Set up your bar at home with these handy tips
Tipple dens might be shuttered down but that doesn’t mean the clink of the glasses should stop. If you cannot go to the bar, get the bar at home! Yes, you heard us right. Set up your own bar, be your own bartender and trash the ‘dry-day’ non-sense. Evonne Eadie, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador is here to guide you.
It is best to have an option of white and dark spirits so my top choices would be Gin and Scotch. A classic London Dry Gin like Tanqueray or Gordon's are your best choices as these are the most traditional in terms of flavour and it is this style that is most often called upon in cocktail recipes.
For the Scotch, I would choose a blend like Johnnie Walker Black Label, to begin with. There is a reason it is the world's most loved blended Scotch, and it is versatile to work in cocktails, mixed drinks and neat. All Johnnie Walker has been bottled in Scotland and imported into India, but there are options that have been bottled in India too. A brand like Black Dog is a great choice as it provides a rich, rounded flavour that is ideal for mixing. I would then add a single malt to the home bar. An approachable Speyside malt like Singleton of Glendullan is perfect for those new to whisky, then a malt with some sweet peat-like Talisker would bring in new flavours for those looking to explore the category further.
If someone is an avid vodka drinker, then I would recommend Ketel One as it is a fuller flavour vodka that lends itself well to cocktails.
Cocktails work on balance, so you need an element of sweetness and an element of acidity or bitterness to have your creations tasting delicious. Stock sugar syrup or honey and some lemon to balance out that sweetness.
Other things I use regularly in cocktails are bitters, egg white (or the vegan aquafaba) citrus peels, vermouth, fresh juices and herbs and tea.
Must have bar accessories
Something to shake with - it needs to be watertight and have a bit of height so you can get the liquid moving in it.
Something to measure with - you need to know how many MLS it is so you can follow recipes. An egg cup is perfect, but try to work out how much liquid it holds. Most cocktail recipes call for 15ml, 30ml and 60ml measures of ingredients.
Something to strain with - This will need to hold back the ice and other large ingredients when you pour into your serving glass.
Must have glassware
A rocks glass - this has a heavy base and is perfect for drinks like an Old Fashioned
A highball glass - This is tall and allows for a lot of ice keeping your carbonated drinks chilled and effervescent
A cocktail/martini/coupe glass - this has a stem so your hands are not touching the bowl of the glass which can cause the drink to heat up faster than is desired
A wine glass - again, the stem allows your hands to avoid touching the bowl which will keep the drink colder and has space for adding ice and garnish. The curve of the glass also concentrates aromatics so you have a burst of fragrance as you sip.