Don’t you just love a great craft cocktail?
If made properly with the perfect ingredients and attention to every detail, it should be an experience that begins with your taste buds and ends however you heart desires.
Before you create your special libation, do yourself a favor and set up a bar that not only houses your favorite spirits, but one that is also visually appealing.
Whether it’s the Perfect Manhattan, a classic Sidecar, or whatever your chosen cocktail, the design and display of your bar is just as important as the libation itself.
Here are a few tips for the most discerning home bartender and amateur mixologist.
Starting with the bar itself…
The showstopper, Porthole Bar from RH Contract
Perhaps you already have a built-in bar with shelving, or maybe you want to use a small space to add a unique bar cabinet. When adding to an existing bar space, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. Be sure the bottles aren’t overly crowded - they should always be easy to view. And if you can include special lighting to really highlight your bar space, that is always ideal.
Showcase your bottles so that they stand
out — those that are ‘pretty’ or unique in some way should be highlighted. And of course those ‘expensive’ bottles such as Louis XIII, for my fellow cognac drinkers, should be front and center to help set your bar apart. For other libations that you still enjoy and want to include, consider investing in beautiful bottles and decanters to
house the liquor.
When it comes to boxes or containers, some spirit makers take great pride in their packaging. So before you toss that unique ‘Ace of Spades’ black lacquer box to the side, make it a featured display among your bottles.
Finally, as with any design project, it’s the little things that will set your bar apart.
Let’s talk about those final touches of the glassware and bar accessories, because they truly make your bar go from blah to ahh.
You’ll need to have a mix of glasses to use with your wine and spirits — snifters for cognac, martini glasses for cosmos, highballs for mojitos, lowballs for your old fashioned, and while you’re at it, adding margarita, hurricane, and Irish cream glasses, will make your collection complete and ready for whatever cocktail you whip up for yourself and/or your guest.
For your wine…it’s not just about having a goblet…it’s all about having the right one to get the most flavor out of the grape. If you’re a wine connoisseur, you already know that the shape of the glass enhances the vintage and is directly correlated to how you experience the flavor. And always remember that temperature impacts the flavor as well, holding your glass by its stem is paramount.
I enjoy many different wines, but my preference is red, so to truly enjoy my favorite Pinot Noir, my glasses are larger and rounder. Why? To aerate it, open the bouquet and enjoy the aromas, which to me is foreplay before your first sip.
For my white wine lovers, the glass will be smaller so that it does not oxidize before you have time to truly enjoy its subtly and essence. We all need our oxygen, but we just don’t need it in our glass altering the consistency of our Sauvignon Blanc.
Now on to the bubbly . . . you’ll also need that special glass, unique in shape and unique in its purpose. Bubbly is no fun without the bubbles, so it’s important for you to find that special flute for your champagne and sparkling wines. Have fun with it and buy beautiful flutes that suit your personality. And who only has champagne on NYE? Toast is up throughout the year for every occasion as well as for no occasion at all. Poppin’ bottles is a regularity in my home.
Last but not least, no bar is complete without the proper barware accessories, so don’t half step when it comes to these pieces. Barware and stemware should be both fun and functional. Your shakers, jiggers, strainers, bitters bottles, and cocktail tools should go with the overall design motif of your bar.