Code And Cocktails

How to Stock a Bar

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As everyone that knows me knows, I have become enamored with cocktails.

So I thought, with that amazing hubris encapsulated within the novice, I would tell you, the reader, how to stock a bar if you are new to cocktails yourself.

I’ll split this amateur’s amateur guide into the following sections:

  • The Equipment
  • The Drink
  • The Practice
  • The Expansion

The Equipment

I will start by listing the equipment you need. This will seem like a lot; but you can find some of it in ‘kits’ which will help you get started (replacing crappy items as you realize that there are better tools).

  • a jigger1
  • a shaker set. (I prefer a Boston Shaker2)
  • a strainer (such as a Hawthorne Strainer3)
  • a bar spoon4

This seems like a lot of stuff - but like I said you can find it in ‘kits’. If you can get better tools from a specialty store (such as The Boston Shaker).

The Drink

You should start with one or two drinks you like and that have only a few ingredients. For example a Manhattan or Negroni only have 3 ingredients; a Gin and Tonic only two (three if you count the lime). Pick drinks you really like because you will be making them a lot. It also helps if you pick drinks with ‘standard’ ingredients, like Gin, Vodka, Rye, Bourbon, Whisky, Campari etc. This makes it easier to buy these ingredients from your local liquor store.

The Practice

Now that you have the equipment and the ingredients; make yourself a drink – you deserve it! Then make it again, and again, and again…

As you practice, you’ll figure out how to measure (and when you don’t care about measuring), you’ll figure out how to stir or shake well, how much ice you might need etc.

The Expansion

Once you have gotten good a drink (or perhaps sick of it) look for a drink which has all the same ingredients but in different proportions; or a drink that has a different ingredient you don’t have yet.

In this way your repertoire will grow and your skill will as well.