Some nights are made for the ambience of a tasting room or to be out on the town. But sometimes, a drink at home is the best way to unwind at the end of the day or play host to your friends. So what should you stock in your home bar? Here are five essentials:
Let’s be honest: a glass of wine wouldn’t be quite as good in a tumbler. The same is true for spirits. The presentation and the beauty of the cocktail are part of the enjoyment. And in a home bar, having a few different glasses on hand will go a long way in elevating your cocktails:
rocks glass—a short tumbler (think Old Fashioned)
coupe glass—a stemmed glass with a broad, shallow bowl
highball glass—enough said
Have one or two of each on hand, and with a little garnish, you’ll be adding new life to your home cocktails.
There’s a reason Bond prefers his martinis shaken, not stirred. A shaker is great for gathering, chilling and blending the ingredients in most great cocktails. (At Montanya, we do avoid shaking anything that contains bitters, vermouths, amaro liqueurs, or other aromatics.)
They say the ingredients make the meal, and the same is true for spirits. A cocktail is only as good as the precision you use when you measure the ingredients, and it’s all too easy to ruin a cocktail by over-pouring or throwing ingredients out of balance. A jigger keeps you honest (as does a good recipe book… check out our recommendations below)!
Don’t be afraid. These flavoring agents aren’t necessarily bitter. At Montanya, some of our favorites are citrus, cucumber jalapeño, and fig & cinnamon. Whatever the flavor, bitters are the easiest way to balance a cocktail that’s tasting too bitter, too sweet or generally out of balance—just choose a bitter with a complimentary flavor profile. We also use them to add a burst of flavor to a cocktail without adding a lot of sugar or watering the cocktails down.
Some home cooks can whip up a meal without a recipe—then there are the rest of us. A good recipe goes a long way. The same is true for cocktails. A great recipe book will help you add variety to your home cocktails, make happy hour a lot more fun, and impress your guests. We love so many it’s hard to name just a few, but for starters check out these great books:
We’ve also been getting a lot of great feedback to our fave, Elevated Cocktails, by Montanya owner and CEO, Karen Hoskin. With her recipes (and some great photos of Crested Butte), it’s like having a little bit of Montanya Distillers in your living room.
What’s one of your must-haves for your home bar? Let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook!
P.S. Of course, there’s one more secret to making good cocktails: having good spirits on hand. We were excited to be recognized as one of 5 excellent rums to stock in your home bar. Thanks Martin Cate, Kirk and InsideHook!