Industry News

What Makes A Great Home Bar?

chocolate-stained BDI home bar with its doors open, filled with a variety of spirits.
Stephen D. Morgan's brand-new BDI Corridor Home Bar, stocked with his take on home-bar perfection.

Back in February, we posed this simple question, with a BDI Corridor Home Bar offered as a prize for the best answer. Almost immediately, responses began to flood in, with answers ranging from poetry, to lengthy paragraphs, to simple lists of ingredients. While every response was unique, all of them left the impression that the “perfect” home bar depends on the person. Some people will be content with a few basic spirits and friends to share them with, while others don’t consider their home bar complete without antique glassware sets and Japanese bar tools. Clearly, there is no one definition of “perfect,” which, to be honest, is how it should be. After all, a home bar is a place to express yourself, not to live up to some abstract definition of perfection. That being said, though, one response sent in stood out from the rest. With his dry sense of humor and blunt delivery, Stephen D. Morgan shows us that “perfection” all hinges on who you are as a person, while still delivering insight on what a perfect home bar means to him:

“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.”

For his answer, Stephen received a brand-new BDI Corridor Home Bar that he can fill with as many bottles of koomis as he can buy. Congratulations, Stephen!

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