The home bar – what it takes
Stirred. Shaken. Straight or on ice? When it comes to equipping a home bar, the first thing to consider is the real purpose that it is intended to serve. After all, this ultimately defines and justifies the means and therefore also the budget. Bert Jachmann, a fixture in Viennese bar gastronomy for 18 years and organizer of the Austrian event bar festival “Liquid Market”, talks about the perfect bar within your own four walls. Plus: Win 2×3 day tickets for the “Liquid Market” in Vienna at the beginning of September (see below for all information).
With a home bar, you can create your own liquid tinkering room where you can do some serious mixology. Or you can start with a variety of fine spirits, which can then be enjoyed neat and on ice. A house bar of the second kind is ultimately the private equivalent of the traditional digestif trolley, which – although no longer ubiquitous – is still popular in traditional restaurants.
To break with a dogma here: premium spirits are not too bad for mixing! Quite the opposite: a drink is only as good as its ingredients. So don’t be afraid of the precious fabric!
Home bar: What should you buy now?
I would take a classic approach and start with the basic spirit categories. This satisfies the majority of potential house bar guests and also easily covers 80 percent of all cocktail options that can be prepared with it. The shopping list therefore includes vodka, gin, bourbon and Scotch whisky, tequila, rum, brandy, amaro and vermouth.
Fortunately, there is now a truly unlimited selection of products in all categories – even alcohol-free. However, there is no getting around your own taste and you have to laboriously test yourself. After all, the perfect combination is the one that tastes best at the time. Almost everything can now be sourced from regional producers, or is at least bottled by them.
Potpourri for the eyes and palate
The private bar can also be designed with visual aspects in mind. Many producers outdo each other with spectacular bottle designs and labeling. In combination with the liquid contents in different colors, this results in a complex potpourri for the eyes and palate.
The best starting point when looking for gems for the home bar is to go to your trusted bartender. You can try everything right away, and he also has recipes and tips at the ready.
Learning by seeing – Liquid Market
The ideal place to experience as much as possible at once is probably a spirits and cocktail festival, such as the LIQUID MARKET in Vienna (September 5-7, 2024, www.liquidmarket.bar, see competition). Here you not only meet the who’s who of the bartender scene in one place and can try their latest drinks, but also have the opportunity to sample a large selection of exciting spirits pure and directly from the producers. All drinks and tastings are included in the ticket. And the favorites can be bought on the spot for the home bar.
These are the four home bar essentials
No.1 – Good ice cream. Really good ice cream!
Compact frozen ice cubes, real cubes, deliver the best quality when preparing drinks. This is because ice has to cool the drink and also water it down so that the ingredients work together more harmoniously. Making your own ice for shaking is tedious. The best place to buy it is at the gas station or supermarket.
You can now make extremely pretty and crystal-clear ice cubes for serving spirits and drinks easily at home (www.iceforward.com).
No.2 – Glass culture. The eye drinks too!
At least four essential types of glass are needed: Goblet, tumbler, highball, tasting glass.
Flea markets and vintage stores are indeed a good place to find individual glass crafts. Incidentally, the absolute design classics come from Lobmeyr in Vienna. Among other things, the original Martini glass, the iconic cocktail tip, was designed here. Over the decades, the most renowned designers such as Loos, Hoffmann and Haerdtl have realized their definitions of drinking glasses in this house, which incidentally created the archetypes for cocktail glasses, whose designs are still borrowed from today.
Also a tip for unique cocktail glasses: www.lsa-international.com
No.3 – Bar reading. What can I mix?
A selection of historical and modern bar books are the perfect addition to the liquid repertoire of a home bar. And to stay on the ball, we recommend subscribing to a specialist bar magazine, such as www.mixology.eu
No.4 – Toolbox. The mixing utensils, so to speak
Stirring spoon, ice cream tongs or scoop. Plus ice bucket, mixing glass, shaker, jigger aka measuring cup, strainer and fine strainer also known as bar strainer and tea strainer. The more of them you have at home, the more professional your home bar will look. And the better the drinks become. A good selection is available from:
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to create the perfect home bar – but the output will not only delight you, but also your guests.
Click here for the competition:
We are giving away 2×3 tickets for the Liquid Market in Vienna – https://myhome.at/gewinnspiel-liquid-market/