The Well Stocked Bar
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 28 2010 - 12:00 am
With New Year's Eve approaching, many celebratory events will be taking place. While bubbly is the choice of many for this very special night, it is nice to have a well-stocked bar. And while we love serving our wine to our guests, we truly appreciate and like to offer a wide-selection of wines, beers and spirits in our home.
When planning a full bar, it is essential to have the right mixers, barware and to know how to determine how much to buy (which is usually plenty).
Juices: Cranberry is a staple, fresh-squeezed orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit (don't forget to strain the pulp, it makes drinks bitter).
Sodas: Always have tonic water and club soda, ginger ale is also good to have around.
Modifier Spirits: These will complement your base liquor and add flavor to your cocktail. Things like, sweet and dry vermouth for martinis and Manhattans, bitters (Angostura & Peychaud's are my faves) and make sure to replace your bottle of Triple Sec (a cheap, synthetic alternative) with Cointreau, an orange liqueur that gives the sour flavor in cosmopolitans and lemon drops.
Sweetners: Make a simple syrup (boil sugar & water) or use agave nectar.
Garnishes: Sliced fruit, wedges and zest strips. Limes for margaritas, gimlets, mojitos, daiquiris and cosmopolitans. Lemons for lemon drops and Tom Collinses and as a general garnish. Oranges for old-fashioneds and screwdrivers. Olives for martinis. Mint is also nice to have around for juleps, and mojitos.
Wine One bottle per two people per hour
Beer Two beers per person per hour
Spirits One bottle per five people per hour
Mixers Three bottles for each bottle of alcohol
Ice At least one pound per person per hour
Wine Openers: There is nothing worse than sub-par wine openers, Rabbit is my favorite brand.
Jiggers or Measured Shot Glass: One 2 ounce that has markings for every half ounce works well.
Boston Shaker: A two-piece shaker that consists of a pint glass and a stainless steel base.
Zester: Will make all those fancy twists.
Muddler: A tool used to crush fruits, herbs and sugars inside a mixing glass.
Hawthorne Strainer: A stainless steel strainer with a spring that secures over a shaker. It keeps fruit and ice from falling into the glass.
Long-Handled Bar Spoon: Used to stir cocktails that contain only spirits (like martinis) because it creates a smoother drink than shaking.
Glass Pitchers: Mix up batches of cocktails in advance.
Large Ice Bin: Will hold chilled wine and beer. A galvanized tub is best.
Ice Bucket, Tongs & Lots of Ice: Ice is as much a tool as it is an ingredient in cocktails; the colder and bigger your ice cubes, the better.
Napkins, Stirrers, Cocktail Straws: Have lots on hand.
BEER, WINE AND SPIRITS
Beer: For winter parties, ales and stouts are wonderful while summertime calls for lagers. Light and dark options are important to have on hand. Pilsner is also a good choice to have around as well as Guinness for any dark beer lovers.
Wine: We are of course partial to our Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines as they are extremely food friendly.
Vodka: Your No. 1 clear liquor and a crowd pleaser. It blends seamlessly with all kinds of mixers. It can be sipped chilled or neat or used for vodka tonics, greyhounds, Bloody Mary's, White Russians and lemon drops. Keep stored below 80o F.
Whiskey: For sipping and mixing, bourbons and lighter-rye based whiskeys are best. Use them to make Manhattans, whiskey sours, mint juleps and old-fashioneds. Maker's Mark brand has a sweetness to it that I think makes it more palatable than other spicier bourbons.
Gin: A must for true martinis, gimlets, Negronis and Tom Collinses. Hendrick's is my favorite but Beefeater works well for dry martinis.
Scotch: I have this love/hate relationship with scotch. My whiskey connoisseur friends will drink it straight but I like it in a rusty nail as a cocktail. Chivas Regal is a good midrange Scotch, not too smoky or oaky. If you want to impress, a 12-year-old Macallan from Scotlland would work.
Rum: The basis for most tropical drinks like mai tais or mojitos. My favorite, Rhum Clement Premiere Canne, white rum made from cane-sugar syrup instead of molasses....very nice.
Tequila: Silver tequila for margaritas and bloody Marias, tequila sunrises and shady ladies. Look for 100 percent blue agave when buying tequila.
Extra Spirits: There are brandies like Cognac and Armagnac which are always a nice touch.
Of course whatever you choose, we're sure you will have very happy guests. Enjoy your party.