|Not nearly as grown-up aconcept as it sounds, having
your own bar at home is
something that comes
same time as an appreciation for
dinner parties, rating one’s car insurance
and hair in all the
wrong places. We asked three people in
the bar-know to list what they’d set up
their first bar with. Three different people
— three different styles.
Longrain, SydneyWay more than just the man behind the bar, Jules has run the show at Longrain, mixing drinks and tracks, since it first opened nearly two years ago. With a skill for recreating super smooth drinks that focus on fresh ingredients and clear spirits Jules is truly a master of the bar.ESSENTIAL SPIRITS
In order to lay the foundations for an impressive home bar, a solid investment in premium spirits is the key. This operation can be quite costly so a gradual acquisition is recommended — collect them like stamps.
Vodka: Absolut and/or Absolut-flavoured Manderin, Citron or Kurrant.
Gin: Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray
White Rum: Bacardi
Tequila: Hornitos Tre Generacionas
Mixers can completely destroy a quality drink or perfectly complement it. Invest in Ôbuddy’ four packs to ensure freshness. You should stock soda, tonic and ginger beer.
Besides standard juices, like orange or pineapple, popular juice mixers such as cranberry and ruby red grapefruit juice should be stocked.
If you possess both the time and a juicer, freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice makes a serious difference to the flavour and quality of your drinks. A dash of lime in a vodka soda or fresh lemon in a margarita gives it the edge. Avoid the temptation of using sweet lime cordial.
ESSENTIAL BAR EQUIPMENT
It’s too easy to get lost in the world of cheesy bar gimmicks, so stick with sturdy quality equipment that’s visually sound, without the clutter.
.DRINKS: THE SHOWSTOPPERS
Hairy Canary, MelbourneSince the Hairy opened, it’s become something of a haunt for the super cool kats of inner city Melbourne. Sure there’s espressos served all day, but if sparking up an evening with a shake and a shot is more your flavour, Nikki’s the one behind the mix.Always try to add a touch of your own personality to the bar. It could be feathers, palm leaves, anything that shows your true self and try to cater to everyone’s needs — even if it’s not your style. With all this basic equipment, alcohol and mixers, you’re sure to be able to entertain your guests and keep them drinking well into the next morning.
Scotch: Johnnie Walker Red Label
Bourbon: Jim Beam
Vermouth: Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Schweppes and Coke are the most commonly used brands, which are easily obtained and always good quality.
Other mixers that you should have:
The Gin Palace, MelbourneOwner and bar chief at Melbourne’s velvety Gin Palace, Vernon’s style for a bar set-up is as lush as his bar — it’s about visuals and a whole lotta showmanship. “I prefer Spaceage Bachelor Pad chic to Bryan Brown’s Cocktail any day.”Your home bar should reflect your individual taste. Set yourself up with basics, and be prepared to offer one or two special cocktails.
At home one needs to be able to mix a good range of drinks. Try not to get stressed by offering too many choices. It’s best to offer your own favourite cocktail and make it with confidence.
The most important basic spirits are gin, vodka and scotch whiskey. Champagne, wine and beer are, in my mind, just like food, so one’s fridge and cellar should always be well stocked with a good selection of these.
If you have the space and don’t mind the effort the next stage is to purchase rum (gold and white), brandy, American whiskey, tequila, pimms, Cointreau, vermouth (sweet, dry and red).
Keep 375 ml bottles of soda water, tonic water, some oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and a good juicer handy. You can now offer an excellent range of drinks from gin and tonic to Campari and grapefruit without much trouble at all.
The next stage is to purchase lime cordial, dry ginger, lemonade, cranberry juice, grenadine, Angostura bitters, tomato juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
Don’t forget if you intend to serve Pimms, fresh cucumber is needed to garnish and for Bloody Marys celery stalks are essential. I stock Cognac, Chartreuse, Frangelico, and Averna for after dinner. Also, port, tokay and muscat might be needed for certain occasions.