The C&TH Guide to Creating Your Own Home Bar

By Dina Nagapetyants

2 years ago

Keep calm and get mixing

Bring the party to your living room with our guide to creating the perfect home bar – from spirits to themes and more.

The C&TH Guide to Creating Your Own Home Bar

Annie Sloan

A home bar painted in Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue and Oxford Navy chalk paint. Photo: Annie Sloan

The Space

Finding the right home for your burgeoning bar is key, whether you want it easily accessible or tucked away. More living space means more freedom: why not invest in a sleek new credenza that doubles as a drinks cupboard? Or else, browse antique shops, fairs and second-hand websites for a chic bar cart or trolley. If you’re pushed for space, a mirrored tray (the more tarnished, the better) on a sideboard or similar flat surface works like a charm.

The Theme

If choosing to have your bar in a visible spot, it won’t hurt to make it a feature of the interior. Choose a theme and coordinate your barware around it so you don’t end up with a mish-mash of clashing pieces. Whether you’re into old-Hollywood luxe with brass accents and crystal everything, mid-century sleek à la Mad Men or even a tasteful tropical, there’s plenty of accessories out there to suit every style and budget.

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The Basics (and the extras)

You’re going to need more than a shaker and some glasses – though it’s a good place to start. Ideally, your home bar should be stocked with the following tools:

  • Stainless steel (or crystal) cocktail shaker
  • Jigger (a double-ended cup for measuring out spirit quantities – particularly useful if you’re prone to a little heavy-handedness)
  • Long-handled bar spoon
  • Muddler (for crushing mint and sugar – Mojito lovers, take note)
  • Rocks tumblers
  • Coup glasses (these work both for cocktails and champagne)

If you’re looking to expand, a crystal ice bucket, martini glasses and champagne bucket and flutes are all excellent, stylish additions.

The Spirits

A range of spirits should keep you well-stocked and ready to whip up any number of classic cocktails, as well as any bespoke creations; start with gin, whisky, vodka, rum (white and dark), tequila and brandy. You might also add some of the extras that frequently pop up in the best-known cocktail recipes, like Angostura Bitters, triple sec and Worcester sauce for those breakfast Bloody Marys.

Otherwise, buy according to taste – if you’re lost without a bone-dry Martini, vermouth will come in handy (try Dolin); others might consider summer evenings wasted without an Aperol spritz (or several). We’re not here to dictate your tastes, though – just buy what you’d like to drink, not forgetting mixers and a little something for the teetotal.

The Fun Part

Now that your home bar is assembled, the (cocktail) world’s your oyster. The internet is teeming with recipes for enthusiastic home mixologists – not least C&TH’s Martini-making guide – but there’s something charming about flipping an old-school cocktail book and choosing something at random.

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