How to Stock a Home Bar?

How to Stock a Home Bar?

You've removed the old junk from that little cabinet in your living room - it's now earmarked as your 'home bar'. Congratulations! You've made the perfect first step.

Whatever got you started, let's take a look now what the world of spirits has to offer and what drinks you really must add to your new treasure trove...

★ GIN ★ Your Floral Allrounder

Definitely go for a Gin. Whether you drink it straight, sour, on the rocks, or in a G&T (with a slice of cucumber or sprig of rosemary, naturally), there is nothing more refreshing than a good sip of Gin.

Being made from a range of botanicals around its juniper heart it tastes a lot like flowers and herbs. How strong the floral notes are depends on the type and the make you go for.

Hendrick's is a very nice Gin to get up and running, smooth on the tongue and a fine all-round choice, no matter whether you're mixing it or not. If you prefer something from a New World, Aviation Gin, an American Gin from Oregon, is a good addition.

★ VODKA ★ For All Seasons

For most of the drinks you'll ever mix, no matter if it's a Dry Martini - shaken, not stirred - or a Long Island Ice Tea, Vodka will be an essential component. It makes a great start for a longdrink and is at the same time great in shots.

Start off with a Grey Goose or Absolut, solid allrounders that won't damage your wallet. There are also quite some craft options out there, American Hangar 1 or Austrian 1310 organic Vodka, for example.

A Bar Without a 'Proper' ★ WHISK(E)Y ★ Is Like a Car Without Wheels

Taking care of the load-bearing pillar of your bar: a decent Whisk(e)y. It's a spirit that works great straight up or with a chunk of ice, with a drop of water or in a cocktail. Choosing from the huge variety available is probably the hardest task your newfound pursuit requires.

Here's a simple approach from a taste perspective: if you are new to Whisk(e)y choose an Irish (whiskey with an 'e'), a Tennessee Whisk(e)y or a Bourbon. Usually the taste is easier to handle.

When choosing Scotch, definitely start with one without 'peat', that smokey and medicinal flavour that you might have smelled in a Whisky. It's really not for everyone, but if it is your taste preference then there are tons of different approaches to peat flavouring, so make sure you first of all find one that you like.

In the peat-free world, a nice Jameson from Ireland is a good start, or the Woodford Reserve should serve as a nice Bourbon selection (plus its bottle looks nice on any shelf).

If you've already discovered that Whisk(e)y is something you do like, go for a Scotch, the Whisky made in Scotland. That doesn't mean one that you can find in every corner shop's off-license section, but something sophisticated and more special.

Choosing that is the hard part. But hey, Uncle Flaviar is here on a rescue mission! Our Tasting Packs provide the ideal overview and are also the cheapest way of finding out exactly what you like.

Treat Yourself With Some ★ FRENCH 'EAU DE VIE' ★

A wonderful addition to every bar is a nice bottle of Cognac. Distilled from grapes and aged in wood, it is another staple, just like Whisky, but offers a substantially different flavour profile that is good as a stand-alone or in mixed drinks.

Although the very good stuff will put wings on your wallet, having a Hennessy Fine de Cognac, or a VSOP from Martell in your cupboard, should be a decent start. And it's in the name: some Eau de Vie should be good for your life too, right?

...And A Bottle Of ★ RUM ★

Number five of the classic choices: a nice bottle of Rum. Many of our forefathers, including no less than Jack Sparrow, drank Rum to get through hard times.

So whether you drink it pure or mixed, a bottle of Rum will be the drink to help you through any difficult times up ahead. A dark rum offers its distinctive sweet vanilla and honey flavours, white rum being straighter and better in Cocktails.

Spiced Rum is only advisable if you've already tasted it and knew you'd fallen in love. With all that in mind, get yourself a Ron Zacapa or, if you're an adult, try Ron de Jeremy.

From Here On You Have Some Choices

Those first five spirits give you a broad range of choices, no matter if you are into Cocktails, Long Drinks or a pure glass of anything. Adding the last two for your solid bar with seven staples rests on your drinking habits and what you want your bar to deliver: Tequila, Vermouth, Triple Sec and some bitters would be good to have if you mix Cocktails - with these you can do basically all of the classics.

Grappa and a Bitter make good Digestifs, if you're prone to a little nip after dinner or with your Coffee. Go for a classic Italian Grappa, like Poli, Berta and Nonino.

If you are a Whisky lover, stack up on that side of your bar with a nice Bourbon and a Japanese Whisky. One is a nice Scotch alternative and the other a nerdy option for Poker night with your friends.

★ TASTING IS BELIEVING ★ Taste A Lot, Because You Simply Can't Argue With Taste

A final, but important note goes almost without saying: taste a lot! Take every opportunity to taste spirits, to find your personal favourites. Your taste is personal and it keeps evolving, so submerge your taste buds in something new as often as possible.

Where best to taste? Ask good friends for a sip of what's in their bar, tipple in bars and restaurant, go for something new whenever possible or buy quality tasting packs that give you a good overview of what's available and that also add some context to it, telling you why it tastes like this, so you are able to identify your personal pleasure profile better.
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