourself to a mug! We picked some out for you in our list below!)

Rhubarb fennel gin cocktail

You also are going to want a couple of martini glasses or cocktail coupes. This is the style that is most typically associated with cocktails, mostly because of their frequent appearance in popular movies and tv shows where they want to make the character look sophisticated by drinking an appletini! In all reality, they are a great glass for drinks that are served with out ice, as the stem serves as a handle to keep the heat from your hand from warming the drink.

StPisco-4

The final glass that you will want is a highball glass. Highball glasses are perfect for drinks that have lots of ice or for sipping with a straw. They also are ideal for drinks with bubbles in them as they tend to limit the surface area, helping keep the bubbles trapped, meaning your drink stays fizzy longer!

garnetmartini-6

Now that you have your glassware sorted out, you need some good tools. A good bar spoon lets you stir your drinks up and measure smaller amounts of ingredients. A good shaker is essential as many cocktails need a good shake to properly mix and dilute. Every bar should have a sharp knife for cutting garnishes and slicing fruit. If you really want to get fancy, a good sharp channel knife lets you cut elegant looking lemon twists like the garnishes above!

You need a good muddler for mashing fruit and herbs in drinks. We have a couple of different types of muddlers, a stainless steel one and a classic wooden muddler. The stainless steel muddler has a textured end that is great for breaking down tough fruits and extracting more of the juices. We like to use the wooden muddler for drinks where we breaking down herbs like mint or fruits like berries where we don’t have to do a ton of crushing.

Rhubarb fennel gin cocktail

We also think you should get a good graduated jigger for measuring your ingredients. While that old souvenir shot glass we used to use was handy, we found it wasn’t very accurate. When you get a good jigger, it will have lots of small graduations that will let you add an accurate amount of each ingredient, which is key to making consistent cocktails!

Click on the picture below to check out some of the great products that we think would be perfect for your home bar! We use a lot of these in our house to make the drinks that we share with you! Check them out and help support us!

 

Now that we covered some of the basics, we probably should get you a cocktail to try out your new toys with! The Rhubarb Fennel Gin Cocktail was a nice summer sipper that let us use some of the great plants that were growing in our garden! This cocktail uses rhubarb and fennel simple syrups to give a tart herbaceous quality to the drink. Based on gin, this drink has a nice clean crispness that is refreshing and pleasingly complex. Dry vermouth helps balance out the sweetness of the simple syrups while also adding a nice aroma to the drink.

Build Your Essential Home Bar Collection – Plus A Cocktail to Get you Started

Build Your Essential Home Bar Collection – Plus A Cocktail to Get you Started

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker.
  2. Fill with ice.
  3. Shake and strain into a cocktail coupe or martini glass.
  4. Enjoy!
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22 thoughts on “Build Your Essential Home Bar Collection – Plus A Cocktail to Get you Started

  1. 1. Your disclosure statement is the BEST I’ve ever read! 😉
    2. This post is a must read for newly-engaged couples—it will help make gift registry requests so much easier (face it, who doesn’t need all of this stuff?)
    3. I had no idea that thing was called a muddler!

    If you can get your hands on some Re:Find cucumber vodka, do so!! http://www.refinddistillery.com I would love to see what you come up with using these spirits!

  2. Excellent bar set up recommendations! Love the breakdown of the different types of glasses needed, because I think that can get overwhelming when you’re in the store staring at a wall full of glassware. I’m digging the cocktail recipe, too!

  3. I couldn’t agree more about needing all of the “grown up” bar essentials. I was a bartender for about 6 years and my dream is to have a perfectly stocked bar area in our next house with all of the essentials.

    This rhubarb simple syrup sounds like an amazing ingredient. I definitely need to give it a try!

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