5 Tips For Setting Up Your Own Home Bar

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Downtown Market

Setting Up Your Home Bar

Nothing can cure the blues of the end of the summer like learning a new skill. And I would argue that no skill is quite as useful as learning how to make yourself a cocktail. Chasing the fall chill away with a perfectly balanced Manhattan or shaking your recently canned jams into your own signature cocktail can quickly make you forget the since-gone summer breezes and the inevitable snow drifts that are sure to come. But where do you start and what do you need? Below are a few tips that I found useful when I began: 

1. Start with what you know.

It might not seem like it, but you already know something about making a cocktail, even if what you know is that you love gin and tonics and you hate margaritas. When setting up your home bar, make sure you are buying the spirits and mixers that you already know you like.

2. Begin with one spirit at a time.

Not all gins are the same, and there is a world of differences (literally) between each one. Work your way through your bottles, by trying different recipes and proportions with each to find out what you like.

3. Use the tools that make you feel good.

My dad was a mechanic. We had a 3 stall, 2 story garage and he didn’t mind if we used his tools, but you better believe they went back where we found them and they were never left unorganized. From this I learned that to get a job done efficiently, you need the right tools and to know how to use them. When setting up your home bar, get the right tools, learn how to use them, and I guarantee your cocktails will taste better.

4. Measure and Record.

Use a jigger (or anything that allows you to measure what you are putting in your cocktails) and write down what you are using. This will allow you to learn what you like and learn about balancing flavors in a cocktail.

5. Take your time.

Think of setting up your home bar in the same way as stocking your kitchen. If you take your time, gradually adding new spirits and equipment rather than trying to buy everything at once, you will end up with a work space, ingredients and equipment that allow you get maximum efficiency. Give yourself the space to learn about making the types of cocktails you like and then you will be better informed on what you need. 

Those are my five most helpful tips for anybody who is looking to start setting up their own home bar. It's not as daunting as it may seem, but if you ever feel like you need some help, just come and visit us. We frequently host a "Setting Up Your Home Bar" class in our teaching kitchen where we have fun making awesome cocktails and teach you everything you need to know about creating the perfect home bar. 


- Jenney Grant, Director of Culinary & Beverage

Jenney Grant


Have any specific problems with creating your own home bar? Any tips you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below!