Set Up A Home Martini Bar
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Easy and Elegant
Setting up a home martini bar is an easy and elegant way to entertain. You can go as simple as just offering classic martinis to elaborate variations of flavors and garnishes. Wondering how to set up a martini bar for a party? Our guide will help you put together the perfect home martini bar for a foolproof party. Remember the music – classic jazz is always appropriate.
The Essentials: Liquors
Let’s start with the classics. You’ll need a gin and a vodka. Since these are the main ingredients, choose something that is good enough to sip on its own.
Next we need a few flavor components. At the bare minimum, dry vermouth is essential. Adding sweet vermouth and Rose’s lime cordial will allow you to expand your martini choices.
- Dry vermouth
- Sweet vermouth
- Rose’s lime cordial
The Essentials: Garnishes
Just mentioning a martini will usually bring to mind a classic cocktail glass with olives. That would be the garnish if you were only offering one option.
The standard olive garnish is the classic pimento stuffed green olive. You can offer variety with olives stuffed with blue cheese, garlic, almonds, or even anchovies.
Widen your garnish options to include lemon twists, cocktail onions, and lime wheels and now your guests can make a nice variety of martini variations.
- Green olives stuffed with pimento
- Lemon twists
- Cocktail onions
- Lime wheels
The Essentials: Classic Martinis
Now with just vodka, gin, the vermouths and Rose’s you can make these classic cocktails:
- Dry martini – Vodka or Gin, dry vermouth, garnished with olives or a lemon twist
- Perfect martini – Vodka or Gin, sweet and dry vermouth .
- Dirty martini – Vodka or Gin, dry vermouth and a splash of olive brine. Olive garnish of course.
- Gibson – Gin, dry vermouth, garnished with a cocktail onion.
- Gimlet – Gin, Rose’s sweetened lime juice, garnished with a lime wheel.
We made a Printable Recipe Card with these classic martinis.
Just print it on card stock, cut it into 4 individual cards and use menu holders to place them at your martini bar.
The Essentials: Equipment
With a few pieces of equipment, you’ll be ready to mix up a martini with style. The essentials include:
- Mixing glass
- Mixing spoon
- Cocktail strainer
- Cocktail picks
- Cocktail shaker
- Martini glasses
- Ice bucket
A classic martini is stirred, not shaken. Stirring with ice allows the drink to chill and come to a proper dilution. Stirring also maintains the perfectly clear and silky qualities of the martini. Shaking is used if the ingredients contain heavier ingredients such as eggs or dairy.
We like the larger 24 ounce size mixing glass because it allows you to make more than one drink at a time, yet isn’t too big for just a single drink.
A bar mixing spoon is more versatile than just a stirring spoon. The long handle reaches to the bottom of nearly any container. The shallow bowl is also perfect for layering drink components. It’s also great for picking up an olive without too much brine.
The easiest way to get your martini from the mixing glass to your cocktail glass is with a strainer. Whether you use a Hawthorne style strainer with the coil, or the sleek Julep style strainer is a matter of personal preference.
A cocktail pick will perfectly skewer and hold an olive or three. You can rest the garish across the top of the glass, and pour your martini over them. You can also slowly stir your martini with your pick, letting the olives infuse more flavor into your drink. They allow for mess free nibbling of your olive without using your fingers.
A 4 inch pick is the perfect size for a 6 ounce glass. We like these stainless steel ones as they are reusable (dishwasher safe), and have a nice heft.
There will always be someone that insists on a ‘shaken not stirred’ martini. Go ahead and indulge their inner James Bond, you’re having a party. We like this shaker as it coordinates nicely with the mixing glasses. The 17 ounce size is perfect for a single drink.
You can’t have a martini bar without martini glasses. We definitely have opinions on glasses. We like martin glasses with stems. Held by the stem your hands won’t warm up the drink too quickly. We like glasses in the 4 to 5 ounce capacity so your martini is drinkable before it loses its chill.
We love these martini glasses. They have a great weight, are dishwasher safe, and come in various sized sets. The 4.5 ounce size is more than ample for a martini, and perfect with the 4” cocktail picks.
Ice is an essential ingredient of a martini. Ice cools the drink, and adds a bit of dilution. The added water will actually help to bring out the flavors of the vermouths, and make the cocktail much more sippable.
Don’t underestimate the amount of ice you may need. Each drink will need a good amount in the mixing process. Keep an extra bag or two in the freezer to replenish the ice bucket.
We like the 3 quart capacity of this ice bucket. It’s also insulated to keep the ice from melting too quickly. Remove the lid and it can be used as a wine chiller.
Flavored martinis can be considered a modern version of the classics. They still have a high proof base, usually vodka, that is combined with flavored liqueurs. Fruit juices, syrups, even dairy can be used to round out the flavors.
You can offer flavored martinis by supplementing your bar with a few additional ingredients.
We’ll look at just a few as an example to inspire your creativity.
- Apple Martini
- Chocolate Martini
- Lemon Drop
2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce Cointreau, splash of cranberry juice
2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce green apple schnapps
2 ounces vodka, 1.5 ounces creme de cacao
2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce lemon juice, .5 ounce simple syrup
These are just a few of the endless varieties of flavored martinis. You can find recipes for just about any flavor that appeals to you. Apple pie, gingerbread, coconut, even hot peppers – the choice is nearly endless.
With just a few additional ingredients you can offer an impressive range of martinis.
A few key ingredients along with a few pieces of essential equipment and your martini bar will be ready for guests. An evening of classic martinis or a gathering with holiday themed drinks is as simple as putting together a few things. Adding a few extra ingredients and you can have exactly the martini experience you want.