A Well-Stocked Bar: The Essentials
Presently, my beloved bar has enough tequila for one (quite sad) margarita, enough Hendricks for a handful of gin and tonics, and a few bottles of Perrier. Tragically, no St. Germain in sight. The low stock a direct result of a newly implemented, guilt-fueled, tradition.
Let me explain. I’m the resident homebody in a group of friends that go out for drinks nightly, brunch weekly, and travel on weekends nearly as often as not. It’s exhausting. I just can’t hang.
Before you write me off as a modern day Emily Dickinson - I show up, smile in tow, at least twice a week!
One would think this degree of effort would satisfy, but alas, no. If you think I’m complaining, I’m not. These people I am lucky enough to consider friends are wonderful, loving, gracious (seriously - I love them dearly!) - but somehow, someway sustain an unfathomable level of endless energy.
Black magic, I tell you.
Domestic Goddess (in training)
It all leads to this. Every so often, I’ll get “serious” about domesticity. Last month, I declared I would start a new tradition - weekly dinners on Thursday night. New year, new traditions.
Nothing too fussy, just an intimate dinner for 15-20 close friends.. weekly.
In theory, this all seemed fabulously reasonable. It’s Pheasant season, so if you’re local and unopposed to fowl, I’m you’re girl. I have a brown bag full of bloody birds in my basement…. I need make no case for a champagne diet.
Fast Forward to February
Friday morning I wake up to a house shamelessly littered with empty beer bottles, wine stained glasses, and dishes haphazardly toppling over, the occasional fork or knife peeking out, on table after table. Crushed crackers, stale champagne, and guacamole covered playing cards scattered across my coffee table.
The sweet elderly woman in the stone house to the left is knocking on my door at midnight because she can’t get out of the driveway. I’ve become that neighbor.
More on this later.
Anatomy of the Perfect Bar
The problem at hand: re-stocking the bar by Thursday. Arguably, I refuse to believe I am the only one who has wandered, aimlessly, through the liquor store - uncertain of where to start, and paralyzed by the overwhelming options. On more than one occasion, I have valued brand and bottle aesthetics over quality.
Looking for the best of both worlds? St. Germain.
I am quite the professional at accumulating bottle after bottle of handsome, yet inconsequential, spirits, who remain at attention, in the unemployment line (the deep, dark depths of our bar) collecting dust.
I did some reasearch. Scoured the internet and phoned a (bartender) friend or two.
There is no perfect formula. In Nashville, where Jack and Coke can be found under ‘hospitality’ in the dictionary - it is considered blasphemy to dislike whiskey. A cardinal sin of sorts. But - If my beau didn’t adore it, whiskey wouldn’t warrant an exclusive spot on my bar (but in the trash.) There are no hard and fast rules.
You need no permission, so buy what you like!
If you’re looking for a more extensive list, I recommend turning to the queen-mother of entertainment and domesticity, herself - Martha. You’ll have the best stocked bar on the block if you mimic her guide of beverage essentials.
The fine print
Use trays to help you divide your bar into zones. Dedicate each zone to a specific essential, whether it's glassware, bottles or your own brass menagerie. You'll be simultaneously stylish and organized. For the brave hearted, mix family heirlooms in with your newer pieces. Your ancestral crystal glassware - with the new - colorful napkins, straws, and fresh flowers.
Those dearly beloved investment pieces you’ve acquired over the years? Your great aunt's decanter? It likely sits idle, rarely appreciated, on a shelf, or in a cabinet.
I’m certainly an advocate for pulling it out and putting it to use.. Surely the inaugural owner (your great great grandmother or some 19th century socialite) would have wanted it to be cherished, admired - and enjoyed.
Any excuse to buy new stemware
Be warned - your brother’s best friend’s girlfriend might shatter one of your father’s engraved whiskey glasses stumbling out to the patio. I get it - you can’t (emotionally) afford losing your precious heirloom glassware - you’d be written out of the will or lose your inheritance. Cue Williams Sonoma.
Your options are endless.
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