Exclusive! Mixologist Greg Benson and Myles Carroll share five steps to become a DIY home bar pro
Every party and celebration in town has shifted home and this trend might continue for a long. Ergo, having tools to whip up cocktails is a basic requirement of any good host. But, is that all? We reached out to Greg Benson and Myles Carroll, mixologists and Dewar’s India Brand Ambassadors to help you in making your DIY home bar the most pro one possible in just five steps.
And, do read it till the end, there is a pro tip!
1. Double up your kitchen tools as a bar kit
‘Essentials’ has become the new buzzword during the lockdown, in every aspect of our lives. Embrace it for your home bar as well. It’s an absolute myth that the bar can only be set up with fancy tools. Your kitchen utensils can be utilized as a stand-in bar kit too. You can strain with a tea strainer, mix using long spoons, chop on your chopping boards, use thermos flask as your cocktail shaker and your regular peeler can fill in at the bar. Psst… we’ve also been using some of these tools at our homes during the lockdown.
2. Mixers and garnishes are all around you
You read that right. You don’t have to go on an expedition, all masked, in search of the fanciest mixers or get upset about your non-garnished cocktail. Simple every day and easily available ingredients are all around us. In fact, the street outside Greg’s apartment has both curry leaf and Jamun trees, which are great additions to long, refreshing drinks such as a double aged Dewar’s Scotch Highball. Mint and lemon are classic garnishes and easy to procure. You can also conjure up some delectable cocktails with household ingredients like tea and turmeric too!
3. Ain’t no party without ice
Remember all those people running out of ice or running around for ice in movies? Not for nothing. Don’t let that happen to your celebrations; clear, good quality ice is very important for a drink. You could also use muffin/popsicle makers as an ice tray for the Scotch on the rocks serves or even make ice in ice cream buckets. To ensure seamless ice supply, keep your ice in a thermally insulated plastic container covered - it’ll last for over four hours. Just be sure to keep refilling your ice container to keep the ice colder, more ice equals more chill. Remember, you can never have too much ice!
4. Get cracking on bar lingo
Your charm is a tool too. One can have the fanciest home bar, but it fails to hit home without the host’s charm and knowledge of the cocktail world. Familiarize yourself with some essential bar lingo, to impress folks around you. For instance, know that a “dash” is not to run off but to use very small quantities. Making drinks without measuring ingredients is a free pour, while mixing up whisky and soda in a tall glass is a classic highball. When you’re behind the bar in strict bar vocab, you’re behind the stick! Lastly, a dram is a small pour of Scotch, around an ounce to be exact.
5. Serve ‘em right
Impress your Insta gang by getting the most in colour and presentation of your cocktails. Pour the spirit over the ice to fill the glass well, showcase the label to the person being served to help them humbly brag about their drink. Your garnish is very important for first impressions and if it’s not so fresh, people won’t find the drink refreshing either. If you don’t have a bar set up, keep a dedicated console table as your bar. It’s important to place all your tools on it with the garnishes and mixers. And never ever let your drinks sit, whip them up as the requests come in. That’s not to say you can’t do some preparation work to make your service go smoothly - juice your citrus, make your syrups and get your garnish ready ahead of time. A little extra preparation before your guests arrive will go a long way to making sure everything runs smoothly. Make your serve and its surroundings appealing by placing some fresh ingredients at the bar and stacking bottles to showcase all choices.
Cheatsheet: Highball cocktails served in a tall Highball glass, make for a fantastic image.
For our loyal readers, we also have a bonus tip:
Make a signature drink:
Keep upping your cocktail game but always have a signature drink. A very simple yet delectable cocktail is the Highball – whisky, soda and a dash of lemon. You can switch up the garnish and mixers as per your preference. It’s a drink that is in vogue, so you might just end up behind the bar all night.
Get cracking, glow up your DIY home bar and pour yourself a drink, better yet one with a guest! Slàinte!