Thursday, August 5, 2010
Stocking the Bar - Mixers - First Round
Variety is the spice of life and the art of the cocktail. You want variety in your bar, true, but also in your mixers. I am not talking about the margarita or piña colada mix in your grocery store (but they have their place, by all means pick some up if you like them) but the non-alcoholic additions to the cocktail that give it life.
Hopefully you have a dedicated bar area and, even better, a bar fridge. Keeping it stocked with a variety of mixers ensures great latitude for creating great cocktails.
Stock up on:
Nectars - like apricot, peach and pear
Juice - like apple, grape, cranberry, pomegranate, orange, V-8, Clamato
Punch (mixed, sweet juices like Dole pineapple peach mango or strawberry kiwi juice blend)
and check out the international aisle in your market, stock up on interesting juices and artisan sodas and things like coconut water - you never know what interesting things you are going to find.
Most importantly, and this goes against what you would do for your regular everyday refreshments, buy in packages of single serving containers. Yes, it is more expensive to shop that way but are you really going to use up everything that you open for the bar? You don't want the rest of the container of prickly pear juice languishing after you made your spectacular prickly pear martini and you don't want to feel that you can't open up another juice until you have forced yourself to finish it all. Cocktails are about creating in the moment, making something new and exciting, being able to pick and choose a fresh, small, can or bottle of that perfect ingredient ensures something fresh and exciting every time.
That being said, now that you are always looking out for new and interesting single serve mixers for your bar - make sure you are rotating your stock. They last a long time but not forever.
The interesting mixers can also double as exciting non-alcoholic options for designated drivers who happen to pop by.
Storing your mixers: a cool dry place is ideal and keep some in the bar fridge if you can - the warmer your ingredients, the faster the ice cubes melt. And that is a crying shame.
(and remember to always recycle your empties)