Summer is the time for cocktails and dinner parties, and now that we can host more gatherings again, putting your home bar in order is essential. If you’re like me, your home bar has been a vital resource during the pandemic, and the odds are good it has gotten a bit unwieldy during your 15-month social hiatus. Now is the time to declutter, reposition, and reorganize your liquor for proper entertaining. Here’s how to get your home bar ready for your next house party.
Declutter your existing home bar
Take inventory of the liquor you currently have in your home bar. Everyone has that bottle of whiskey or mixer they haven’t used in years Get rid of any items you never use, so you can start fresh. What should you keep? Cocktail site Saucey advises you “start slow” with just three or four bottles of your favorite liquor. You can always add more variety when you plan a get-together and can consider the varied tastes of your guests. Also, it’s worth eyeing your glassware and accessories. If you never touched that red wine aerator, give it to someone who will put it to good use, and free up space for a shaker, a strainer, or a muddler.
Bar tools you should own and where to put them
Speaking of which, every truly functional home bar requires a few bespoke tools: Stirrers, a bar key or bottle opener, cocktail shakers, a corkscrew, and other essentials. Saucey also recommends a muddler, a jigger, a small cutting board, and a good knife. If you want to go the extra mile, consider the bar items below.
- A blender
- A red wine bottle aerator
- An electric corkscrew
- Wine bottle stoppers
- A citrus press to easily make fresh juices
Even if you are not a professional bartender, you can impress your friends with the appropriate accouterment. And once your bar is well equipped, you’ll need to organize it for fun and functionality. If you have a smaller bar in a corner of your home, buy bins with dividers to give everything a place of its own. Home decor site Urban Simplicity recommends putting everything into designated zones. Keep like liquors together, and next to their corresponding mixers. Openers, shakers, and jiggers go together in an area of the bar with enough room for mixing. Coasters, napkins, and straws belong toward the most open area for easier serving.
Position your bar for proper flow
Where you locate your bar will determine the interactions you’ll have with your guests. If you stock it in a corner, it won’t be the focal point, but nor will serving would be ideal. If you’re being creative with your style of bar, set it up on a kitchen island where people often congregate. House Beautiful offers suggestions for a variety of unique home bars, including a stand-alone cabinet you can place anywhere. If your bar is in something portable like a chest, put it in a central area where visitors will feel most comfortable hanging out.
If you have the space for a more traditional bar, consider an island-style open-ended setup rather than a club-style L-shaped bar. Food and Drink site Serious Eats explains an L-shaped bar can make it difficult to mix a drink and socialize at the same time. An island bar allows easy access from any side of the bar, making for optimal interaction with your guests.