Are you thinking of setting up a home bar in a man cave or games room? If so, there are a few things worth considering when stocking the bar.
So what does it take to get your man cave bar stocked with all the accessories required for serving these friends? Professional bartenders use many tools including measuring tools, blenders and juicers, coil-shaped spoons, different types of shakers, wooden choppers of different shapes, funnels, mallets and speed pourers on the top of each bottle.
If this sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will cover some of the home bar basics you will need. This will include the essential bar tools that every bar owner should have including explanations as to the importance of each item listed.
Essential Bar Tools You Will Need
The list below is not an exhaustive list and you don’t need all of the items to pour a good pint of beer like a pro. However, they are all useful when you have a bar at home. Our recommended essentials include:
1. Bottle Opener
If the people in your group like bottles of beer, the bottle opener will be perhaps the most oft-used tool in your home bar. Many companies make bottle openers that are flat in nature and designed to open beers very quickly when you are in a rush.
2. Knife & Chopping Board
A good knife is a standard part of any bartending kit. You will need this item regularly to cut garnishes for the various cocktails you make, as well as several other applications around the bar.
You will also need a solid cutting board to ensure you do not damage any surfaces on your new home bar.
3. Accessories for Ice
You can either buy packs of ice of make your own with a portable ice maker. In terms of the accessories for ice, you will definitely need a sturdy ice bucket.
This will save you the trouble of having to walk back and forth to the ice make or freezer every time your ice reservoir requires refilling. You should also consider an ice scoop for putting ice into the glasses, and ice tongs for making specialty cocktails with designer ice cubes.
4. Wine Knife/Corkscrew/Waiters Friend/Wine Key
A wine knife or wine key is used for opening corked bottles of wine, beer bottles, and has various other improvised uses. This may not be necessary if you have a more elaborate bottle opener, but it’s nice to have laying around just in case.
If you have ever seen bartenders measuring the ingredients they place into various cocktails you have already seen a jigger at work. A jigger is really nothing more than a measuring device.
They come in many different sizes—one ounce, half-ounce, etc.—and are used when getting just the right balance of ingredient in a cocktail is demanded.
6. Speed Pourers
Although not absolutely necessary in a home bar, speed pourers can be a major advantage to have around. Speed pourers are placed atop liquor bottles to make pouring easier.
Never again will you have to fiddle with the lids of every single ingredient in your favorite cocktail, just grab the bottle you need and pour.
7. Boston Shaker
The Boston Shaker is a bartender’s best friend, and is thus used by almost every cocktail bartender around the globe. This two-piece shaking kit fits together perfectly to create a tight seal, allowing the bartender to mix a drink without spilling a drop.
It can also serve as a strainer, an ice scoop and a mixing device all in one. If you are going to have a home bar, this is one of the first tools you should get.
8. Cocktail Strainer
The strainer is designed to be used with the Boston Shaker. When used in conjunction with your shaker, the strainer will prevent any pulp or fruit remnants from getting into the cocktail and is thus very handy to have around.
9. The Bar Spoon
The bar spoon is essentially a metal spoon with a very long handle. It used for things like mixing tall drinks, retrieving garnishes from the bottle, etc.
No home bar should be without one or two bar spoons as part of an overall bar kit.
Much like its name implies, a muddler is used to muddle certain ingredients that might go into a cocktail. To muddle something is to crush it, and a muddler consists of a concave bowl with a matching masher, usually made from wood.
A muddler is primarily used to crush fruit & sugar in cocktails that call for this technique, for example – cocktails such as the mojito.
11. Fruit or Juice Press
Fresh juice just tastes better in cocktails than the canned or bottled alternative. For that reason, a juice press comes in very handy.
It allows you to quickly extract the juice from all types of citrus, such as lemons, limes and grapefruits. They are also very affordable items, relatively easy to clean, and very compact, meaning they won’t take up too much room in your home bar.
12. Can Opener
If you intend to use canned juice or garnishes that come from one of the larger types of cans, you will definitely need to have a can opener on hand. You can opt for an affordable hand held can opener or a slightly more costly automatic one.
Either way, do not leave this tool off your list.
13. All in One Cocktail Set
Instead of buying a lot of the items separately, you can go with an all-in-one cocktail set that includes a cocktail shaker, jigger, muddler, mixing spoon, pourers, tongs and corkscrew, all set in a stunning stand.
If you want to be the king of the cocktails – A professional bartending kit could be the way to go.
Essential Beverages & Mixers
When determining the types of liquors and mixers you should have on hand, the first thing you should think about are the people who will normally be served by this bar.
Start by stocking your home bar with liquors and mixers that you and your friends most enjoy. As time goes on, you can always add to this list.
If you have a budget for just a few types of liquor, here are the basics you should start with—the foundation of all bars, whether at home or on the boulevard.
When just starting out, the above spirits should cover most people’s tastes and they can be used to make a variety of shots and mixed drinks. Speaking of mixed drinks, you will need to have some mixers to go with the alcohol.
For that we recommend all of the following—if your budget allows for them:
- Orange Juice
- Cranberry Juice
- Soda Water
- Grapefruit Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Tomato Juice
This is a good start in terms of liquors and mixers; just make sure you don’t forget the important garnishes, things like olives, onions, limes, lemons, oranges and so forth if you want to make cocktails.
Beer & Wine
For beer lovers, it is also important to stick to what you and your friends enjoy. Apart from that, you can select beers that are currently trending.
For example, with the increasing popularity of the IPA’s and Craft beer, having them in your home bar or kegerator can be a good addition. Staying up to date with trends is important when it comes to creating an interesting fully-stocked bar.
And don’t forget the wine. Be sure to have a nice mix of red, white and sparkling wines to appease all the wine lovers in your group. These can also be served for dinner at your next dinner party, or you could even host your own wine tasting event.
Just be sure to stick to those wines that are most preferred among the folks in your circle.
Once you determine your budget, you’ll find that there are plenty of tools that come in handy. Fortunately, you can also get started with a minimal budget by purchasing only the essential tools on our list.
By purchasing the liquors, mixers, garnishes and the essential list of tools we have provided above, you will be able to stock and operate your home or man cave bar like a true professional.