Drinking Culture

Once considered the epitome of domestic comfort and luxury, the home bar fell somewhat into oblivion. But now it’s making a stylish comeback.
Text Iris Soltau
Photo Tanqueray

Drinking owes much of its glamorous appeal to stars like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, not to mention Bing Crosby, of course. And the best way to emulate those idols was with a home bar. As early as the 1930s, magazines advertised home bars as probably the single best invention of the modern age, and by the 1950s and 1960s, the home bar had successfully conquered living rooms, dens and family rooms all over. Drinking at home was fashionable and chic, the bars were fully stocked, good times guaranteed.

A unique form of the home bar was the Zoffoli Bar Globe, a world globe that opens to reveal a liquor cabinet inside. The bar globe was an instant hit, allowing homeowners and their guests to drink their way around the world. Then came the 1970s, when almost every home had to have a party cellar: a smoky, often wood-paneled room with a light organ, club-style ashtrays and questionable drinks such as cherry liqueur and apple schnapps, which did not necessarily testify to one’s worldliness, but at least to an unconditional desire to drink and make merry.

And today? The home bar is back in style. One reason for its revival is that more people these days know the meaning of a good drink. It’s easy to expand your knowledge at a gin tasting evening, try out new whiskeys at the local microdistillery or just experiment with new taste combinations. And what better place to do so than within one’s own four walls. Though there are a few points you should keep in mind. The bar should be in a place where everyone can gather around. Near the dining table, for example, where you have enough room to work. That way you can prepare the drinks in front of your guests and chat at the same time. Another good idea is a small liquor trolley that you can push to where it is needed. You just need to make sure that the bottles aren’t exposed to direct sunlight, because that alters the liquor’s taste.

And today? The home bar is back in style. One reason for its revival is that more people these days know the meaning of a good drink.

But the most important thing is to keep your home bar stocked with premium-quality spirits and mixers. Drinks like gin and tonics, gin fizzes or gimlets are good for beginners, so you should always have a good gin on hand. Like the classic London dry gin from Tanqueray, whose four classic botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice – make it the perfect basis for almost any gin cocktail.

The most important tool to keep in your home bar is the cocktail shaker. Though you’ll also need a strainer to remove the ice from a mixed drink when pouring it into the serving glass. Plus a jigger, a mixing glass with bar spoon and an ice bucket with tongs, and your house bar is complete. A cutting board and a sharp knife are also essential. What else? Good-humored guests and the right music. Something by Sinatra, of course.

Fancy your own home bar?

We're giving away this starter package on Instagram, including glasses, a cocktail set and three high-quality Tanqueray Gin.

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