My Cart
Toggle Nav

Blog

10 Great Ideas For Making Your Home Bar Awesome

Few things are better than getting home at the end of a long, tiring day, turning up the music on your stereo, and mixing yourself a freshly made cocktail. In our humble opinion, it’s the finest way to unwind, and when done correctly, it’s your chance to not only kick back and relax, but also take your senses on a delicious journey of discovery.

Having a top quality home bar is a delight that just keeps on giving. The more you explore the fascinating and varied world of fine wines, artisan spirits, and tempting mixers, the better it all becomes. However, taking your home bar experiences to a whole other level is something which does take some planning and thought… although it’s the kind of thing you won’t mind adding to your to-do list, as the pleasure the results bring vastly outweighs any effort you put in. To help you raise your home bar game, we’ve come up with ten fantastic ideas that’ll make your home bar the envy of your friends, and the highlight of your day. Read on to find out more!

Develop Your Signature Cocktail

signature

If you don’t already have a signature cocktail - one which reflects your personality, your taste in spirits, and which you make better than anyone else you know - it’s high time to rectify this! Every drinks lover should be able to whizz up at least one fantastic cocktail with their eyes closed, and which has been tweaked and tailored to suit the minutiae of your personal preferences. It might take some time (and plenty of experimenting) to hit that sweet spot of perfection, but once you get there, you’ll be able to mix your favourite mixers and spirits for ultimate satisfaction every time. What’s more, having a signature cocktail never fails to impress a date!

Have at least one ‘all-time greatest’ spirit

greatest

The world of spirits is a vastly varied one, and as any connoisseur will tell you, there’s usually a vast difference between those bottles at the top end of the market, and those which everyone and his dog has in their liquor cabinet. If you’re a particularly big fan of a Scotch single malt, for example, or of Cuban rum etc, do yourself and your bar a favour by picking up one of the best bottles you can afford. You’ll instantly raise your home bar game to entirely new levels, and will open doors to new levels of aroma, character, and flavour. The path or connoisseurship awaits!

Develop Real Passion for a Spirit

passion

Every spirit has its own personality, its own history, and no shortage of stories to learn and explore. Whether you’re a gin drinker, a Bourbon fanatic, or an Armenian brandy aficionado, learning more about your favourite spirit will pique your curiosity and develop your passion, leading you to appreciate it all the more. Your palate will be developed, and you’ll become the one your mates will turn to when it comes to top recommendations and advice.

Learn to Mix the Classics

mix

Classic cocktails gain their classic status for a reason - because they’re real crowd-pleasers, and they’ve evolved over time to have a broad appeal. Knowing how to mix up the classics is one of the best ways to turn your home bar into a real feature for your friends and loved ones, and it’s sure to give your social status a proper kick-start as you continue your journey to becoming the host with the most. Perfect gin and tonic, a flawless Old Fashion, a sublime dry Martini… these are just a few of the basics you’ll then be able to fine-tune to your own preferences. 

Experiment with Flourishes and Garnishes

garnish

Garnishes are often overlooked as something a little frivolous and unimportant, but ask any experienced mixologist, and they’ll jump at the chance to tell you what a massive difference they can make. Take gin as an example - today’s gin scene is massively varied and exciting, not least because gin distilleries are using a broader palette of botanicals and extracts than ever before. Each of these allows the cocktail maker to highlight certain flavours through the use of garnishes, and inject a certain je ne sais quois to the cocktail that allows it to truly hit the high notes!

Be a Spirits Explorer

explore

Most home bars will usually have a fairly familiar rosta of spirits; a decent gin, a quality Scotch, a well-known rum and vodka etc. A few might have some quality brandies and Cognacs, too, alongside other beloved classics of the drinks world. If you want to really up your game, however, it’s never a bad idea to expand your horizons, and be on the lookout for more obscure spirits which pack a real punch of flavour. Whether these are local favourites picked up on your holidays, or artisan specialities made with real love and care, the unusual, the quirky, and the unexpected really do have the potential to become brand new favourites. 

