A great advantage of healthy narcissism is an abundant supply of source material for writing. I'm sure that as we move forward, I'll discuss some of the various forces that drove me to start The Drinkist project. Today, I'd like to share one of the most recent. Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of winning a contest sponsored by the good folks at BDI Furniture and The Tales of the Cocktail. They asked contestants to submit a few words on "What makes a great home bar?" My entry was enough to bring home the BDI Corridor Bar pictured. You can find the announcement in its entirety here.
If you don't want to click through, I'll sneak my two cents in here:
Greatness in a home bar flows from two sources: First, the bar should be surrounded by great people. Even if the only offering is a cut-rate vodka with flat tonic water, great conversations and camaraderie make for the best of bars. Second, it should meet the needs of the household. For some, a bottle or two of chardonnay will easily meet the desires of the residents and most any guests – especially the ones most welcome. For others, a couple of white liquors alongside 10 or so interesting bourbons chosen to meet a range of moods are just the thing. For others still, nothing will do short of a sampling of rum from every producing nation (and several U.S. states), pot- and continuous-stilled Scotches from each of the major producing regions (in a variety of ages, of course), a small cave of wine vintages, a catalog of liqueurs, a brigade of gins, an ad agency worth of vodkas, and a host of additional liquors (don’t forget the koomis because sometimes fermented mare’s milk adds le goût juste).
I can’t help you much with the first source. If you don’t know anyone you’d like to drink with, you need help outside my expertise, but I’ll suggest you either get some new friends or get up to speed fast on the difference between good drinking-alone (for example, sipping a Cognac while listening to Chopin and reading Proust, in a smoking jacket if at all possible) and bad drinking-alone (for example chugging your sixth malt liquor at 3 in the morning while looking through your high school yearbook and wondering where the hell it all went into the toilet, knowing full well it was Janice – you should never have married her, but you were young and she was gorgeous and it all seemed so right until she took off with that hotshot lawyer…and where’s that bottle of painkillers you lied to the doctor to get?…Um, never mind. Bad example.).
On the second source, maybe a little moderation is in order. Obviously, stock with what you like to drink, the tools that requires and the glasses to serve it in. If you’re likely to have guests, give a little thought to what they like if you know and something generic if not. For a nicely stocked home bar, I’d think that means a representative from the major liquors: gin, vodka, rum (a dark and a light if you have the budget and you probably do), tequila and whiskey (your favorite and, if the budget allows, one from another class – bourbon if you like Scotch and vice versa). Throw in a red wine and a white wine and keep at least one type of beer lingering around. For good measure, toss in an orange liqueur like triple sec and one or two “exotics” (I always have Maraschino liqueur and pimento dram) along with a bottle or two of bitters. Pour liberally and enjoy each sip.
By the way, it's a great piece of furniture, so if you're in the market, check it out. Even if you're not in the market, you might enjoy their video. I haven't figured out how to enable the levitation feature on mine yet, but I try every time I get a few cocktails in me.
Photo: BDI Corridor Bar in action
Photo Credit: Steve Morgan