We've discussed the very beginnings of a bar before, but a few weeks ago I had a chance to put some of these ideas into practice.
I was in Los Angeles for a conference, and had the opportunity to crash with some friends from undergrad. One of these friends has long been intrigued by cocktails ever since he, John, and I nearly had Craigie to ourselves for a night thanks to a few feet of freshly fallen snow, but never found the time to start his own bar. It would have been a shame to waste an opportunity to help him see that through.
The weekend before my flight I dropped by the Boston Shaker and put together a basic kit: shaker, jigger, spoon, julep strainer, and a set of Tovolo ice cube trays. Upon arrival I presented him with the gift, essentially guilting him into a trip to BevMo and an earnest start to his bar. Although to be fair, I don't think much guilt was actually involved.
We began with two classics that any self-respecting enthusiast should master: the Martini and the Manhattan. Plymouth and the vermouths were easy enough to find, but the Sazerak took some searching before we found a single bottle precariously placed on top of a display case. Not wanting to risk a rye-free night, we took the bottle and quickly paced over to check-out.
Teaching an engineer how to mix drinks is a delight. Given the basic steps, their underlying motivations, and a few examples, my friend was quick to pick up on the technique and by the end of my trip he was well on his way to a great bar.