Ways to Make Your Bar at Home Classy AF …
The home bar is the epicenter of every casual fete, dinner party, or Mario Kart tournament you will ever throw. To cement your status as the host with the most, you can’t rely on a mini fridge filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon and half-melted ice cubes. That ain’t classy. The evolution from IKEA drink cart to full-fledged, snazzy, sophisticated home bar is all about the details. You can’t create class out of thin air, nor can you throw together a bunch of shoddy booze, mediocre mixers, and fancy toothpick skewers and call it a bar. You’re going to need a little more than that if you truly want your home bar to look classy AF.
We Drink with Our Eyes First
Foodies and chefs insist we feast with our eyes first, so it stands to reason that we begin the fun-filled process of getting weekend-wasted with our eyes, as well. Your home bar requires storage. You need shelving or furniture that holds all of your top-shelf liquor, glasses, and accessories, and displays it, as well.
Whether you put up shelves or snag a glass-fronted cabinet, carefully choose the items you showcase. Make your display eye-catching by putting out high-quality booze, interesting bottles, unique decanters, and sleek glasses. To keep things looking exceptionally classy, go for a minimalist approach or introduce a stark, monochromatic color scheme, i.e. display only bottles with black and white labels.
Stick to Top Shelf Spirits
The last thing you want is to earn a reputation as a skinflint among your friends. Invite your buddies to belly up to your home bar and serve them the cheap stuff—within the week, you’ll start hearing rumors about your miserly ways. No one’s going to come over just to drink bottom-shelf swill.
This is your bar. Stock it with liquor you want to drink. Invest in a smooth rye bourbon with a gorgeous color. Get your hands on a stellar single-malt scotch. Display a bottle of authentic, stunning chartreuse and show off how effortlessly cool you are—just don’t forget the sugar cubes. Feel free to include mid-level brands, as well. They have their place—usually in a mixed drink.
Speaking of mixers, however, don’t waste space on sickeningly sweet mixes that no one wants. Coke, Red Bull, and grenadine don’t have a place in a classy AF bar because they’re not particularly classy. If someone’s jonesing for vodka and Red Bull or rum and Coke, they can either bring their own or take a trip to your main fridge. You only need to stock seltzer or soda water, and perhaps a small bottle of cranberry juice.
Accessorize Your Alcohol
Your bar accessories serve two purposes: to enhance the drinking experience and to enhance the appearance of the drinks. Instead of using regular ice cubes, you could either buy a few large, round ice molds or opt for preserving the integrity of your drinks by eschewing ice altogether. Stones and rocks keep drinks cool without watering them down. Spherical steel balls, once chilled, do the same thing. Stone coasters, which you can also chill, allow beer bottles and other drinks to maintain their temperature while protecting your furniture. Win/win!
As for your glasses, don’t skimp. You aren’t putting forth this much effort just to serve cocktails in mismatched glassware. This isn’t the place for juice glasses or Mason jars. Save that for Pinterest. Invest in quality highball glasses, tumblers, wine glasses, and shot glasses. In the case of cocktail glasses and whiskey tumblers, you can often find glassware that includes a cooling stone in the bottom of the glass, thus killing two birds with one … stone.
Serve a Signature Drink
The last step in transforming your bar from trashy to classy AF is to pick the perfect signature drink for your home hotspot, something you can make for visitors who don’t know what they want. To create an atmosphere of high class and sophistication, it’s best if you cherry-pick recipes that were popular in bygone eras. Avoid the appletinis, the Cosmopolitans, and the endless hipster “updates” on classic drinks.
Think Mad Men. Think James Bond. Think thick smoke, men wearing hats, and tough-talking women with plenty of guff. Since your classy bar deserves a classy drink, err on the side of traditional. You can’t go wrong with gin and tonic or bourbon and bitters. A martini is always a marvelous pick, and a sidecar is just this side of sweet. You know what will keep your guests coming back, though? A classic Old Fashioned, which is simplicity itself. Pour your smoothest whiskey, then add a lump of sugar, an ice cube, bitters, a little water, and the garnish of your choice. Cherries are popular, but a lemon peel provides the perfect hint of tartness.
You can’t throw a bunch of sleek furniture in the corner and call it a classy bar. It doesn’t work that way. An eye for design is certainly helpful, but when it comes to your bar, it’s all about the details—and the booze, of course.
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