Martha's Essentials for a Complete Bar

on 12/11/10 at 12:38 pm

Spirits

Does your home bar look like this? Uh, mine doesn't either

A well-stocked liquor cabinet is a good host’s secret weapon. Keep these basic types of alcohol, mixers and tools on hand, and you’ll be able to offer guests a wide range of drinks.

Beer. Ales and stouts are good choices for winter, whereas lagers taste most refreshing in the summer. Unopened beer can be stored at room temperature and then chilled before serving. Once you’ve chilled beer, though, it must be consumed before it warms up, or its flavor will be spoiled.

Wine. Store wine on its side or upside down, below 70 degrees and in a temperature-controlled wine fridge if you have an extensive collection.

Vodka. More of a surefire crowd-pleaser than gin, vodka is your No. 1 must-have clear liquor. Sip it chilled and neat, or use it for vodka martinis, vodka tonics, greyhounds, lemon drops, Bloody Marys or White Russians. Store spirits at room temperature (below 80 degrees), and try to use open bottles within a year, since they may spoil over time. It’s fine to chill vodka in the freezer for a party, but it begins to thicken after a few months in there.

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