As I age and mellow, weekend nights tend to find me reaching for beer and wine. But sometimes a night in calls for something a tad stronger to fortify the troops. Back in my former life, I was a keen boozehound, and am distilling all my experience for your drunken pleasure with this list of the only five things you need for a killer home bar.
1) Booze. 'cause without it, you're still sober, my friend. A bottle of each of the basics should get 'er done: rum, tequila, vodka, gin, brandy, whiskey. As far as brands, choose what pleases you, but this boozy pauper sternly recommends you pony up a few bucks to get a brand of vodka other than Smirnoff. Standards, guys.
2) Fresh ice. If you have to utter the phrase, "Uh, I think we have ice somewhere," then your ice isn't fresh enough. Ice absorbs all the grody flavors of your fridge, so do yourself a favor and use nothing more than a week old.
3) Fresh citrus fruits. You can hand-squeeze these to make juice to order. Some dudes are crazy about their orange and grapefruit juices, and bully for them, but for my money you can never go wrong with half a dozen each lemons and limes tucked into your fridge. And never use that bottled junk. It's made for cooking, not drinking, and is so bitter it'll flip your eyelids inside-out.
4) Simple syrup. Boil two cups water on your stove. Dump in two cups granulated white sugar. Stir 'til all the sugar dissolves, then funnel into a container and store indefinitely in the fridge. There's a reason it's not called complicated syrup. Now you can easily sweeten drinks without stirring your wrist off for the crystals to dissolve.
5) Cocktail shaker. Nothing fancy: stainless steel, strainer in the lid, comfortable grip, and big enough to hold however many cocktails you usually shake at a time. The key to shaking a cocktail: use lots of ice, and shake it -- like you're waking it up, not like you're rocking it to sleep -- until the outside is covered with condensation.
What key bar staples did I miss? Heckle me in the comments section.
Posted by TKOG of Not That Kind of Girl.
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