by Sheena O.
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 something every smooth gent should check off his to-do list, but how can you do this without busting the bank? As always, it’s SM to the rescue. Let our Home Bar Rule of Three be your wingman the next time you have lady guests at your bachelor pad.
This was a tough call seeing how all of us here at SM 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 cheap (Absolut) or splash the cash on top shelf stuff (Magnum Grey Goose). 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 impresses the ladies.
The final contender is a classic light liquor. It unquestionably made the cut into the SM home bar for its role in many cocktails traditionally favoured by ladies, such as Martinis, Gin & Tonic and the Gimlet. Fret not, recipes are included in this article. We got you covered, as usual.
Well 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 you 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 the ladies 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. Impress the ladies by making them think 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 your real estate agent. It takes little effort and money to add visually pleasing coasters to your collection, but will make all the difference in your presentation.
Back to the Rule of 3: 3 juices, 3 fizzes.
- Orange juice
For times when all you need is a Screw…driver.
- Cranberry juice
Features in many perennial female faves.
- Lime juice
A key ingredient in many cocktails with fancy names.
A flexible mixer for all occasions: getting wasted or impressing the girls.
- Club soda
For that fizz 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 gent’s bar drinks from Zouk pre-drinking by the river.
Sliced or peeled, a perfect finishing touch.
- Maraschino cherries
Bound to earn you your lady’s attention and appreciation.
- 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 lemon slice.
Gin + Lime juice + Soda water, in that order. Mix with ice and syrup in a Boston shaker. Strain cocktail out into cocktail glass, serve with lemon peel and no ice.
- Seven & Seven
Two shots of Whiskey + 7-Up. Serve with ice in highball glass 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 bar tending 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 she 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: when she asks for a margarita, dip the rim of the cocktail glass in salt first.