Creating and Stocking a Perfect Home Bar

Liquor bottles AP

Want to put together a perfect bar in your home - bar none?

Food & Wine magazine Wine Editor Ray Isle says it's not hard - and it doesn't have to be expensive.

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Isle offered pointers on creating and stocking it.

He also gave the recipe for a drink he expects to be real hot this summer!

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CREATE AND STOCK AN AT-HOME BAR?

It's very easy to stock your own bar, if you follow some basic guidelines. You don't need anything special or out of the ordinary. You can purchase most of the items you need at the local grocery store.

WHAT ABOUT THE COST?

We're talking about a couple of hundred bucks for everything, but you can save money in the long-run by not going out to drink as much. For bat tools, you can save money by using substitute kitchen utensils. For instance, instead of buying a channel knife, you can use your vegetable peeler for lemon or lime twists, etc.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR A REAL BAR, ARE THERE ANY SUBSTITUTES?

Yes. You don't need a built-in bar. You can use a nice tray, a side board, even a cart with wheels. You can set up a bar anywhere. It depends on the design of your home.

LIQUOR

You need a few basics: gin, vodka, tequila, rum, and whisky. I recommend a single malt scotch and bourbon.

Strong spirits last seemingly forever. Vermouth is a wine-based product, though, and ought to be kept in the fridge.

MIXERS

You need both Sweet and Dry Vermouth, you need Angostura bitters, Triple Sec (for margaritas) and some Campari. You use these mixers for mixed drinks. Most mixed drinks have one spirit, one mixer and some garnish.

JUICES AND SODAS?

You should have club soda, tonic water and juices on hand (orange, cranberry and grapefruit). Also make sure you have lots of ice.

BEER, WINE, AND SOFT DRINKS -- HOW MUCH OF EACH SHOULD YOU HAVE ON HAND?

It mostly depends on how many people you're entertaining. Always have non-alcoholic drinks for kids and people who don't drink. Have at least one red and one white wine at-the-ready, and have a six pack of beer for people who don't like hard liquor. A small refrigerator is a great idea for your bar, but you can also keep everything in your kitchen fridge.

ESSENTIAL TOOLS

1. A shaker: Cobbler shaker (a lot easier to use than a Boston shaker)
2. A corkscrew
3. Money-Saving Alert: You need a muddler, a spoon, a stirrer. But to save money, head to the kitchen. The end of a wooden spoon makes a great muddler. I also will use a chopstick in place of a bar spoon for stirring.
4. A juicer: If you don't have a juicer, you can just squeeze it by hand. If your lemons or limes are at room temp, you'll get more juice out of them. Fresh juice is KEY!
5. Glassware: Martini glasses, rocks glasses, highball glasses
6. Vegetable peeler (for twists etc; you could buy a channel knife, but why not just use a vegetable peeler? Oxo's is great.)
7. Jigger (or shot glass with measurements)
8. Hawthorne Strainer (useful)
9. Flexible 'perfect cube' ice trays (from Sur La Table)

YOU SHOW HOW TO MAKE A NEGRONI -- WHY THIS DRINK?

The Negroni is a classic drink. It's not as well-known as some others, but it's one of the great classics of all time. It's also a great summer drink -- when you want drinks that are less heavy and crisp. Bonus: It's really simple to make.

WHAT DOES IT GO BEST WITH?

Bar snacks -- Salted peanuts, pretzels, etc. Also a little prosciutto would also go well, since the Negroni is an Italian drink.

RECIPE: NEGRONI

1. Fill rocks glass with ice
2. In shaker: combine 1 and 1-third ounces of gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, Two-thirds ounce of Campari
3. Stain into glass
4. Garnish with an orange wheel
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