Stocking the Bar

A well stocked bar is essential for entertaining with ease. It is such a hassle to run out to the liquor store every time you entertain so take some time to establish a stocked bar. Having the basic bar essentials on hands means you can be ready to entertain at the drop of a hat. Here are some tips for stocking your bar from the Boston Globe:

BEER Ales and stouts are good choices for winter, whereas lagers taste most refreshing in the summer. Unopened beer can be stored at room temperature and then chilled before serving. Once you’ve chilled beer, though, it must be consumed before it warms up, or its flavor will be spoiled.

WINE Store wine on its side or upside down, below 70 degrees and in a temperature-controlled wine fridge if you have an extensive collection.

VODKA More of a surefire crowd-pleaser than gin, vodka is your No. 1 must-have clear liquor. Sip it chilled and neat, or use it for vodka martinis, vodka tonics, Greyhounds, lemon drops, Bloody Marys, or White Russians. Store spirits at room temperature (below 80 degrees), and try to use open bottles within a year, since they may spoil over time. It’s fine to chill vodka in the freezer for a party, but it begins to thicken after a few months in there.

GIN A must for true martinis (which are always gin-based), gimlets, Negronis, and Tom Collinses.

WHISKEY Bourbons and lighter rye-based whiskeys are best for sipping and mixing. You’ll be able to make Manhattans, whiskey sours, Old Fashioneds, and mint juleps.

When shopping for parties, restock your basics and add these extras if you want to offer a full bar or special cocktails.

SCOTCH Whiskey connoisseurs will drink it straight, while cocktail fans can have a Rusty Nail.

RUM It’s the basis for most tropical, fruit-based drinks, such as mojitos and mai tais.

TEQUILA Keep silver tequila on hand for margaritas, Bloody Marias, Tequila Sunrises, and Shady Ladies; and extra-aged, or anejo, tequila for sipping.

EXTRA SPIRITS Consider brandies such as cognac and Armagnac, or offer an outside-the-box idea, such as Pisco.

MIXERS Store vermouth, sodas, and juices in the refrigerator. Other mixers do best at room temperature. If you’re serving a signature drink or two, let those recipes dictate your extra mixers.

MODIFIER SPIRITS These spirits complement your base liquor and add the main flavor to a cocktail. The most important: sweet and dry vermouth, for martinis and Manhattans; bitters (Angostura and Peychaud’s are the classics); and Cointreau, an orange liqueur that provides the sour flavor in drinks such as cosmopolitans and lemon drops.

JUICES Cranberry is a staple. When using fresh-squeezed orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice, strain out the pulp, which turns drinks sour.

SODAS Always have tonic water, club soda and Ginger Ale on hand.

The proper bar ware is also essential. Didriks recommends having at least 12 of these barware basics for serving a variety of drinks:





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