Design Your Own Home Bar

How to build your own bar at home.

Wouldn't it be great if you could have your own bar... not necessarily a large one, but one that's just big enough for your house or apartment? You could keep it stocked with all of the good stuff, and be ready no matter what came up. Unless, of course, you weren't really prepared because you didn't think things through... but that wouldn't happen. Would it?

Relax... having your own home bar doesn't have to be nothing more than a dream. All that it takes is a little consideration of what you have and what you need, and you'll be serving drinks with the best of them.

First of all, look at the amount of space that you have. Do you have room for a large bar, or do you need something smaller? If you don't have a lot of room, you might want to consider a portable bar... one that's on wheels or casters so that it can be rolled into the room when you're getting ready to have company, and can be rolled out (or at least up against the wall, where it can double for table space) once everyone's gone and you no longer need it.

Once you've determined how much room you have for your bar, think for a moment about what you want to do with it. Do you want to make it a fully-functional bar, complete with ice, refrigeration, and a sink? You'll need enough room to put in a small refrigerator, possibly with a separate freezer, as well as an electrical hookup and plumbing for the sink. If that's a bit much for you, then you can always leave out the refrigerator and freezer, and keep a cooler or two under the bar instead. Two would be best, since then you could keep some iced-down drinks separate from the ice that you'll be serving. If you really want a sink but don't have the plumbing hookups that you need, you might want to use the bar on wheels idea and park it in front of the kitchen door... that way, you'll have access to both the refrigerator and the sink, and it'll keep folks from wandering in and out of your kitchen at the same time.

You also need to take a bit of consideration when it comes to stocking your bar. While top-shelf drinks can sound nice, they can also get a bit expensive... especially if you're going to have a lot of people over on a regular basis. If it's just going to be you or maybe a few friends making use of the bar, then go for it... if you're going to have a lot of people over, then you might want to either consider a bar-stocking party (where everybody brings a bottle and you keep what's left at the end of the night) or go with some of the stuff that's a bit cheaper with a few high-class items thrown in. This is especially useful if you're going to be serving up a lot of mixed drinks... after all, the taste will be lost in the flavors of the drink a bit anyway, so why not save a dollar or two?

A final consideration is that when stocking the bar, you'll likely need a few fresh ingredients such as lemons and limes. You can buy juice from concentrate, though the taste often isn't quite the same... but if you decide to go with fresh fruit, don't buy much of it in advance. Fruit will go bad, and you won't use a lot of it unless you're planning on a lot of tequila shots. Instead, buy fruit the day of the party and save what's left until it starts to go soft.

Best of luck with your bar... just remember to think things through before you get more than you can handle.

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