We at FAM waxed poetic about ten must have kitchen items in Man Musts: Ten Things Your Kitchen Needs, and decided we should indeed provide some insight into stacking your own home bar with the items of the utmost importance.
Keep in mind nobody judges you on the size or amount of fine mahogany in your home bar. It could be a tipped over refrigerator box, and faint candlelight. So long as you and your hooch have a place to be together. People might not want to go near you, but at least you are trying.
As for what to fill your generally manly bar with, we at FirstAndMonday are here to help. Take notes… not really, this is on the Internet, but note what we say in your alcohol soaked brain.
Ice Bucket & Tongs – Some people like it straight, and by the liver of Andrew Jackson we salute you. However sometimes, actually oftentimes, ice is needed. To avoid looking like a college apartment, or ill prepared family party, we don’t recommend a bag of ice and solo cup in the freezer. Get yourself a sweet ice bucket and tongs, fancy perhaps, bought at a thrift store perhaps, or stolen from a hotel perhaps. No matter the acquisition, keep it handy and ready to chill.
A Whiskey Row – While trendy beers are all the rave, Bud Light is the staple for NFL fans, and women like weird drinks that while delicious make even a Mojito meddling Earnest Hemingway cry, this is a Man Must bar – the staples of life-sustaining imbibing. Thus, you need to kick it off with a quick solution to any quarrel or business deal… whiskey. Like any good mercenary force of yore, we recommend starting with an Irishman and a Scotsman. For the Irish we recommend and nice middle-aged bottle, perhaps a Jameson 12 year or Bushmill’s 10, for the Scotch try Glenmorangie Original 10, Glenlivet 12, Laphroaig 10, or Highland Park 12. Things get hot and heavy quickly with scotch, so be prepared to want more expensive bottles. The same goes for the third must have in our whiskey row, the Rebel still, Bourbon. We’re not adverse to spending small fortunes on a good bourbon, but Maker’s Mark, Angel’s Envy, or Knob Creek will set you straight in that department. You can also add a Canadian to the mix, a rye, or some repeats of type, but a strong whiskey row gets your foot in the door at life. Or at least we tell ourselves that…
A Wine Decanter – First off we preface this by saying that like Teddy Roosevelt, we encourage a good, solid whiskey decanter. It’s just for show with such a high ABV, but nothing looks cooler than celebrating life by topping the crystalline phallus with it’s knobby glimmering cap. Yet we digress, and must return to the task at hand – decanting wine. There’s nothing girly about wine, as a huge Zinfandel or Pinot Noir, or classic Cabernet can finish off a nice cut of meat. Also, when in Rome, do as any naked Italian, and do it big (like a Barollo or Amarone). Yet to properly drink wine, it is best to let it open up. Younger wines longer, older immediately prior. It makes a difference in the glass, and also helps you look like you know what you are doing.
For those taking a more minimalist approach a Wine Aerator may fit your needs as well.
Five by Five of Bar Glassware – What’s a Five by Five? We’re not sure exactly, as we just made it up… Nonetheless, it’s a Pint Glass, Tulip Glass, Tumbler Glass, Wine Glass and Shot Glass, each five deep. This covers all your drinking bases to a degree (sorry port wine), and gives you enough for a small get together of minds. There’s nothing wrong by going 5×10 or more, but this is just to get things rolling. We also recommend a double shot glass, for those with giant balls or a rough day.
A Big Pirate and some Eastern European – This category is deceiving, we’re sorry. While we do recommend getting a handle of rum and vodka as our next list item, our Vodka of choice at FAM is Tito’s, proudly distilled in Austin, Texas. That said, get your favorite vodka and rum, and buy in bulk. When people get to tipping lighter boozes, they tip hard and heavy. Check out our own Bruce Harris’s list of the top handles in both categories under $30. We’d also recommend an expensive Mexican, perhaps Tequila Cazadores. Yet it’s not on the same level as not everyone like Tequila. We blame Trump.
A Corkscrew and bottle opener – Yep, the classic Winged ‘Butterfly’ Corkscrew solves both needs, but feel free to get one of each and show off your wares. There are far superior wine openers out there, so go nuts, but get what works for you, as some treat the cork itself a bit kinder for saving leftover wine. As for the bottle opener, avoid the cheese-dick singing or sound effect openers and get something a bit more cultured. Our recommendation? Find old “antique” bottle openers. Breweries were all over in times of past, and many produced bottle openers with their business specs to pass around to drunken workers. They are so prevalent they stay cheap ($5 or less at most shops), and it’s a conversation starter for when you are wasted and want to gab…
Coasters – Face it, getting drunk leads to getting messy; and “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” at any phase in a night of consumption. Save your bartop, tables, chair arms, and whatever else someone will set their cocktail on, and have plenty of coasters. There’s trendy beer brewery cardboard guy, and there’s cork and steel guy. We lean towards sandstone guy. With whichever guy you choose to align, know that guy will save face (surface face that is). Ten is a nice round number for us, making due for a fiver of card players drinking booze and beer.
12-Pack of Your Favorite Beer – While whiskey might take precedence in our minds, beer remains in our hearts and hands. Thus it’s always wise to keep a minimum of a 12-pack of YOUR favorite beer on hand. It’s your place, your beer. If someone wants a suds in your abode, drink on my style or bring your own. Whether Bud Light, Amstel, Guinness, the Banquet, Molson XXX, or some odd hipster brew, stock aplenty for when it’s one of those days, a case of the FirstAndMondays.
A Deck of Cards and Pair of Dice – Maybe it’s because alcohol in a group setting has historically caused partakers to lean hard on another vice – gambling. This hearkens back to the pubs of the Isles, the Bowery of New York, and saloons across now redneck areas. Or maybe it’s just because we at FAM are compulsive gamblers and drunkards. Regardless, a night of bourbon has a propensity for five card tournaments among the closest of friends, and nothing settles bets like rolling dice, except when you start doubling down… In our opines, impromptu gambling is always a good thing, unless of course you are one of those “Dude Get Help” gamblers. You should just be at a group.
Big Ass TV – As much as we like friends, and camaraderie, we also love sports. When drinking, more-so than anything else outside an IV and maybe aspirin, there is nothing we need more in our bar than a giant ass TV. We said we were not going to judge your bar, and we won’t, but you better get a sweet screen for March Madness, college football season, or on those lonely drinking nights… porn.