Get Clued Up on Gadgets!

mixset

To say that there is an astounding number and array of gadgets, gizmos, and devices out there to experiment with and buy would be the understatement of the century. Bringing some technology to your home bar can make a real difference to your drinks, as well as opening new avenues for your mixology skills. While it’s fair to say that some drinks gadgets are little more than gimmicks, designed to part the foolish with their money, others really do work very well. Take the wine aerator, for example: such a simple idea - a small device to pop on the end of your bottle, which oxidises your vino as you pour it! 

Explore Aromatics and Tonics

tonics

The gin scene over the past decade has undoubtedly gone interstellar, and more and more people are exploring the potential of the ever-growing range on offer. One way to take your spirits game (and to be fair, this is mostly about gin, but other spirits could be included here) to another level is to explore different aromatics and matching tonics, which provide herbal and spice notes to your cocktails which deepen the flavour and highlight secondary and tertiary notes in the spirit. Popular choices include saffron, anise, hibiscus flowers, and caraway, and these can be picked up at any good bottle shop or even supermarket. 

Know Your Serving Temperatures

winetemp

Few things are more unpleasant than sipping on a room temperature Martini, or an over-chilled and flattened glass of quality wine. All alcoholic drinks are massively affected by temperature, and knowing the ideal temperatures for serving and enjoying your spirits and wines can really make a big difference to how they come across on the palate. Read up on temperatures and ideal serving conditions, adjust the dial on your cooler, and hit that sweet spot every time!

Don’t Forget the Glassware!

glassware

Sure, the glassware isn’t probably as important as the quality of the spirit you’re drinking… but that’s not to say it’s completely insignificant. Having a home bar is all about decadence, enjoyment of life, and treating yourself to something special. As such, having beautiful or unique glassware is an easy way to dial up the pleasure, and make a bigger impact when serving cocktails to your friends and guests. Get yourself something special, and be sure to stand out from the crowd. 

Five Refreshing Vodka Summer Cocktails To Impress Your Friends With

In our heads, we all know instinctively what a truly wonderful, refined, and delicious summer cocktail should be like. As soon as the thermometer starts creeping up (and, importantly, staying up), we start craving cool, crisp, refreshing, and clean characteristics in our drinks - essentially, the precise characteristics which make vodka such a world-beating spirit. 

They say that truly great vodka should taste of very little bit a sharp winter’s breeze. However, it’s exactly this brisk iciness that lends the great Eastern European spirit par excellence its versatility, and it’s for this very reason why it’s the ideal choice for your summer cocktail menu. Sure, most vodkas don’t pack much of a punch of flavour on their own. That said, they provide the perfect base on which to build mountains of refreshing, summer flavours, and the ideal foundation for some undeniably game-changing cocktails.

Vodka tends to work most successfully with fresh fruit flavours (especially berries), and freshly cut herbs. Why? Because in a vodka cocktail, you want to put those vibrant flavours at the forefront of your drink, and vodka really does allow you to make stars of a handful of humble ingredients. As well as this, vodka loves being paired with bubbles, so don’t be shy with your Champagne or ginger ale - these are classic vodka cocktail mixers for a very good reason!

We’ve picked out five of our absolute favourite summertime vodka cocktail recipes for your enjoyment during the hotter months of this year. If you’ve avoided vodka since your college days, it’s perhaps time to revisit this remarkable drink by approaching it in wholly new and exciting ways. If you’re a long-time fan of this cleanest of spirits, you’re bound to love these bold and flavourful recipes. Perfect for a pool party, ideal for al fresco picnics and drinking sessions, and wonderful enjoyed under the sunshine anytime, anywhere, and with anyone… these summer vodka cocktail recipes are bound to become brand new favourites. Enjoy!

