The Chicago Tribune ran an article today on How to Start a home bar.
If you are looking for equipment, Liquor.com is running a great contest that gives away all of the bar items listed below. Check them out on Facebook and you could win.
As for the article, let me save you the jump and list the 10 things, along with my recommendations -
1. Mixing glass. Literally, a glass dedicated to mixing liquid ingredients, with room for ice. A simple pint glass works best. <Ed Note- You can cheat here and use the bottom of your Boston Shaker. How important can it be if a simple pint glass can substitute? >
2. Boston shaker. It looks suspiciously like a milkshake tin. But when sealed over a pint glass, it allows you to shake with confidence drinks that require it. No need to purchase some fancy three-part strained shaker. The Boston is good enough for nearly every barkeep in the history of barkeeps, which means it's good enough for you. <Ed Note- Probably the most important non-alcohol item on here. A MUST, especially if you are a Martini man (or woman)>
3. Jigger, or measured shot glass. The majority of drink recipes call out ingredients in ounces, so you'll need something that can hold 'em. <Ed Note- Good to have, but once you get some practice, you can eyeball it>
4. Long spoon, for stirring. It'll prove useful for stirring ingredients in your mixing glass; standard flatware spoons are too short. <Ed Note- Never used one. Useless in this Dojo if you have to pay for it>
5. Strainer. The Hawthorn strainer is what you'll want to start with, as it's the easiest to handle, and works for all basic drinks. Plus, it'll only set you back a few dollars. <Ed Note- Good to have and I would suggest picking one up. Most bartender kits contain them>
6. London dry gin. Especially if you're not a connoisseur, brands such as Tanqueray and Beefeater are both palatable for drinking straight, mix well, and are affordable. – <Ed Note Quality Gin tromps affordability any day of the week. I would go with Bombay Sapphire or Hendrix.>
7. Bourbon whiskey. There are hundreds of whiskeys (and whiskys) to explore when you're ready. For now, start with a popular, affordable bourbon, such as Evan Williams. <Ed Note- Buffalo Trace would be my choice for both Pricepoint and Name Drop. Bulliet is superior and also not that much more expensive….plus the bottle looks cool behind the bar>
8. Gold rum. A nice middle ground between light and dark rums, gold (or amber) rum is universally loved. Try Flor de Cana, for starters. <Ed Note- First big Name Drop by the Trib, as a good bottle of Flor de Cana can run you up to $35. For a dark spiced rum, I would go with Blackheart and for a light, you can’t go wrong with Bacardi.>
9. Unflavored vodka. If you must, though this drinker thinks it's a waste of space. Vodka is essentially a grain-neutral spirit (straight alcohol), which is why it's virtually tasteless, and less expensive than other spirits. For unflavored vodka, Tito's is a bartender favorite. <Ed Note- I love that writer is putting prejudice in here….”If you must?”. Vodka is a staple in most mixed drinks, so to me…this is a requirement in a basic bar setup. While I agree with Tito’s, I think another choice is the little known Boru Vodka. Cheap and tasty.>
10. Mixers. Soda water, tonic water and fruit juices won't go to waste in your refrigerator. But consider stocking ginger beer, too — it does wonders with all of the above. <Ed Note- Ginger Beer? Are you serious? Lame Lame Lame. Number 10 should be a good stock tequila. Cuervo is fine, but consider the extra $$$ well spent on Patron or Cabo. Better yet, wait a few months and with Diosa is you are afraid of just straight tequila.>