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How To Set Up A Home Bar


To celebrate the launch of her new book, Adrienne Stillman is on hand to share some of her best tips on how to set up your own home bar. Adrienne is the author of Spirited: Cocktails From Around The World - a remarkable exploration of the world through cocktails, featuring 610 cocktail recipes from six continents and 60 countries, spanning 500 years of cocktail-making. 


If you're planning your New Year's Eve party celebrations and want to add a little flair to proceedings – and we don't mean the juggling kind, although if you can do that even better – read on to discover Adrienne's step by step guide to setting up your own home bar. 



Dear Cocktail Lover,


If ever we needed a good, stiff drink, 2020 is the year. To help you survive the upcoming holiday season and new year with a stylish - and delicious - cocktail in hand, here are a few tips to get you started on setting up your own home bar.


Tip One


First, start with a few great bottles of your choice.


Why not try Fortnum's White Rum, Fortnum's English Barley Vodka or Fortnum's Dry Gin - perfect starting points for a great cocktail.



Tip Two


Second, make sure you have a few basic ingredients like lemons, bitters and sugar in your pantry. 


Fancy equipment is not strictly necessary but is encouraged. Start with a simple set of shaking tins, a jigger and strainer. In a pinch, you can use a Mason jar and measuring spoons instead.


Check out the essay entitled “Home Bartending Hacks” on page 345 of Spirited for more handy tricks.



Tip Three


One thing you should not overlook is ice, a major ingredient in cocktails that is necessary to properly dilute and chill the drink.


It can make up to one-third of the finished product, so my recommendation is to 1) invest in a silicone ice-cube tray that makes 2-3cm cubes and 2) don’t let the ice sit around too long in the freezer as it will take on flavours of whatever else you have in there.


See “Why Ice Matters" on page 182 of Spirited for more details.



Tip Four


In terms of glassware, you can serve just about anything in a good rocks glass. For extra panache, grab a few coupes and highball glasses, plus Champagne flutes for fizzy drinks. 



How To Use The Book


It was designed to facilitate discovery and make it easy for you to find your new favourite cocktail. You’ll see the recipes are divided into six chapters: Refreshing, Sours, Spirit Forward, Tiki & Tropical, Coffee & Dessert and Punch. Within each chapter, drinks are grouped together like with like. For example, following the classic Whiskey Sour recipe on page 148, you’ll find more than a dozen variations, like the Rattlesnake, created at London’s Savoy Hotel, on page 152.


With more than 600 recipes, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a drink to suit your palate and mood any day of the year. I hope you enjoy exploring this wonderful world of cocktails as much as I have.


May your glass be ever full,


Adrienne Stillman

Author of Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World