The Volstead

volstead

You don’t have to look very far in New York City for vodka cocktails which play with the classics, and bring new life to old favourites. The Volstead is a fantastic example, and has become a firm favourite for visitors to the iconic Lazy Point bar. Like all great vodka cocktail recipes for summer, it makes great use of bright, zesty, fruity flavours, and uses simplicity and elegance as the basis for a truly refreshing and sophisticated tipple. Want to replicate the classy lanquidity of a Long Island beach at your next pool party? This is the cocktail for you!

  • 5 fresh strawberries (1 for garnish)

  • ¾ oz simple syrup

  • ¾ oz vodka

  • ¾ oz lemon juice

  • ¾ oz elderflower liqueur

Muddle four of the strawberries in a cocktail shaker with the simple syrup. Add the other ingredients, plenty of ice, and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with the remaining strawberry. Perfection!

Basil Gimlet

basil-gimlet

This cocktail is a brilliant take on the classic gimlet, given a sophisticated Mediterranean update and a cooling, summery makeover. You don’t necessarily have to include all of the garnishes in this recipe (there are probably more than you really need, to be fair), but if you’re going for the wow factor at your next garden party, then this recipe really is going to hit all the right spots.

  • 1 tbsp celery salt, for the rim

  • Orange wedge, for the rim

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 1 oz lime juice

  • 1 oz simple syrup

  • 2 basil leaves

  • 2 dashes celery bitters

  • Basil leaf, for garnish

  • Lime wheel, for garnish

Pour the celery salt on a small plate, and moisten the rim of an Old Fashioned glass with the orange wedge, then run the rim through the salt. Set the glass aside. 

Take your cocktail shaker, and add the other five ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into the Old Fashioned glasses along with more cubed ice. Garnish with the basil leaf and lime wheel, and enjoy.

Russian Spring Punch

russian-spring-punch

If you want to pay homage to the spiritual home of vodka in your summer vodka cocktails, then you won’t be able to resist this particular example, which celebrates all the wonderfully elegant flavours of a St. Petersburg springtime. Interestingly, this recipe actually comes from London’s Mayfair (which is, to be fair, home to plenty of wealthy Russians…), but nonetheless, it definitely hits all the high notes and is guaranteed to be a real talking point for you and your guests.

  • ¾ oz vodka

  • ½ oz lemon juice

  • ½ oz simple syrup

  • ¼ creme de cassis

  • Champagne, to top

  • Edible flowers, to garnish (pansies, preferably)

Combine all of the ingredients in a punch glass over shards of ice. Add floral garnish, and sip decadently. 

The National Republic of Texas

texas

This delicious cocktail probably isn’t the first drink that comes to mind when you think of Texas. However, it was invented for South By Southwest, the music, arts, and film festival which takes over the wonderfully innovative city of Austin each year, and screams volumes about the way that Austinites wish to be seen by the wider world. Refreshing, cool, crisp, and inventive, it’s a fantastic vodka cocktail which really highlights the versatility of vodka as a cocktail base. Try it and see for yourself!

  • 1 oz citrus vodka

  • 1 oz grapefruit juice

  • ½ oz Sherry

  • ½ oz honey syrup

  • Grapefruit wedge to garnish

Pop all of the ingredients (except the garnish) into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake well, then strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with the grapefruit, and relax.

Sgroppino

sgroppino

It’s never been the easiest of cocktails to pronounce, but when it comes to ultimate refreshment and holiday-themed drinks, the Sgroppino is up there with the best of them all. It’s not the most well-known cocktail in the wider world, but head to the beautiful city of Venice during the blazing heat of summer, and you’ll find plenty of trendy bars serving up this grown-up slushy on the canal sides. After one sip, you’ll see exactly why it’s such a crowd-pleaser… and the chances are, you won’t want to be drinking anything else all summer long. 

  • 1 oz vodka

  • 1 scoop lemon sorbet

  • 3 oz Prosecco, plus an extra splash

  • Mint sprig, for garnish

Take a stainless steel bowl, and whisk together the vodka, lemon sorbet, and a splash of Prosecco until you have a nice slushy consistency. Add the remaining sparkling wine, and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour into a Champagne flute, and garnish with a mint sprig. 

