My home bar could use some love. None of my glassware matches, which I’d love to claim is a fun, kitschy aesthetic choice but is really something that happened unintentionally as individual glasses broke and left their siblings behind. Sad, but true. Now, though, because it’s the holiday season, my home bar is getting way more attention than it gets all year — and I’m scrambling! Chances are, your home bar is also getting a lot of attention. Whether you’re hosting or going to an event, beverages are at the forefront of many minds this time of year. Here are some ways you can amp up your home bar game in time for the holiday season!
Invest In Glassware
Glassware is one of the best (and easiest) ways to upgrade your cocktail game. I learned the hard way that a martini sipped out of a repurposed yogurt jar does not taste the same as the exact same martini sipped out of an actual martini glass! I don’t know what alchemy (science?) is behind this difference, but I do know it’s worth it to invest in glassware.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the martini glass linked above since I saw it in one of those pantry stores. The glass olive is surprisingly realistic and would look SO cute nestled amongst a duo of Castelvetranos, but honestly, much cheaper martini glasses exist and will probably serve you just as well. If you’re prone to spills (no shame!), or if you’d just rather drink a daiquiri, coupes are a wiser choice. If you’re looking for a general purpose wine glass, I think tiny cups are a much prettier alternative to many of the “universal” wine glasses I’ve seen. Sure, they’re stemless, but the ones above are whisper-thin and somehow also dishwasher-safe. Also, they’re $2 each!
Try Some Non-Alcoholic/Low ABV Options
Whether you’re a drinker or not, I think it’s important to have nonalcoholic choices included in your home bar — especially if you’re hosting parties! Not everyone drinks, and it’s nice to have more than just soda on offer for folks abstaining. NA spirits are one way to bring the same level of thoughtfulness that we bring to craft cocktails into the mocktail space, as are NA aperitifs. Even for drinkers, both can be subbed into traditional cocktail recipes for a lower-ABV alt. If you’re leaning into the mocktail space, both craft soda and alcohol-free bitters are worthwhile investments (some bitters have alcohol in them!). If you’re more of a beer drinker, there are some surprisingly good nonalcoholic beers. I was halfway through a bottle of Heineken 0.0 at a party before I realized it was the nonalcoholic version!
A cocktail (or mocktail, for that matter) isn’t complete without a garnish! You probably already have a peeler for citrus peels, but if it’s dull, it might be time to get a Y peeler instead. They’re not significantly more expensive than traditional peelers, but they’re way easier to handle. Plus, they can help you get a less pithy peel. Fancy salt is a great way to change up the ordinary — consider black salt for your next margarita! Dried citrus slices are a fun cocktail topper, and you can even make them yourself. Maybe something to consider if you get your hands on a blood orange! Reusable cocktail picks are another way to add some personality to a beverage (for a splurge, maybe this zodiac-inspired set), as are glass straws.