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  Life   Food  21 Jul 2017  Up your bartending game

Up your bartending game

THE ASIAN AGE. | JOY SINGH
Published : Jul 21, 2017, 3:38 am IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2017, 3:38 am IST

Setting up a bar at home needn’t be an overwhemling task. We ask an expert to give us the ground rules.

Stocking 10 expensive brands of whisky and a collection of liqueurs isn’t necessary at all.
 Stocking 10 expensive brands of whisky and a collection of liqueurs isn’t necessary at all.

A well-stocked home bar not only impresses your friends, but also completes your residence. Many live with the misconception of a bar at home being rather expensive to set up as well as maintain. That’s not necessarily true. The key is to think smart and invest right.

Stocking 10 expensive brands of whisky and a collection of liqueurs isn’t necessary at all. Rather, a half-dozen base spirits and a few mixers should do it, as they let you whip up classic cocktails as well as conjure a few drinks of your own. You could probably trick people into thinking you’re a great bartender by learning just how to make the classics — a vodka drink, a gin drink and a couple whisky drinks.

Now, every party has the drinkers and the non-drinkers. You really can’t have the non-alcoholics sulking in a corner, so set up a non-alcoholic bar. Stray away from the conventional juices and sodas, and whip up some virgin mojitos, seltzers and iced coffees. A cucumber and mint garnish, and voila, they won’t feel left out anymore. When stocking up, it’s best to calculate drinks per head, decide the type of liquor to serve and throw in a signature drink. It’ll save you some money.

Wine, white rum, gin, bourbon, vodka and tequila — these are must haves for every bar. These form the base for all drinks so just channel the inner bartender in you and come up with some crazy concoctions. Do keep simple syrup on hand for cocktails. Another thing that really elevates a drink are bitters. Angostura and Regan’s Orange Bitters are the best ones to have. Soda, tonic water, Sprite and juices work best as mixers. And we all like to drink pretty drinks, so garnishing them with cocktail olives, lime and orange wedges or cherries makes them Instagram-worthy.

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While you’re on bartender duty, it’s tough to be running back to the kitchen for glasses that could go along with the drink you’re making. Investing in some glassware would make matters much easier. Stemmed glasses for wine, tall and short glasses, martini glasses and beer mugs are just enough. Don’t get your guest too drunk on his first drink. You would want them to enjoy your handiwork so measure your
liquor with a jigger. Barware such as a bar spoon, a cocktail shaker, a strainer, wooden muddler, ice cube trays and a vegetable peeler is very important as well.

It’s always nice to show off your collection of bottles, so if you feel fancy, invest in a cocktail cabinet. It also serves the purpose of storing in a cool and dry place as you can’t keep them in direct sunlight. Two birds, one stone.

Joy Singh is a partner at Raasta Bombay

Tags: home bar, cocktails