Having our own home bar to entertain friends and family gives us the freedom to make any drink we choose. There are no limits, so why create a home bar cocktail menu?
We want our guests to have a good experience and have the drink they want. So creating a bar menu would surely restrict what we can offer our guests. These are good points, however I will explain in this article why it makes sense to have your own bar menu.
Why Create A Home Bar Cocktail Menu?
Because it keeps things organised and simple. You know exactly what you need to make every drink on your menu. You won’t have to stock a huge range of spirits and mixers, plus you won’t have to stock drinks that are hardly ever requested. A home bar cocktail menu makes perfect sense and is fun too.
Do You Really Need A Home Bar Cocktail Menu?
While a cocktail menu is not a necessity it does make things easier in your home bar. Your guests know exactly what is on offer. Many people can’t think what they want to drink when asked, so your menu gives them a clear picture.
If you include classic and popular cocktails then there will always be a drink to suit most people.
Also you know what drinks you need to stock to make the cocktails on your menu. This will keep your stock at a manageable level.
Having a cocktail menu is not only convenient, but it will impress your guests too. Whether you have a plaque on the wall or a leather bound book style menu your guests will love it.
What Cocktails Should I Put On My Home Bar Menu?
There are no rules to what cocktails you should include on your home bar menu. However there are a few things to take into consideration when creating the menu.
The goal is to create a menu that is simple and contains drinks that you are confident in making. You want to have fun, so don’t include complicated cocktails.
The main things to think about when creating your cocktail menu.
- How many cocktails to include.
- Permanent or seasonal cocktail menu.
- Pick Simple Cocktails
- Consider glassware
- Consider Equipment
- Invent your own cocktails
- Make your menu easy to read
This list is not comprehensive, but it will get you on the way to creating a simple but effective cocktail menu.
How Many Cocktails To Include
You would have to stock a lot of drinks to create all the cocktails in the world.
There are literally thousands of cocktail recipes online and in bars around the world. However the International Bartenders Association (IBA) only recognise 77 cocktails.
At least that cuts it down a lot, but 77 is still way too many and would still need a massive stock of different spirits, mixers and syrups for a home bar to carry.
Remember keep it as simple as possible, you don’t want to be making loads of different cocktails.
Is there a perfect number to include? No but 6 would be a good number and easily manageable. If you want more then that is fine, but I wouldn’t go beyond 12 cocktails for the reasons already mentioned.
Once you have your core cocktail range you can monitor how they work. If one cocktail never gets asked for then drop it and add a different one.
Maybe another cocktail gets requested a lot by your guests, just add it to your menu. Your bar menu will be easy to tweak and can be changed as and when you like.
Permanent Or Seasonal Cocktail Menu
Although you can tweak your cocktail menu, it is a good idea to decide the type of menu you will have.
A permanent menu will keep things easy and you will master those cocktails. It will also keep your stock control simple.
A seasonal menu will concentrate on what drinks are popular at what time of the year. The summer menu may include a Tequila Sunrise or a simple Margarita. While the winter menu may include a mulled wine or snowflake.
The seasonal menu will obviously keep things fresh, although each season will require different ingredients to stock.
The permanent menu doesn’t have to be boring, as long as you have some great classic cocktails that most people like. Also on top of this you can do the odd special cocktail written out on a separate board, like a chalk board.
Pick Simple Cocktails
Steer away from cocktails that have an array of special ingredients and are hard to make. Simple is best and it will keep your home bar a fun place to be for you and your guests.
A straightforward cocktail is not only easy to master, but also normally quick to make. There is nothing worse than keeping a thirty guest waiting.
So pick cocktails you are confident in making and doesn’t require specialist ingredients that may be hard to find.
Another thing to consider is your glassware, try to pick cocktails that use a few different glasses.
A Mojito, Screwdriver, Tom Collins and a Tequila Sunrise can all use a highball glass. That is four of your cocktails that all use the same glass.
A Martini, Manhattan and Cosmopolitan can all use the classic Martini style glass. You don’t want to be buying as many glasses as you do ingredients to service a huge list of cocktails.
Consider Your Cocktail Equipment
The more complicated cocktails you decide to add to your menu could mean more equipment. Apart from costing money they all take up space too.
With a simple cocktail list the chances are you will only need the basic cocktail tools.
Before a cocktail makes your menu, make sure you know how it is made. This will make sure you can keep the equipment to a minimum.
Invent You Own Cocktails
This might sound a bit daunting, however it doesn’t have to be. Your cocktails are for your own home bar, you are not producing them for commercial reasons.
The easiest way to invent your own cocktails is to pick a classic and put your own spin on it. Add a different mixer, or a different garnish.
Play with the ingredients of a well known cocktail and deconstruct and reconstruct slightly different. You may fall upon a really cool cocktail.
Put a spin on the name too, add a personal touch to your cocktails. This is a fun way to make and serve cocktails at your home bar.
Make Your Menu Easy To Read
If you are designing your own menu it is a good idea to make it simple and easy to read. All that is needed is the name of the title and a short description or ingredients list.
There is nothing worse than reading through a long winded and complicated menu. Apart from maybe a menu that is unreadable because of the colors or font used.
So keep in mind the readability of your menu, font type and color, as well as the the size of the font and the background color.
Keeping it simple will provide your guests with the best experience.
How To Make A Cocktail Menu?
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The cocktail menu in the image is a ready made menu that can be fixed to the wall or bar.Check Latest Price
There are several ways to make a drinks menu for your home bar.
First you can simply just type out a menu on your computer and print it off. This can then be hung near the bar or put on the bar top.
If you want to jazz it up a little then laminate it or frame it. This will also preserve it for longer.
Second is going a step further than just typing and printing. Use an online graphic design tool, I use Canva and they have plenty of templates for all kinds of things.
They even have a selection of cocktail menu templates to use which give some great design options. The best thing is Canva is simple to use and free too.
Pick a design, add your cocktails and print, it’s that simple. Again you can laminate or frame your specially designed bar menu.
Third is buying a chalk board and writing your cocktails on manually. This is ideal if you are changing your cocktails regularly. Also it is easy to drop one and add another.
The fourth method is to buy a ready made cocktail menu. This is ideal if you can’t make up your mind which cocktails you want.
Most ready made cocktail menus come in tin and can fix to a wall like the one in the image. They also mainly include classic and popular cocktails with ingredients listed too.
Creating a cocktail menu is well worth it for a home bar. It keeps things organised and simple. It doesn’t have to be just cocktails, you can add beers, wines and soft drinks too.
The important part of a drinks menu is to give your guests a clear picture of what you can serve and to keep it easy for you. After all you don’t want your home bar to become like a job.
It’s all about the fun of having your own bar and enjoying yourself with friends and family.
If you have any other tips and ideas about a home bar cocktail menu then do share your thoughts below.