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Set Up Your Own Bar And Master A Few Cocktail Recipes

Blame it on COVID.

Our way of working has changed, our food habits have changed, and of course, the method to let our hair down and the party had to change too.

Increasingly, drinking aficionados are finding joy in brewing their cocktails, rather than paying a hefty charge at upscale bars and restaurants. It’s time for us to welcome you to the art of mixing cocktails and building your bar, in the comfort of your home.

Firstly, we need to select the ideal space at home where such an endeavour can be attempted. Once done, we move on to the tools and the fancy accessories you’d need to tell your friends that yes, they now have a mixologist in the mix. Bitters, bar tools, must-read cocktail books, spirits, glassware, mixers, and garnishes – things are going to get tipsy here.

The bar cart : Bar carts are undeniably one of the hottest pieces of furniture that you’ve searched for on Pinterest: it’s challenging to find a stylish room without one. Bar carts are a specialised place for mixing drinks and if you have space for one, it’s time to start your heady journey by adding it to your house. If your bar cart is visible, take care to arrange it properly.

The console table : Simply placing a tray on top of any console table or sideboard, will turn it into a bar. Place all your bottles and glasses on the table, and keep your necessary bar supplies in a drawer or container nearby.

Bitters are high-proof alcohol infused with herbs, roots, and spices that are used in dashes as a botanical additive to drinks. A cocktail renaissance has swept the nation, and gone are the days when one lonely bitters bottle held court behind the bar. These days, you can find everything from rhubarb bitters to coffee bitters in your local liquor store.

Must-Have Bar Equipment: You might find yourself investing in tools like a soda syphon for manufacturing soda water and ginger beer at home or, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, get a vacuum sealer too as your mixology abilities and interests grow.

Foundation spirit: The first thing to keep in mind while stocking up your bar, is to choose the right spirit. This is the only way of developing the knack for making cocktails. The next rule is to start with small as the liquor is expensive, and you should not use it all at once. The most popular drinks include this handful of spirits:

  • Gin
  • Bourbon Whiskey
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Tequila
  • White Rum
  • Dark Rum

Essential glassware: What good is a tasty cocktail without the perfect glass to hold it in? Each cocktail you master should be poured into a specific glass style, like a highball, lowball, or flute.

Mixers: Stock up on mixers you enjoy. As you try to make new drinks, your collection will expand, so there’s no need to do it all in one day.

These are the mixers we generally have on hand:

  • Soda water (we use a soda siphon to make it at home)
  • Ginger beer
  • Fresh juice, such as orange or grapefruit

Garnishes: We always have lemons and limes in the kitchen, as they’re essential to many great and favourite recipes. Sugar cubes, or fine white sugar, are also a must for every home bar. It’s also great to have a basil plant and a mint plant in the house so you can make herbal cocktails at the ready. Other herbs like sage and thyme are also wonderful garnishes. If you like martinis or bloody marys, cocktail olives, onions, horseradish, salt, pepper, and hot sauce can also be essential.

A few cocktail recipes:
  • Spent Coffee
  • Liqueur Ingredients
  • A few days’ worths of coffee grounds
  • 150 ml fresh strong black coffee
  • 50 gm Sugar
  • An inch real vanilla, split lengthwise
  • 90 ml Smirnoff No 21 Vodka
METHOD:
  1. Take a clean clear jar with an airtight lid.
  2. Add all the ingredients and stir to incorporate.
  3. Shake them about every time you pass it by on the first day to get the sugar dissolved thoroughly. Keep it for a day.
  4. Day Two onwards stir it once a day, and try to let sit in sunlight if possible, to allow natural heat to hasten the infusing process.
  5. Taste test, balance spirit and sugar to suit your palate preference.
  6. Once you are ready to use it, filter through a series of sieves starting with the largest to remove the larger particles and finishing through a coffee filter to clean it up as best possible.
  7. Store in a cool dark place. While the taste improves with age, do your best to consume it within 3 weeks.

Green Apple Globule

Ingredients
  • Fresh Grannys Smith
  • Limes
  • Round silicon mould
Method:
  • Juice adequate green apples to fit the size of your mould.
  • Add a touch of lime juice to stop the oxidation process from turning your apple juice brown.
  • Fill into your mould and freeze.

Jonnie Berry crushes

Ingredients
  • 45 ml of Jonnie walker black label
  • 10 ml lime juice Ripe raspberries/strawberries
  • Soda water to top up
  • Fresh mint leaves to garnish
Method:
  1. Take an old-fashioned glass, add 3-4 strawberries and a sprig of mint.
  2. Use a muddler to gently crush the berries and mint.
  3. Pour in 45 ml of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
  4. Add crushed ice to the top and add soda water until halfway.
  5. Wiggle your bar spoon right to the bottom of the glass hitting the base, and give it a proper stir.
  6. Top with soda.
  7. Agitate your sprig of mint, by slapping it against your palm.
  8. Garnish with mint and slurp it up! That’s a fabulous way to go highballing’ into the weekend!

Citrus got real:

Ingredients:

45 ml Black & White

  • 60 ml Fresh orange juice
  • 10 ml fresh lime Lemonade to top up
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Method :
  1. Take an old-fashioned glass, pour in 45ml of Black & White Scotch, 60ml of Orange Juice and 10ml of Lime juice.
  2. Add ice to the top and add lemonade until halfway.
  3. Wiggle your bar spoon right to the bottom of the glass hitting the base, and give it a proper stir.
  4. Top with more ice, and a touch of lemonade.
  5. Agitate basil by slapping it against your palm, or tear it into large chunks.
  6. Garnish with delight! And your Black & White Scotch Whisky citrus highball just got real!

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