What makes a Bar a Bar Part 1
I remember the first time that we engaged our first mixologist at Mimiskdo and there were LOTS of questions. We had explained we needed someone to create a program for us where we could teach our friends how to make cocktail creations while having a fun party where we consumed cocktails at the same time. We explained that we had a real bar in the house and she kept pinging us with the questions like "Do you have setups," "Do you have mixers," "Do you have the correct glassware," etc., etc., etc. We answered everything with a solid "yes" but until she arrived at Mimiskdo, her questions were never really satisfied because as she told us, everyone thinks they have a bar setup in their home. The truth is, everyone does kind of have a bar setup in their house but some people just go over the top.
So with that in mind, what really do you need to have a "bar setup" in your home bar. We had the advantage of being affiliated with a giant wholesale liquor company and getting out and about to many places so we learned from experience through observation. We also continue to watch our mixology team as they work our parties so we can see what the preferences are for each of them. I finally learned how to cut lemons and limes from observing.
Turns out, you can be as complex or as simple as you want. We decided to head towards the complex side by securing not only drink enhancers but also the equipment to make creating wonderful cocktails easy. The basics on the hardware include: a fruit tray, shakers, strainers in varying sizes, a jigger for measuring, a mashing device either in wood or metal, a fruit peeler, small squirt bottles and small misters for augmenting cocktails, stir spoons in varying sizes and even bar mats. From the bitters side, we buy the two basic bitters which are Angostura Aromatic Bitter and Peychaud's bitters. We compliment that with various bitter flavors we find at cocktail shows as well as picking up on some of the more popular flavors as we go out.
We'll cover the mixers in part two of this since we need to get into what you should put in the fruit tray as well as what sort of mixers are the most common ones that your friends and guests ask for. In the meantime, shop around in the bitters sections at your favorite store or liquor store and you can find barware online or at stores like Cost Plus/World Market and Bed Bath and Beyond. It has always been more fun for me to touch the barware rather than just order it on line.