Every savvy gentleman out there knows how to pick his poison. We’ve watched James Bond’s all too familiar shaken, not stirred; we’ve seen Harvey Specter’s penchant for Macallan 18 scotch. A home bar is surely something every man would want to check off his to-do list, because not only does it look cool AF, sipping from the comfort of home instead of a bespoke cocktail bar can save money in the long run. But undoubtedly, it is going to first exact a terrifying hangover on the bank account. Or does it? Let our Home Bar Rule of Three rescue your home decor from the dredges of boredom, at minimal cost and commitment.
This was a tough call seeing how all of us here at SERIOUSLY MAN worship at the Church of Booze. But if we had to choose three essentials…
When on a budget, let vodka be your first choice. It is the most mixable alcohol and goes well with practically anything. Also, you can get it relatively cheap at the DFS, or splash the cash on top shelf stuff (Magnum Grey Goose) if you are particularly generous with yourself. The possibilities are endless.
Every good home bar –no matter how stripped down – needs one dark liquor and one light liquor. Whiskey is our first choice dark liquor for its classy rep as the high-roller. This is where the bulk of your alcohol budget should go. You can still look sophisticated drinking it a la carte, whereas downing vodka shots reduces you to the NS-boy-who-drinks-by-Zouk-bridge status. You decide which would impress your lady friends.
The final contender is a classic light liquor. It unquestionably made the cut into the SERIOUSLY MAN home bar for quality over quantity factor, as well as its pivotal role in many cocktails traditionally favoured by ladies: Martinis, Gin & Tonic and the Gimlet. Recipes are included in this article in case you need to floor a special someone in your pad. We got you covered, as usual.
What else are you going to serve your guests with? Plastic cups left over from last night’s barbecue?
- The Old Fashioned
Also known as the rocks glass, this is the number one essential piece of home bar glassware. Typically reserved for drinks taken neat or on the rocks, it still doesn’t look half bad serving cocktails. It’s large enough to accommodate the ice cubes from the freezer’s ice tray so you don’t have to crush it (which dilutes the drink as it melts faster).
- Cocktail Glass
Added specially with your lady guests in mind. This elegant, delicate glass is what you serve your Martinis, Gin cocktails and other chilled drinks in. Shake or stir the drink with ice before pouring in to chill. Under no circumstances do you serve with ice.
- Highball Glass
For your fizzy cocktails to achieve maximum aesthetic potential. It looks great with garnishes and allows you to exercise some artistic license with paper umbrellas and lemon slices – a cheap trick to show you’re more skilful than you really are.
- Boston Cocktail Shaker
A simple yet essential contraption for vigorous mixing of drinks. Also a prime opportunity to flex those biceps.
- Bar Spoon
These inexpensive spoons with long stems will assist in your conjuring of fancy highball drinks.
They should not be free coasters from gotten from last year’s travels. It takes little effort and money to add visually pleasing coasters to your collection, and that makes all the difference in your presentation.
Back to the Rule of Three: 3 juices, 3 fizzes.
- Orange juice
For all the times when you need a Screw… driver.
- Cranberry juice
Features in many perennial female faves.
- Lime juice
A key ingredient in many cocktails with fancy names.
A dependable and flexible mixer for all occasions.
- Club soda
For that fizzy goodness in your highball cocktails.
A more neutral option to Coke. Great for a Tequila Pop too, if you happen to uncover a dusty bottle of Jose Cuervo in the corner of your storeroom (God knows what it was doing there).
Don’t stinge on garnishes. The cheapest category on this list, but the easiest way to differentiate a classy home bar service from a slipshod one.
Sliced or peeled, a perfect finishing touch.
- Maraschino cherries
Get the intimate party going with some cherry popping fun.
- Simple sugar syrup
While very technically not a garnish, it completes many cocktail recipes. Highly D.I.Y.-able.
ESSENTIAL 3 INGREDIENT RECIPES
SERIOUSLY MAN’s take on many classic cocktails with a basic home bar.
- Cuba Libre
Lime juice + Whiskey + Coke, in that order. Mix well using bar spoon in a rocks glass with ice. Serve with a lemon slice.
Gin + Lime juice + Soda water, in that order. Mix with ice and syrup in a Boston shaker. Strain cocktail out into a cocktail glass, serve with lemon peel and no ice.
- Seven & Seven
Two shots of Whiskey + 7-Up. Serve with ice in a highball glass, finish with lemon slice.
- Gin & Tonic
Gin + Club soda (duh) poured over ice in either a rocks glass or highball glass. Serve with lemon peel.
This is where your fancy bartending skills come into play. Thoroughly mix Vodka + Cranberry juice + lime juice in Boston shaker with syrup and ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
Vodka + Orange juice. Serve with ice.
- Whiskey Lemonade
Squeeze a lemon into a glass, add Whiskey + Syrup. Stir well with bar spoon. Serve over ice in highball glass with lemon slice.
What do you do when someone asks for a margarita or a martini and you don’t have the ingredients for either? Combine both drinks into one awesome concoction that can be served as either. Add lemon zest (scrape off lemon skin with sharp knife or grater), Gin + Lime juice. Mix well in Boston shaker with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon wedge.
Tip: If a guest asks for a margarita, dip the rim of the cocktail glass in salt first.