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Amanda Mizirawi
 
October 1, 2015 | Spirits Education | Amanda Mizirawi

TCA - The Minimalist Bar

Hello folks! We have been in the throes of moving, but setting up in our new place has been awesome! We can't wait to show it off to y'all. Here’s a sneak peak of our office, we have a noir/gumshoe theme going on right now.

This post is a little more technical than feeling the wind in your hair from the seat of a scooter racing through SF. Nonetheless, technical is often necessary. So here we go!

What does it take to have a minimalist bar? *

I've been trying to stock my home bar with the basic essentials so that whenever I want a common drink, it doesn't require a 20 minute run to the store and a $50 spontaneous grocery bill. I discovered the other night that I don't have a versatile bar. I can pour you any spirit on the rocks, but regarding the whole mixology fun, I don't have much in the way of cocktails from which to choose. (my next post should be about what makes up a cocktail) 

 
If you are like me, which is just starting out with a home bar and have limited storage space, it's a tricky deal to get the most out of your bar without sacrificing that much shelf space. I currently tuck my bar away on a shelf in my butcher block. The dishes that were housed there are trying to find a new home as we speak. Therefore, I have to keep it simple and this is something vital for me to figure out now before I have no more room for dishes...  
 
During my research, I discovered it can get quite opinionated and sometimes even heated in differing ideas. There are books written on it, blog posts spewing ideas with arguments in the comments. Even when I was talking to some of my colleagues, they had their own different ideas. The nitty gritty of it all is that our palate will dictate what we enjoy, or don't enjoy.

I have narrowed down that the decision stems from: is a personal bar or an entertaining bar? I'm currently leaning toward a personal bar with the option for a handful of well-known drinks for a handful of close friends. We will see how this evolves.  
 
I decided to follow my bartending friend's advice. She said, “Always be able to make a long island at any given time and have a form of whiskey.” It consolidated all the advice I was receiving. What spirits are in a long island you ask? Easy!  
 
Vodka 
Gin 
Light Rum 
Tequila 
Triple Sec 
 
Two things not included in a traditional long island I want to keep on hand: 
Whiskey, I was told to keep Bourbon, 
Dark Rum 

To have a bit more flexibility, add dry and sweet vermouth. I read that you should buy small bottles and keep it in the fridge if you won't go through it quickly. 

Something else I have been told is mandatory for a versatile bar is bitters. If you have ever been in the NVD bar shop, it's great if you know what you are doing. Otherwise, it’s overwhelming for beginners.  I didn’t even know where to start! After talking to Paul, our tasting room manager, he gave me a list to always have on hand.   


Aromatic
Orange 
Creole
Celery 
Lemon


I grabbed a travel pack of Berg & Haucks bitters set, it has all of the above. 

 
Next up is Mixers: Simple syrup, lemons, lime, sugar, and salt. Cherries and oranges if you like 

old fashioned’s, manhattans, etc. I always have lemons around, but the other stuff I only have raw cane sugar which doesn’t dissolve well. I want to make my own simple syrup, but for now I bought a bottle. I also will be looking for some flavored syrups and shrubs with fun tastes. The Bang Candy Peach Basil that was included In the June Bar Club shipment is awesome, I’ve had it in a mojito and margarita, and will definitely keep that around. 

 
Tools: 
Shaker, pint glass, hawthorn strainer, bar spoon, muddler (I have yet to buy a muddler. I use an ice cream scoop or wooden tart molder) 
 
Glassware:  
Rocks, tumbler, martini, and champagne flute. This is what I have on hand.  
 
Also anything that you know you love, for example, I love scotch. I can drink it neat. I make sure to keep a bottle of that around, especially for when my dad comes to visit. 

As you might have noticed, I don't have everything on that has been recommended to keep on hand. I now have my shopping list. Well this wraps up what I’ve learned so far. What have you found you like to keep on hand? Feel free to comment!
 
Until next time, 
Amanda


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

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