While some may prefer to head to the closest watering hole (or cocktail bar, or tequila bar, or wine bar, or… we could go on and on) to get a great drink, many would rather make their drinks at home. But the challenge of building a home bar is great — what spirits do you buy, and which can you skip? What glassware do you need? What are the essentials to making a home bar that can help you whip up a casual Scotch on the rocks for a night in and cocktails for a whole party?
If there’s one person who knows how to build a home bar, it’s the person who’s making your drinks at the bar around the corner. We turned to legendary bartender Jim Meehan, the mastermind behind New York City’s PDT, for tips and tricks on building the perfect home bar. (And if you’re really serious about building up your home bar, enter in the Liquor.com sweepstakes for Meehan to personally help you design it — trust us, it’s an invaluable prize).
But beyond the basics of which spirits to buy, the essential bar tools you need, and personalized touches, Meehan offers the best advice possible: "The most important thing to keep in mind is that fancy tools, glassware, spirits, and machinery do not make up for bad hospitality," he says. "I’d rather drink warm whiskey in a paper cup with great company than sip Scotch with a jerk." When you focus on accommodating your guests, rather than how many expensive spirits you have sitting on the bar, you’re likely to enjoy your drinks at home that much more. Click ahead to find Meehan’s tips on how to build your home bar, and start making cocktails. First up? How about the Paddington's Cocktail from, guess who, Jim Meehan, in the video demo above.