Setup your Home Bar Like a Pro - Part 2

This article originally appeared on Man-gazine.

Now that we have a strong foundation for your bar, step two is to avoid the mistakes of stocking your bar with the wrong sizes and styles of liquor. The goal of this article is to make sure you have everything you need to make the bar as efficient as possible.

The first mistake people make is that they will want to buy “handles” (1.75ltrs) of liquor bottles, because it’s cheaper than the smaller bottles (.750ltrs). Well it might be true that there’s a very small price difference, but a handle is not something you want in your bar. Handles are good for house parties, or if you know you’re going to make 45 gallons of jungle juice. This is your bar, and like San Diego, you want it to stay classy. A 1.75 liter bottle looks very tacky, and is an eye sore. You also cannot put a pour spout on a handle, which might lead to over pours and spills. If you pour so much alcohol that your guests find your cocktails undrinkable, you’ll have to throw it out and that’s just wasteful. Stick with a normal size bottle you can put a pour spout on.

On the other hand, when it comes to certain types of liquors, such as triple sec, blue curacao, or crème de mint, it’s best to buy a smaller bottle at first, to see how much you’ll use. One of the biggest mistakes you’ll make once you break open your cocktail book is wanting to make all of those wonderful drinks, which will need specific liquors for them. You’ll find you won’t use these liquors for any other drinks.  You will have unutilized bottles that will end up in the deepest darkest corner of your bar (just like your fear of clowns). So, unless you know you are going to be drinking margaritas, sour apple martini’s, or a blue Hawaiians, hold back on heavily stocking side kick liquors.

You may not notice, but there's a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue in this picture. 

You may not notice, but there's a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue in this picture. 

So you’ve been gifted a bottle of Patron Platinum, or you wanted to splurge and pick up a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. Or, maybe a bottle of Balvenie 21 falls off the back of a truck and you’re lucky enough to rescue the lost, little guy. I’m here to tell you HIDE THE GOOD STUFF! There is no bigger crime in the bar then mixing something that’s smooth and elegant of the caliber of, let’s say, Johnny Walker Blue with Diet Coke. It would be like ordering a filet mignon well done then smothering ketchup all over it. You don’t want a drunk friend to pour a quarter of your bottle into a red solo cup filled with Dr. Pepper. While your friends are free to partake in anything you have behind the bar there is nothing wrong with letting them know some things are off limits. Also, you save the good stuff for special occasions. Nothing will make your friends feel better than when you break out your private stash for that special occasion. (Birthdays, Weddings, Non-Guilty verdicts).  You can make that moment a little bit more special by sharing it over a really good glass of Scotch.

It’s your typical NFL Sunday. Everyone is coming over to your place the entire season, because you are the cool guy with the bar in the house. After a few weeks, you’re starting to run low. There is nothing wrong with asking your friends to bring a bottle of their favorite liquor to replenish your bar. You should not really have to ask in the first place, but your class of friends will be for another article. This allows you to reload on the essentials, but also gives you a chance to expand what your bar has to offer.

Quick Story, at a yearly Hollywood party someone brought a bottle of baijou (a Chinese liquor) it quickly became known as the “Bottle of Red Death”. I can only describe it as drinking rotting flesh infused with rose petals. It was so bad that anybody that came over to parties had to take a shot of it; it was a rite of passage. We were really sad after we finished the bottle; It was a bonding experience.

All of this, because someone brought something unique to share at a party. In addition, requesting your friends help stock, will allow them to put their stamp on your bar. Everyone gets excited when they get to introduce you to something new you may never had before. There’s a sense of pride in it. Plus, FREE BOOZE.

Lastly, if you stock your bar with plastic bottles of liquors . . . I will roll up a newspaper and slap you on the nose. Now walk away from this article, count to 10 and then come back. Game Over, Man. You have failed this city.

This concludes our guidelines of how to stock your bar. Next time we will be talking about what types of liquors you need to have on hand. Until then, party on Wayne.

You can reach Joey by email
Main photo via Home Stratosphere