How to set up your own wetbar

How to set up your own wetbar

Whether you entertain often or you just like to sit back and enjoy a quiet drink now and then, a wet bar in your home is a great asset; and depending upon how much money you have to spend, it can be as elaborate as a disco bar, or one hidden behind a locked cabinet.

Before you begin stocking the wet stuff, you’ll need glassware to drink from and measuring instruments to mix with. If you’re on a budget, most discount department stores sell bar sets in their housewares department. For glasses, you will need several different sizes and can buy them separately or in the sets. You will need a minimum of four each 12-oz. beer glasses, 6-8 oz. highball glasses, and 4-oz. rocks glasses. Next, you should have some stemmed brandy snifters, which can be small or hold up to 12 ounces.

Of course, wine glasses are a must, and there are glasses for wine in various sizes and shapes. There are glasses for white wines and glasses for red wines, but they are not a necessity for someone on a budget. Of course, champagne glasses are a nice touch – tall, slim, and short-stemmed, they’re also known as flutes. It’s fun buying bar glasses, and they come in all colors as well as clear. If you’re truly on a budget, you can always pick up some nice glasses at flea markets and garage sales.

When you think you have enough glasses, you will need to purchase some mixing equipment. Cocktail shakers with the cover for draining office are wonderful. A blender just for the bar is also a nice touch. There are various types of corkscrews to open the wine, and if you are truly a connoisseur you can purchase a wine “key.” Shot glasses come in all shapes and descriptions, and many people buy them as souvenirs when on vacation. Of course, you’ll need stirring spoons, knives to cut your lemon and lime wedges, bar towels, napkins, and stir sticks.

If you are truly into wine but don’t have a lot of space, you can purchase a wine rack that hangs overhead and store your bottles of wine on their sides in the rack. Some wine is best served at room temperature, but some need to be chilled. You’ll have to study the labels to see where to store it.

In addition to wine, you need to have the “staple’ alcohols: whiskey and/or bourbon, vodka, Scotch, gin, tequila and rum, and the mainstays. If you want to get fancy, there are the liqueurs – Drambuie, assorted flavors of schnapps, cognac, crΓ¨me de cacao – just visit a liquor store and see all the things you could buy. The list is endless.

Bitters should be on hand for those wanting an Old Fashioned. And don’t forget some fruit – oranges, lemons, and limes. Of course, then there are maraschino cherries, hot sauce, salt for margaritas, and various spices, depending on the drinks you like to make. Don’t forget the Worcestershire sauce for your Bloody Mary’s.

Beer kegs are fun, but they involve a lot of work. And whether or not to install a keg inside a cooler depends on the number of people drinking beer at your home. Unless you go through several cases of beer a week, a keg may be a waste of money, even though it’s fun to have one. Lines must be cleaned, the beer can go flat, and unless you’re partying constantly, you’d be better off with a few cases of assorted kinds. Having an extra refrigerator to store the beer and mixers is also a plus.

If you truly want to get into the spirit of having your own wet bar, get several cookbooks and bar guides to teach you how to make the best drink you can. As you read through the books, you’ll find other things you’ll need to purchase in addition to what is listed – celery stalks look good poking out of a Bloody Mary. Cinnamon sticks are festive in hot buttered rum, and orange wedges look nice in an Old Fashioned. Then there are the fancy little umbrellas for tropical drinks, and olives for martinis. The list could go on and on.

Its fun putting together a wet bar. Start out small and work your way up. If you’re on a budget, add a little more each year. The most important thing to remember, however, is to be a pleasant host. No one will visit even the best-stocked bar if the bartender is miserable. Enjoy hosting, and remember to drink responsibly, and never let guests leave your home inebriated.

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