Shaken but not stirred!

A well-stocked home bar is a coveted conversation piece for today’s voguish condo dwellers and homeowners alike. Gone are the cigarette smoky rec-room basement bars of yesteryear. Today’s living rooms, dens, patios and offices offer domestic mixologists with savior faire sociable bases for preparing irresistible drinks, romantic breakfasts and elegant soirees. Nowadays, people are creating spaces based on lifestyle and the ultimate home bar is no exception. Pour yourself a drink and join us as we bravely demystify the art of the do-it-yourself cocktail and all that’s needed for your at-home bar.

According to our designers, you’ll be more than halfway there if you splurge on an easy-to-set-up bar with stools and use décor to create the mood. Unique bar ideas draw guests in, and help set the ambiance you want to create for any successful gathering. Perhaps you might choose a colonial style lodge or cabin that hides your private collection, a stand-alone bar to create an intimate bistro atmosphere or a retro look with a fun and exciting sports theme. After all, entertaining at home is an exciting way to show off your signature style.

No matter the size of home, you can create a fabulous entertaining space. If you live in a small condo or a trendy loft, you can still have a stylish bar and entertainment area by using a space-saving bar cart that’s practical and multi-functional. If you have the luxury of more space in a large home consider a full bar with a collection of cool stools where your guests can sit to chat, mingle and enjoy their drinks or a casual dinner. Create the look and feel of a friendly pub or trendy and elegant bar right at home with your choice of classic or modern bar signs to set the mood. When designing your home bar, keep in mind that it is a reflection of your own style and personality. Items to consider when curating the space include your bar stools, which come in a variety of styles, sizes and fabrics. Also, keep in mind that lighting is your secret weapon when it comes to setting the mood: Think bold and sporty, soft and romantic or grand and elegant. There’s plenty of choice.

Cocktails don’t have to be complicated. To be successful, invest in good quality core liquors: The seven basics are whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, sweet and dry vermouth, a bottle of bitters and always, fresh citrus. Professional bartenders turned mixologists will impress with a variety of vessels but it really seems to boil down to three types of glassware for the most-part: Old-fashioned, highball and martini. You’ll also require bar accessories: A shaker, mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer and jigger. A muddler, juice press and a y-peeler should also be on your bar bucket list and last, don’t forget a wine rack.

As far as your cocktails go—will they be shaken or stirred? Turns out, those that contain spirits and only spirits should be stirred. You’re not just mixing the drink—you’re making it ice cold.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of an awe-inspiring visual and aromatic smoking cocktail. When you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to create a display of softly wafting smoke that twirls upward into the air and lingers in the glass for the drinker to enjoy while sipping. Dusting, muddling, rimming and infusing spirits with different fresh ingredients are also bartender’s techniques you’ll want to acquire over time.

Whether it’s a courageous, dress-to-impress, languorous evening in with a daring new take on a dark ‘n’ stormy or a crafty botanical-infused twist on a classic, tasting your mixology mettle “at home” is now fashionably popular.

Ready to up your hosting game, and create your own home bar? Visit the fearless interior design team at KARE Toronto  to help you get started.

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