Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Supplies Do I Need?

Posted on the AOTD Forum by DanTheMan:

Q - I am thinking of putting together a small home bar. I am looking to invest in a shaker set, and there seem to be quite a few options. I can go 16oz, 18oz or 28oz. Which would be my best choice?

Also, what tools would you say are essential for someone just starting their bar?

A - My go-to shaker setup is a stainless steel 28 oz. tin (available at any restaurant supply store or online at sites like Instawares for under $3) paired with a standard 16 oz. pint glass (about $1) and a 4-prong stainless bar strainer (under $2). Since the whole setup costs less than six bucks, I usually keep two sets in the house for parties and one in the car just to be sure I have quality tools if called upon to bartend at someone else's place (which will happen all the time once people know you mix). Avoid consumer sets like those sold at Linens-N-Things, Target, etc., as they're way overpriced and just don't work as well.

Beyond that, all you really need is a bag of pour spouts (also available online or at a restaurant supply store for about $12) and lots of hand towels and you're good to go. If you want to get more complicated, I'd add a muddler (splurge a bit here and get the VIVA! Stick from New York Bar Store -- at $10 it's the best muddler I've ever used), a twister (for making citrus twists properly, under $10), and a 3.25" x 24" drink mat ($9). The next level would add a set of Store-N-Pour containers for juices, a glass rimmer for salting glasses, a bar caddy to hold cocktail napkins/straws/stirrers, and a garnish tray. Anything beyond that and you're basically opening a restaurant!

One thing people do tend to overlook when they're setting up a home bar is glassware, and ironically it's probably the most important element. Be sure to a have a good selection of commercial-quality glasses in all the standard service sizes: pint, white wine (for home use you can serve both red and white in these), highball, and martini glasses are the minimum. From there, you can add red wine glasses, champagne flutes, rocks, and cordial glasses. Again, I'd go to a restaurant supply store or online site like Instawares. If you plan on hosting a lot of parties, just buy a case of each and keep the boxes to store the glassware in a closet or garage when you're not using them.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

1 comment:

Carsten said...

That was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

1000 thanks for the info I really needed :) I see I got the most of it, but unfortunately I live in Denmark, and apparently it's a bit harder to find the gear you need at such low prices as in the US :(

But oh well, I can allways try :)