Your Home Bar, Part III of V: Mixers and Other Ingredients

Updated: May 21, 2011 09:46
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Last week on “Your Home Bar,” we outlined the tools you’ll need if you wanna be a bar star. You’ll need a couple more things before you can have that fancy cocktail party without being laughed out of town.

Booze is terrifically yummy (and effective!) by itself, but not everyone likes it neat (that’s code for “plain and room-temperature”). We’ll call them “pussies.” I’m a pussy myself, in fact; I’d much prefer to be taking my vodka in the company of some grapefruit juice, for example. Therefore, I and many other borderline alcoholics find that certain mixers and other ingredients are necessary. Remember, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Take note:

  • Pop: Or soda, or coke, or whatever you heathens call it. We’ll need some cola, some ginger ale, Sprite or one of its many knockoffs, club soda (aka sparkling water at Trader Joe‘s), and tonic.
  • Juice: orange, grapefruit, cranberry, pineapple, tomato, and whatever else you can get your hands on. Some people like to foray into clamato territory, but I personally find that disgusting.
  • Flavors: I wasn’t really sure what to call this category, but it basically consists of (duh) ingredients you might use to flavor your drinks. You might want to hook up with some bitters as well as some sour mix. DIY this by stirring together one part each of sugar, water, lime juice, and lemon juice. Finally, keep your pantry on hand: salt, sugar, hot sauce, whipped cream, etc.
  • Garnishes: Some actually enhance the flavors of your drinks! Green olives, tiny onions if that’s your thing (and if it’s not, you hate cute things and therefore AMERICA), citrus fruits, ginger, maybe some fresh herbs, celery or other weird things you like to put in bloody marys, and — my favorite! — maraschino cherries. I could eat those ripe, red, sweet harbingers of happiness all g-d day.
  • Drink mixes: for when you’re extra-lazy! They make margarita mix, bloody mary mix, Long Island mix, daiquiri mix… Some of them even come with the alcohol already in them! Could things possibly be any better?
  • Salty snacks: Not an essential for making a drink, but you know people wanna get their drunchies (drunk munchies) on once they knock a few back. In the absence of classy hors d’oeuvres, buy a jar of peanuts or a bag of pretzels to keep on hand. Better yet, invest in a popcorn machine! What could possibly go wrong?
  • A place to keep all this crap: Mini-fridge? Regular fridge? An actual bar? A dedicated space in your cabinet? It’s just nice to keep all your booze and extras in one spot for ease and style. I got the service cart that houses my bottles and tools from a sidewalk.

Next time: Stretch That Booze, Son!

Image courtesy of Dine Art

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Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet
through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism
to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she
has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis
, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving
to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an
online operative for such fine folks as , Neo-Factory, and
Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making,
dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she
wants is a margarita as big as her face.