Build a Back Bar at Home

April 27, 2020BY Potato Head

Potato Head’s global F&B director Richard Hargreave shares four classic cocktails and how to build a back bar from scratch.

Right now, sitting with friends in our favorite bar seems a very distant memory and recreating your favorite drink has become an important way to raise your spirits (no pun intended) and channel those good times at home. Building a back bar to a professional level is an expensive exercise, so to begin I would suggest purchasing these key bottles which will allow you to make a wide variety of classics.
1. Dry vermouth (once open keep this in the fridge)
Dolin is a great value one here
2. Sweet vermouth (same)
Dolin again is great here, Antica Formula if you want something richer
3. Campari
Cappelletti Aperitivo is great if you want to try something other than the classic
4. London dry gin
Beefeater for a good allrounder, Monkey 47 for a special occasion!
5. Bourbon
Four Roses is great value, Buffalo Trace if you want to level up a little
6. Reposado tequila (silver if its not available)
There are so many great reposados out there, I usually drink Avion in my margarita, Fortelaza is my favorite silver

Some other ingredients worth keeping around if you have them are:
1. Lemons
2. Limes
3. Oranges
4. Angostura Bitters
5. Sugar for simple syrup (to make, simply weigh equal parts sugar and water and bring to a boil until clear, let chill and store in a clean container)

Once you’ve built-up your bar with these items, a large amount of drinks will become available to you, and obviously if you have a favourite spirit which is missing (I’m looking at you, vodka drinkers) then add where needed. If you really dislike something (tequila isn’t everyone’s favorite, for example), leave it out.

Here are a few of my favourite classic specs which I always go to:

30 ml Campari
30 ml gin
30 ml sweet vermouth

Combine in a rocks glass full of ice. Stir for 15 seconds, garnish with an orange wheel. Enjoy.

60 ml bourbon
30 ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes angostura bitters

Combine in a cocktail shaker (a glass or mason jar is fine if you don’t have one). Stir for 15 seconds and serve in a Martini glass (or over ice, if you prefer). Garnish with a cherry if you have one. If not, just drink it – it’ll still taste great.

60 ml tequila
30 ml lime juice
15 ml simple syrup

Combine in a shaking tin filled with ¾  ice. Hard shake for 15 seconds then pour over rocks with a lime wheel.

60 ml gin
15 ml dry vermouth

Combine in shaking tin, stir for 15 seconds. Pour into a Martini glass or over rocks, if you prefer. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Once your drink is made, FaceTime your friends, raise your glass to the future and being able to make one for them in person.

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