PLUS SEASONAL COCKTAIL RECIPES YOUR GUESTS WILL LOVE TO TRY.
“Come in! Can I get you a drink?”
It’s one of the first things you ask someone when they walk through your door. Whether it’s an impromptu visit or a planned Friday night dinner and drinks, we’re here to help you feel prepared and ready for that moment.
ORGANIZE YOUR BARWARE SPACE
Regardless if you have a full wet bar, a permanent bar cabinet or a mobile bar cart, it’s nice to have a dedicated, organized space with all the things you need to make a tasty drink. Your barware space, like the rest of your home, represents your style and becomes an extension of who you are as a host. If you don’t have a dedicated area for your drinkware, liquor and bar accessories, now is the time to solve that. It doesn’t matter how much room you have; being organized and prepared will save you time and valuable room.
KEEP YOUR BAR CLEAN
During warmer months when windows are open, our homes frequently get dusty. If you are expecting friends or family to stop by for a drink, take a few minutes before they arrive to rinse and wipe down the bar area. Sometimes an unexpected guest can catch you off guard. That’s OK. Keep a couple of clean bar towels ready to wipe things down before serving them a drink. Better to rinse and dry a dusty glass in front of your guests than to serve them your best Pinot with lint floating on top! Even if they haven’t been used, launder cloth napkins and cocktail napkins now and then to keep them fresh.
PRO TIP: If you keep glasses displayed, situate them upside down to keep the inside of the glass free of dust and lint.
GLASSWARE FOR YOUR HOME BAR
Glassware can add to or take away from each drink you serve. There are so many styles, colors and unique drinkware that make personalizing your space so much fun. Download The Dowry Registry Checklist for a complete list of glassware to add to your wedding registry. This will guarantee you’re stocked with the basic drinkware.
If your bar cart is small and you don’t have a lot of room for the extras, short tumbler glasses, also known as lowball glasses, are the most versatile. You can serve anything from wine to a craft cocktail in them without explanation.
If you have more room to play with, we recommend you keep wine glasses (with or without a stem), highball glasses, and pilsner or pint glasses nearby. Pick glassware that complements your overall design style and the type of drinks you serve and has a little weight to it.
If you’ve got a friend coming over who drinks nothing but martinis, remove all unnecessary liquor and drinkware from your serving space, but leave the vermouth, gin, mixing glass, stir spoon, shot glass, and martini or coupe glasses. If your group likes beer, consider streamlining your bar space to showcase only your pilsner or pint glasses. It takes a little more preparation, but nothing beats being prepared and feeling like you have more bar space than you actually do.
HOME BAR ESSENTIALS
Stirring, straining, garnishing and more: This is another area that can be personalized for the types of drinks you serve and the types of drinks your guests prefer. Here are the 20 most essential bar tools to have on hand:
Top 20 Bar Accessories:
STOCK YOUR HOME BAR
What you keep on hand has a lot to do with your prowess as a mixologist. If you like to keep your options on the simple side, stick with the five basic liquors:
- Rum (dark and light)
- Whiskey (bourbon and rye)
- Tequila (silver and gold, only 100% agave)
Add to this a good, bubbly red or white wine. If you are more ambitious, add vermouth, absinthe, Cointreau, Campari, St. Germain and a flavored liqueur, like Kahlua, to your arsenal.
PRO TIP: If you are planning a cocktail party, consider picking one or two signature cocktails to feature and serve in addition to beer and wine.
Add the signature cocktail recipes to a letterboard or chalkboard and let guests mix their own. That way you won’t spend the entire evening mixing drinks and everyone stays happy. In summertime you might go with Aperol spritz or Negroni. In colder months you could serve White Russians or winter sangria. Bonus for the host: Mix a large batch just before guests arrive so you can be involved in conversation and not bartending. Add ice at the last minute.
CRAFT COCKTAIL RECIPES FOR EVERY SEASON
Pick a few cocktails each season that you can practice and perfect. Every few months pick a few more, and in no time you’ll be a great dinner party mixologist. Click the images to download yummy cocktail recipes for each season:
Keep in mind that your role as host is to tend to the needs of your guests and find moments to reconnect and reminisce. Keep the mood friendly and casual and remember to have a good time yourself.
With so many glassware options available, it can be hard to figure out what your own home bar needs. What one person considers an absolute necessity might never get used at your house. Once you learn what each type of glass is used for, you are ready to stock your own home bar with exactly what you’ll use and need – picking glasses based on your own preferences and home bar experience.