5 Steps to Building the Perfect Home Bar Slideshow

Step 2: The Glassware

Your glassware should reflect you, says Meehan: "Glassware is personal and ephemeral at that. Large or small, thin or thick, decorative or clear, mismatched or uniform — your choice in glassware reflects your personality and taste. My best bit of advice would be to not overlook the importance of your glasses, no matter what style you pick."

"The appearance of a cocktail is the first quality that's evaluated, so choose wisely," he says. "After you’ve done so, remember that a good cocktail party typically claims a stem or two, so make sure you’re willing to part with whatever you use should your glasses number be called."

Step 3: The Essentials

These are the five essentials you need for home bar, says Meehan:

  1. Jiggers: "I even measure the tonic water in my gin and tonics!"
  2. Stemmed Mixing Glass: "I have a really nice one that’s shaped perfectly."
  3. Utility Knife: "You need a sharp knife to cut beautiful garnishes."
  4. Wine Key: "Hard to open bottles without one." (Can’t argue with that.)
  5. Cocktail Shaker: "If I had to choose one, it would be my vintage two part silver Parisian shaker." 

Step 4: The Polish

If you’re already in the process of building up your home bar, start thinking about your bar tools and extras. Says Meehan, "You may not realize it, but there’s a better version (somewhere in the world) for most of the products you know and love. I’ve just recently discovered handmade, limited-edition tiki mugs and commissioned a local craftsman to make me a utility knife. For the material man or woman, there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade your bar down the line."

Step 5: The Final Touches

As Meehan says, your choices in tools, glassware, and recipes are a reflection of your personal taste and style. "In the beginning, you’ll have to make compromises to get your bar up and running (we all did), but eventually, you can start focusing on the details that will distinguish your bar from the rest," he says. "Coasters, decorations such as old bar mirrors, vintage glassware, and old books can be used to help merchandize your set up. In the end, you and your parties will be evaluated by how you worked your bar more than how it’s stocked, so shake what your momma gave you."