Ten years ago, most of us would have sneered at the idea of staying in rather than going out. Home entertainment simply wasn’t a ‘thing,’ and plenty of us would never even consider the idea of staying at home on the weekend. Today, however, things couldn’t be more different. Many studies show the surprising statistics that a large proportion of millennials would now rather spend a night in with their mates, rather than partying hard out on the local bar and club scene. There are a few different reasons for this. The cost of going out is higher, and wages are typically lower, meaning most people have less disposable income to spend on weekend leisure. Additionally, nightlife in many parts of the world is going through an epidemic of sorts, with many clubs and bars being closed down to make way for flats and shopping malls. Young mothers are also another group of people preferring to see friends at home rather than out on the town. While you would often be led to believe that parents jump at the chance to leave the house the second they get a babysitter, sometimes having your friends round when your children at their grandparents can be just as fun – and more cost-effective, too. But if you’re going to have any hope of entertaining at your place, you’ll need the Holy Grail of home entertainment: a well-stocked home bar. A large part of our social lives revolves around drinking, whether you’re into sampling a fine bottle of aged whiskey or keeping things more low-key with some warming mugs of coffee. Here are all the essentials you need for a great drinks selection in your home that all your guests will be begging to try.
Soft drink options
Nearly every bar or pub going has some soft drink options for those of us who don’t drink, or who are driving that evening. Your home bar should be no different, especially as you could just as easily have a friend pop over in the middle of the day for a casual catch up. Alcohol isn’t always appropriate at this time, so it can be nice to be able to offer them something that is still as interesting, but just non-intoxicating. Bring the hipster coffee shop to your own front room with the help of websites like DontPayFull.com, where you can get discounts on the drinkware offered by major brands like Starbucks. Any coffee fiend will be able to tell the difference between an instant coffee and something of quality in a matter of seconds, so it can be worth investing in if you want to impress!
Know your spirits
Wine and beer are common options to offer your guests at home, but regarding what’s on your bar, it will probably be stocked mainly with spirits. It is a good idea to embrace a large variety so that you can cater to everyone’s tastes. Grab a few varieties of whiskey to start – a Scotch, a bourbon and maybe even a Japanese offering if you’re feeling daring. A good mid-range vodka or gin is also essential, and of course, you will need to get a selection of different mixers. Try and be a little adventurous with these – ditch supermarket Cola for an elderflower cordial, and try your hand at mixing fruity syrups into cocktails.
Get fancy with glassware
Just because you’re not running a professional bar doesn’t mean you can serve up your drinks in your old plastic cups you’ve had since you were at college. A few beautiful pieces of glassware go a long way towards making your drinks look extra fancy, and there are specific glasses designed for specific beverages. If whiskey is your thing, tumbler glasses are ideal for tasting the whiskey in drams, as it is meant to be served. Martini glasses and taller cocktail glasses are ideal for serving up interesting looking drinks and really helps to add to the whole experience. They aren’t even as expensive as you might think, as many high-street stores now stock affordable glassware that still looks good. Plus, that way, if you do experience a particularly tipsy guest and one of your glasses gets smashed, it won’t cost a fortune to replace it. If you really want to go all out with how you serve your drinks, get a few different garnish options, such as flowers or dried fruit.