There you have it - five incredible summer vodka cocktails that are sure to help you stave off the heat of summer, while tickling your taste buds in a glorious fashion. Give them a try today, and see which one you’ll soon be adding to your repertoire!


Five Awesome Whiskies for Father’s Day 2018

Five Awesome Whiskies for Father’s Day 2018

It’s that time of year again - the day when we all give thanks to our fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, father figures… or anyone else we feel has a fatherly influence that we feel deserves rewarding. Our dads are great; they offer us guidance and support, are always ready with a joke, a quip, or a groan-worthy pun, and are never far away when something needs fixing, barbecuing, or a nod of approval.

Read more

Food and Whisky Pairing: The Barbecue Edition

Now that the sun is shining, the days are longer, and we’re all up for spending plenty of time outside in the good weather, our minds immediately start turning to the kind of al fresco dining we all love the most: barbecue.

Food and whisky pairing is sometimes presented as being a highly complex art, which requires years of training and a finely-tuned palate.

Read more

Popcorn and Wine Pairing Perfection

You can always tell whether or not a food trend is a mere flash in the pan by looking at whether or not it has started being seriously paired with wine. In the case of popcorn’s recent renaissance, there’s no longer any doubt about the fact that the artisanal twist on everyone’s favourite movie snack really is here to stay. Indeed, popcorn has more than entered the arena of luxurious light snacks, and all over the world, popcorn makers are taking this wonderful nibble to new and exciting heights, using high quality corn, a massive array of flavours, spices, and brand new taste combinations which really get our mouths watering.

Read more

Five Whiskies Under $50 That Are Perfect for Beginners

Like all the best things in life, falling in love with whisky is a journey. It’s a route which can take many years to walk, and one which is sure to throw up plenty of fascinating surprises, meandering stories, and wonderful flavours along the way. There’s something truly special about talking about this fine old spirit with a seasoned whisky connoisseur - somebody who really knows how to make the most of a quality dram, and who can discern all those unique characteristics which make each bottle special - but in order to get to that level, we all have to start somewhere.

Read more

How Does Barrel Type Influence Fine Whisky?

We all know the world of whisky to be a hugely varied one, which presents us whisky fans with a beautiful array of characteristics, aromas, flavours and textures which continually surprise and seduce from bottle to bottle. Indeed, this is a major factor in the popularity of whisky as a spirit; once you begin exploring different styles from different regions, or bottles made according to particular traditions (as well as those which revel in ripping up the rulebook and branching out into the bizarre), you’ll begin appreciating the sheer range of notes, bouquets, and flavours on offer.

Read more

Five Food and Whisky Pairings You Need to Try

We’re all familiar with the idea of pairing food and wine. Indeed, it’s the kind of thing that brightens up even the darkest day; that interplay of tannins, acids, flavours and aromas work wonders with all of our favourite dishes, and figuring out the best wines to serve with your dinner is a real joy that we can all partake in.

Read more

Five Incredible Spiced Rums for Under $50

Fine spirits and wines often have an amazing evocative power. One sip, or even a single sniff, has the power to transport you to different times and places, or take you back to favourite memories and moments of your life. Rum is perhaps the most evocative of all the spirits - it’s got this extraordinary ability to put you in mind of sun-baked terraces, white sand beaches, and the kind of warm, balmy evenings in which everything and anything is possible.

Read more

Henry McKenna 10 Year Wins Best in Show Whiskey at SFWSC

Henry McKenna 10YR Wins Best in Show Whiskey

As first reported by Forbes, Henry McKenna Single Barrel 10 Year Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon won this year's "Best in Show, Whiskey" at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Heaven Hill Distillery's Henry McKenna became the second bourbon ever to win in the Best in Show, Whiskey category, after Parker's Heritage Collection took the title in 2009.

Read more