Intro to my home bar posts

Since I’ve got cocktails on the brain right now, I figured I’d do a series of posts about booze. A friend said it would be a fascinating topic (thank you, Sarah!) and it was the boost I needed to continue this blog past one post.

I’ve been interested in cocktails since college. I partially blame Tom Cruise—Cocktail is an objectively awful film, but it made drink mixing look like so much fun, and I wanted to move beyond fuzzy navels (I had an, um, incident involving peach schnapps and to this day I get a little queasy if I sniff a peach/booze combo) and vodka and lemonade (the drink of choice in my sorority).

So I bought a Mr. Boston bartending book and experimented making Long Island Iced Teas and Lynchburg Lemonades at parties, with mixed results. You can only get so far with cheap booze, sweet-and-sour mix, and limited funds. Plus, the 90s weren’t exactly a great time for quality cocktails.

Fast forward to today, and the craft cocktail movement has made once obscure, inaccessible ingredients like allspice dram and creme de violette available to home bartenders. There’s plenty of new information about cocktail theory and technique, not just recipes. The problem now, I think, is being overwhelmed with too many options and wanting to do it “right.” It doesn’t help that many articles have intimidating lists of “must have” bottles for the beginner home bar. I especially get irked at lists that leave out vodka because it’s supposedly not cool. I’m sorry, but leaving out something as versatile as vodka makes no sense to me.

I’ll be up front: I’m not a drinks expert and I don’t claim to be one. I don’t even consider myself a cocktail enthusiast per se, not in the way that dedicated cocktail bloggers and Instagramers are. And to be honest, most cocktail books and databases confuse me if I’m not looking for something specific. I just like a good, well-made drink and learning new things about booze.

But I’m also trained as an engineer and I used to write about food, so I’ve spent way too many brain cycles overthinking my home bar. How to stock it, what to keep, what not to rebuy, what to make, how to keep it streamlinef. I figured I might as well do a brain-dump here and hope it might help someone.

At the very least, I’ll have a blast writing, and that’s no small thing.