As the summer heat rolls in and the thought of packing in a sweaty, crowded bar becomes less and less appealing, nothing beats an impromptu at-home cocktail hour with friends. The ability to swiftly whip up a refreshing Negroni or classic Old Fashioned from your well-stocked home bar is one of life’s more satisfying (and crowd-pleasing) feats. We consulted with the guys at the ultimate destination for masculine domesticity, TRNK, to get their tips for building out a minimal yet functional home bar. The (bourbon-soaked) cherry on top: Use the code ledbury25 to get $25 off your next purchase over $100 at TRNK NYC.
A tell-tale sign of a true gentleman’s home is a display-worthy bar. I know, I know…we all have that insatiably thirsty friend who can ravage a full stock, but that shouldn’t keep you from creating a thoughtful display. To help you get started on building a proper home bar, we’ve created a checklist of the most important essentials. And, to alleviate some of the leg work, we’ve selected a few of our favorite finds for each.
The first step is to find your fine spirits a proper home. If your budget and floor space permit, our preferred choice is a mid-century inspired bar cart, handcrafted from walnut and brass. Few objects signify sartorialism as well as this showpiece, but if a bar cart is not yet in the cards, a simple serving tray atop your counter or credenza is a suitable alternative. Reserve a spot for your favorite spirits, while finding a place in the cupboard for the rest of your collection.
Crafting proper drinks is a science in its own right, so be sure you’re equipped with a proper set of tools. If you’re building your bar set from scratch, start with the most essential – a shaker, strainer, jigger, stirrer and a mixing glass. Some recipes may call for other odd gizmos and gadgets, but in most cases, you can improvise the rest from something you already own.
We recently came across a superb set, made in Japan by a purveyor of professional-grade bar tools. Classic and well-crafted, they’ll look super sleek atop your bar cart or tray, and if properly cared for, these should be the last set of tools you’ll ever need to own.
For your first set of cocktail glasses, we recommend avoiding stems in favor of something more versatile and durable – like a set of lowball or whiskey glasses. They’ll suit most all beverages just fine, as you work toward the full range of glassware, from snifters to shot glasses. Don’t get hung up on the name or supposed purpose – we can assure you that your martini won’t be able to tell a difference.
But if you are ready to build our your portfolio of bar glasses, consult TRNK’s Guide to Glassware for our take on the five most essential.
Last but not least, the libations! This part will naturally evolve with time, but make sure you have the full set of ingredients for at least one proper cocktail. Our go-to drink is simple and sweet – the negroni. Equal parts Gin, Campari and Vermouth – stirred, not shaken – garnished with a twist of orange, et voilà!
Words by Nick Nemechek. A big thanks to Tariq Dixon at TRNK for sharing their booze know-how with us.