Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to stock a home bar?


So, I got this question from someone at work:

Quick question for your alter ego…

What do I need for setting up my swanky bar? Just booze? Nice glasses? I am at a loss for what needs to be displayed along with my impressive hard liquor selection.


I think you need a big-ass glass vase-y thing for your ice. Most ice buckets are too small if you're really hosting a big shebang.



And then you need HIGHBALL GLASSES or something similar. I think you don't need all kinds of glasses. Just one substantial kind will do the trick and everything will look tidy.

Also - remember cocktail napkins? The real cotton kind? Get 'em. It's very "Mad Men" to use the real deal. Coasters are for the boys in the man-cave watching the game. Cocktail napkins are for a girl like you.

I leave the other advice to our fair readers.

How should you stock a home bar?




Image above from HERE.

34 comments:

seattlesarah said...

Here's what we've got (and use all the time) in our home bar:

>12+ wineglasses (we got a shape that can use used with both reds and whites, because honestly, who cares?)
>8 tall, skinny highballs - and this is important - they are straight sided. They look awesome, and they're perfect for fruity drinks and mojitos
>8 lowballs/double old-fashioneds
>8 champagne flutes, because when you need 'em, there is no substitute
>cocktail shaker
>a medium-sized pitcher for mixing up big batches
>straws, cocktail picks, umbrellas, maraschino cherries in the fridge. Seriously, tipsy people love umbrellas

We never use our martini glasses, though. I've gotten all my barware at either Goodwill, CB2/Crate & Barrel, and IKEA. Someday I'll probably get nicer things, but for now it's nice to know that it doesn't matter when something breaks.

(Full disclosure: I am 21. To my friends, my bar is *super classy*. YMMV).

Anonymous said...

A bottle of Jaeger, another of Robitussin with Codeine, and a stack of Dixie Cups.

Be the change..... said...

I think it's nice to include the small bottles of mixers - like tonic, soda, coke - like Miles Redd does on his bar -have you seen those images? I think his is the best stocked bar I've seen. Definitely just one type of glass on the bar itself so it doesn't look cluttery

Anonymous said...

My favorite conversation piece is my "basket-o-booze". A big deep sided basket filled with rum,gin,vodka,whiskey,etc. etc. It sits on a big Chinese stand, next to my dropleaf bar table. On the table is deep sided silver tray with an array of liquors. Above in a pogoda shaped bookcase are my glasses: reidel wine, vintage gold edged (greek key) stemmed chunky glasses for high balls, and silver cups for mojitos and mint juleps. PS: A silver bowl holds silver baby cups.....(ooooh that doesn't seem right with booze) Ginny

...love Maegan said...

don't forget an orchid. or some small chic burst of color to contrast lemon and lime wedges. details. details.

Anonymous said...

Riedel wine glasses are worth it because they look so nice and your guests will know you're classy. Except when you have too much and fall and break one... We also have heavy crystal rocks glasses and highballs so people feel fancy while they're getting schnockered. Even the cheap stuff will taste better in crystal. It's nice to have a nice bottle of wine or two around in case a very special occasion arises, or you just feel like celebrating.

Anonymous said...

"So that guests will know you're classy," is perhaps the funniest thing I have ever seen here.

Anonymous said...

It's easier to communicate classiness with a sign on the door. "Enter our classy digs," something like that. You can do it in script!

Be the change..... said...

Anon, rather than a sign on the door, I suggest a doormat that just says 'classy' in a nice FANCY font or script -nothing says classy like a big ass doormat

CashmereLibrarian said...

I'm with "be the change"--love the look of neatly aligned soda bottles a la Miles Redd.
Speaking of Mad Men, though, i wanna move from soda bottles to a seltzer bottle. Anyone tried using one of those? I sometimes see old ones at antique stores.
Also, I want a crystal decanter for my Famous Grouse Scotch!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:07 you are so nutty.

Visual Vamp said...

A cute bartender

Anonymous said...

visual vamp:

What happened to "now you've been demoted to my once in awhile LOL"

?

eM said...

a bottle of gin in the freezer and a bottle of rum in the pantry seem to work for me.

Anonymous said...

The thing about classy is that once everyone is drunk, who tf cares about napkins?!

Anonymous said...

Serving heroin eliminates all this fuss and bother.

Anonymous said...

I used to hate it when someone's bar only had spirits with no mixers/garnishes. Now I understand how unimportant the mixers are, as long as one has a glass of any variety, and two shots worth of whatever.

Now that's classy.

decorno said...

I love all you crazy drunkards.

