On the Rocks - Stocking a Bar

So we've been making it cocktail central here now for a while now, and while I have picked up some grenadine and angostura bitters to supplement my bar, I really had no idea where to start when it came to stocking my little bar in a way that gives me what I need without too many pointless bits and bobs.



For instance, my bar is my kitchen, so do I really need a cocktail set with a bottle opener and a knife for cutting lemons? I have a cocktail set someone got me years ago, but how much of it do I really need? Or do I need more. Then comes the bottles themselves, another total minefield. I came across a book (which I later found out was connected to this website) that is all about limiting the bottles and "stuff" that you think you'll need. So I'm kinda going with that mantra.

Stuff wise, I've pretty much stuck to the basics, everything else is already in the kitchen, so if i need a knife or spoon its there. Otherwise I have a hawthorn strainer, shaker, a jigger measure with 25 and 50ml sides, and of course glasswear. That was the big one, not essential but I decided for the classy touch to invest in flutes and martini glasses to compliment my basic hi-ball, tumblers and wine glasses. I'm a bit of a nut for that kind of thing.

This is my kit, and I don't have any intention to get more, as it isn't really needed. None of it is really essential - you could use another cup to mix, a sieve to strain and spoons to measure if you want to. The only essential is the one thing I don't have here.

Gomme Syrup, or just syrup is one of those things you don't think of but you need. Some recipes call for this and if you look at all the bottles behind the bar you might have noticed it. It is essentially a sugar syrup with gum arabic in it, which is an emuslifier that gets everything working together. At home, I wouldn't say its essential unless you want it to be. Syrup is however, because things need sweetening occasionally and ain't nobody got time to try dissolve sugar in cold liquor.

Making your own is incredibly simple. To make it, heat equal parts sugar and water together in a pan until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour into a bottle and store in the fridge for up to a month. It really is as easy as that.

Is a bottle easier, yeah, if you only have one or two a week it definitely can be. I will admit to having a mini bottle for those times I'm just making one. However if you are planning a party or cocktail night making up a batch makes way more sense. As long, as ever, you're going to use it before it goes funny. That's not a hardship really, just an excuse for more cocktails.

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