Creating the perfect home bar is one of the many joys of creating your new home together and taps out at “adulting” level 1,000.
One of the main reasons we started ThirstyNest is that building your home bar as a registry allows you to make this adventure entirely giftable! What could be more rewarding than mixing up martinis for a friend who gifted you the gin and coupes you’re using to serve them?
But the biggest question is; where to begin.
That’s why we’ve put together a starter guide on the anatomy of building a great home bar. This guide can and should be tweaked based on your own likes and dislikes. On a bit of a Negroni craze? Lean into that Gin selection. More of a fascination with burgundies? By all means stock up on a plethora of Pinot and glasses to match. Still unsure of where to start based on your tastes? Shoot us a line! We would be happy to help out at email@example.com.
1. The Wine
When selecting wine for your registry try to go for a mix of both special age-worthy wines to save and everyday options.
For the age-worthy wines, about one to two cases worth (12-24 bottles) is the right amount. You’ll only need a moderately sized wine fridge for safekeeping and it’s easy to move between homes. There’s something so special about saving bottles to open together for a special occasion. Some of our favorites would be the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Wedding Cuvée for your 1-Year Anniversary and Robert Mondavi 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for a 10-Year Anniversary.
As for everyday wines it’s all about whatever you guys enjoy drinking! We like to keep our favorite workhorse wines around that pair with all different kinds of dishes and occasions. That includes dry rosé, which is just as fitting for a trip to the beach as it is with a Thanksgiving meal. Additionally, some lovely Oregon Pinot Noir like this Domaine Serene 2014 Yamhill Cuvée that can be enjoyed with lean meat dishes or even a hearty vegetarian meal. Lastly, dry Riesling is a super versatile white that goes especially well with hard to pair takeout like Thai and Chinese food so we recommend stocking up on Dr. Konstantin Frank's Dry Riesling.
2. The Spirits
On the spirits side, a good mix of cocktail essentials and some dram-worthy brown spirits make a great start to a balanced bar.
A good foundation of cocktail spirits includes a quality vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, white rum and dark rum along with your stirring mixers such as Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Campari and bitters.
As for those in the neat section, having one fantastic Bourbon and one peaty Scotch on hand at all times is perfect for most guests. This portion however is entirely dependent on taste so poke around and see what appeals most to your palates.
3. The Glassware
Wine glasses can seem like a daunting category but there are lots of set options to get everything you need in one gift. Our Fusion Line of glasses is gorgeous and it comes with a 10-year warranty in case you break a glass. That means you can feel comfortable using them on a weeknight or with company. The Fusion Air style is light as well, air, leaving very little between you and the juice. For a more show-stopper style of glassware the Zalto line is a cult classic for Somms with prices to match so save those for your best company or your best bottles. They’re hard not to love and, like love, painful to lose.
When serving cocktails there are three must-have styles. The first is the Old-Fashioned Glass which you can use for all stirred boozy cocktails including - yes - Old Fashioneds. Next would be the Highball Glass for what’s called a “long” drink or any drink that includes a non-alcohol mixer such as juice or seltzer. Lastly would be the coupe or a martini glass. These can be used fairly interchangeably.
The last and most festive glass is the iconic Champagne flute. These are synonymous with weddings and celebrations but can also be quite useful for sparkling cocktails like French 75s and Mimosas. We recommend having a dishwasher safe set around for when the mood strikes.
4. The Tools
The tools of your home bar will function like the jewelry of your cart and collection. There’s lots of options depending on the look and feel you’re looking to create.
The most necessary tool on the wine side would be a fantastic wine opener. I mean, it's the actual key to getting the party started! It’s great to have a classic waiter’s style or a full suite of gadgetry like in the Electric Blue 1 which preserves and opens your wine. The decanter is another useful tool especially when you’re finally able to open those special anniversary bottles.
For spirits the necessities would include a good set of cocktail tools so you can whip up anything you like from a Boulevardier to a Whiskey Sour. Lastly, we recommend checking out our Personalized Drinkware for some amazing items to help you get used to those new initials.
5. The Storage
All of your gifts have arrived, now what? You’ll want to keep those wines in a safe place for years to come. A wine fridge makes for a great safe keeping and will allow you to set it and forget it at the ideal aging temperature which is around 50-55 degrees. As for spirits a gorgeous bar cart makes a fun throwback style for your collection.