If you host guests at your home for a night of drinks you have a few options… First, you could take the easy way out and serve only beer and coolers. Most people will have no problem with this. After all, a free drink is a free drink. However, beer and coolers don’t impress. The second option is to try and be a bartender and fail miserably. We don’t want that. The third option is the best one: use a few simple tips and tricks to become the best home bartender you can be!
Play The Part
First, before we get into the actual tips and tricks, it’s important to know how to play the part. To be a mixologist you must use the tools of a mixologist. You don’t need to go out and blow your whole pay cheque on gear for your home bar but you do want to have some of the essentials. Get a cocktail shaker, some nice glassware, a muddler, a bar spoon, and a strainer. These are all easy to find and use but they can make you look like a pro. BG Reynolds' favorite is this Ubertools Barternder's roll. Some of the tools are very unique, but incredible useful.
Keep a Well-Stocked Bar
Again, you don’t need to go out and spend your entire pay cheque on liquor and mixers. However, you should have some of the basic stock that allows you to make a wide range of drinks. Do you need 3 different types of premium scotch to appeal to each individual taste preference? No. Make sure you have the essentials like Vodka, Rum, Gin, Tequila, and Whiskey. Get some syrups and mixers that can be incorporated into several different recipes. Ginger and citrus flavors are used in a lot of drink recipes so they will definitely be handy to have around.
Do The Prep Work
Part of being a great mixologist is being a good host. Good hosts don’t spend half the night behind the bar chopping limes. Do your prep work before your guests arrive. If you want fresh citrus juice then squeeze the lemons early. If you want to garnish your drinks then chop your garnish early. If you want to serve Bloody Marys with a hamburger slider on a stick then cook those sliders a few minutes before your guests arrive. Your friends and family are coming over to hang out with you so don’t let your dreams of being Tom Cruise in Cocktail get in the way of entertaining your guests. When in doubt - keep things simple.
Get A Book
If we’re being honest; you can only learn so much from a blog post. Get a cocktail recipe book and keep it behind your bar. If someone asks for a drink you have never heard of, just flip open the book and start mixing. Another fun game is to randomly pick and page and make the drink you land on. You don’t need to memorize every drink that anyone has ever ordered. Just have a good recipe book handy and consult it when you need to. One of our favorites is The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, it'll have you whipping up your own masterful drinks faster than you can say Oleo Saccharum.
Become The Master of the Bar
Most people don’t put much effort into being a great mixologist at home. The fact you’re even reading this means you are probably better than 80% of wannabe mixologists. Have fun, always keep learning, and be a great host - that’s all you need to be a great mixologist!