Anonymous said...

really you don't even need the glass. Just the bottle and a mouth.

pve design said...

chic bartender, shaken by your incredibly well stocked bar all for a "classy par-tay"
designated driver to drive those home that should not be driving, p l ease!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

A thousand years ago I was salesman at Gump's in Dallas. And once I was assigned to the bar department. Invariably I recommended that shoppers i search of glasses buy double old-fashioneds (which didn't help our goblet sales, my manager pointed out). Honestly, a highball glass is way too big; a DOF, on the other hand, is satisfying large without the person holding it look like a lush. Practically anything can be served in them (drinks rules be damned). A good friend simply uses Moroccan glasses for everything, which works fine, whether you entertaining or loading the dishwasher after the event is over. I also have a large collection of cocktail napkins (linen), most of them embroidered with interesting designs, motifs, and/or monograms (not mine). Ebay is wonderful for these.

Anonymous said...

I think the next topic for discussion needs to turn the tables to: 'Quick Fixes When Your Host Does Not Have a Well Stocked Bar" or "Visting People Who Think 2 Bottles of Wine Are Enough for a BackYard Dinner Party of 8 Adults and 9 Children Jumping in the Pool, Torturing the Single Childless Visiting Adult". I could use some help here people.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:48 PM--

Have you never heard of a little invention called "the host's medicine cabinet"???

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I went on a dollar store bender and bought 24 champagne flutes. Say what you will about the wonder of the $1 store, but two dozen flutes lined up next to chilled sparkling cava (my budget-friendly fave) looks pretty snazzy.

I also pour juices into clear glass (Ikea) pitchers and drop in some fresh fruit (a cut up orange, handful of frozen cranberries, peaches slices, etc.) to "ID" the juice/nectar. It looks pretty and can quickly woo (inebriated) guests into thinking there's freshly squeezed juices.

p.s. I want a "Classy" doormat, be the change.

Anonymous said...

Or a doormat that says "Herpetic."

decorno said...

Aesthete:

You write, "a DOF, on the other hand, is satisfying large without the person holding it look like a lush."

I've never minded that look, to be honest. :)

Lynn said...

LOLz at anonymous lush comments

for our bar for a house of six people we have a fully stocked liquor cabinet, 2 cocktail shakers, 2 pitchers, straws and picks, 12 wine glasses, 6 champagne flutes, 12 lowballs (no highballs because sometimes drunks stick their hands in their glasses, don't ask me why), don't forget SHOT GLASSES (at least 12, ones with lights or city souvenir prints give you plus points). we have one shelf of liquor, one shelf of mixers, and the other shelves are for the glasses. we leave the white alcohols (gins, vodka, white wines) in the fridge and all the darks and the absinthe (our top shelf baby) on display. set aside we have the cherries, limes, lemons, sugar, etc, even chocolate syrup. one of my roommates leaves the blender next to the bailey's. one of my other roommates brews beer in the hallway closet.

leave it to san francisco.

danny boy said...

i always have the good liquor on display but keep the seagrams below so after the third drink when nobody cares i start using it. major money saver there! i also make sure to have plenty of olives and cherries because for some reason no matter how much snacks i've got lying around everyone wants to pick at the olives.

side note:cost plus' connoisseur wine glass collection is made by riedel and sell for a fraction of the cost!

Anonymous said...

anon with the poolpartyproblem: Next time bring your own drinks, you'll probably make new friends this way.

One other thing I find important is not the glasses but the kind of music you play when you entertain. One thing I like (and goes well with the napkins) is some old fashioned jazz from the 20s and 30s.

porter hovey said...

It's all about the painting with the man smoking. It's FABULOUS!!!

my little apartment said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
my little apartment said...

i have a vintage rattan bar that i lacquered white and on it i display:

- sterling mint julep cups
- vintage hand-painted high ball glasses
- a mason jar full of black straws
- BOOZE (Stoli Blueberry, gin, Lillet, red wine, tequila, St. Germaine, a good scotch)
- i keep a handle of Stoli in the freezer and loads of soda and fresh grapefruit in the fridge

you can check out my bar here:
http://tinyurl.com/5kcclk
and
http://tinyurl.com/6rh8dj

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Fresh fruit, a silver champagne bucket, flutes, all-purpose wine glasses, double old-fashioneds, cocktail (martini) glasses that are not of the 32 oz variety, a small glass for liquors, shaker, pitcher, sliver tray, good, sharp knife, silver muddler/bar spoon, corkscrew, a jigger. Cloth cocktail napkins are wonderful. If you can afford the freight the sterling julep glasses are phenomenal at keeping a drink really cold and beautiful. I also like to have fifths of booze on the tray instead of half gallons which are stored under the bar to replenish the smaller bottles. Smaller bottles of mixers are nice. An ice bucket that works (still looking) with silver tongs.

Anonymous said...

That cigarette guy in the portrait looks Third Reich-y, doesn't he?