With spring break narrowing in on us, (woo-hoo! even though I'm not in school anymore I celebrate spring break each year by spending a long weekend away), it's the appropriate time to stock up on a bar tool that you will use a lot once the warm weather hits hard. A muddler is essential to making juicy, refreshing mojitos and caipirinhas. Sure you could substitute a long wooden spoon, but I find nothing crushes a lime and releases the essence of mint as well as a muddler. The handy, crushing one I have at home is this simple beachwood muddler. It's $5.00, a pretty reasonable price considering all of the use you'll get out of it and I get double the use out of mine by using it as a pestle to crush herbs and spices. I prefer wood over any other material because it's easy to clean and will last forever. However if you want something a little more fancy, check out these options and read more
In an attempt to help you become the ultimate hostess, I have created the Ultimate Bar. Each week I'll feature an essential item for the ideal at home bar. You may not know what a bar measure is (I didn't until my friend Sonia gave me one as a hostess gift), but once you do, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
A bar measure is a tool that bartenders and mixologists use to measure liquids. A measuring cup is to a baker as a bar measure is to the cocktail-er. This tool is especially helpful to the bartending beginner. Until you learn more about ratios of alcohol to mixers, I recommend following the amounts stated in your recipes. You don't need anything fancy, this bar measure also serves as a shot glass and for only $2.99 the functionality will beat out the price in a week. The one Sonia gave me is similar to this glass, but is a little bit larger and I use it every time I try out a new cocktail recipe.
If you're in the mood for something a little more snazzy (your guests could see this while you are entertaining!), look at these other options. read more
Sweet & Sour mix is an important and necessary ingredient for the at home mixologist. Sour mix, as it's commonly called among bartenders, is used as the base of margaritas and as a component of countless other drinks. Essentially sour mix is a simple sugar syrup with citrus juice. If your bar is already stocked with a store bought, premade Sweet & Sour mix, I recommend you try making a homemade batch at least one time. You will find that homemade Sweet & Sour mix is one hundred times better than the processed stuff. Your drinks will be more flavorful and enjoyable. I guarantee that your guests will marvel at your excellent mixologist skills. It's super easy to make and your can keep it in a tight-lidded container refrigerated for a week. This is a must add to your recipe collection if you pride yourself on being a modern, trendy hostess. To see how to make your own Sweet & Sour mix, read more
Every week YumSugar highlights an essential tool for the ultimate kitchen. People are always asking her what her favorite kitchen tool is and in a response to this perpetual question, she is creating a list of kitchen must-haves and special splurges (attention brides: use this as a checklist when creating your registry!). Lately I've noticed that more and more people are asking me about what the perfect hostess should have in her bar. To answer this question I thought I would put together a list of important tools, glasses, and gadgets that The Ultimate Bar (for the ultimate at home mixologist) should have.
Let's start with a tool that no bar (or kitchen for that matter) should be without: a good, reliable corkscrew. I have tried out the more expensive rabbit screw pull gadget like wine openers (test for yourself: the one pictured is $100), yet the two that I had both broke after several months of use. That's why I prefer the leverage winged, modern spiral corkscrew. It's by far the most dependable and one of the easiest to use: as the center coil is screwed into the cork, the arms rise up. When you press the arms down, the cork extracts. In some circles this twin handled affordable ($9.99) corkscrew is referred to as the Charles de Gaulle. The top of most can also be used to remove bottle caps.
Two more corkscrews so read more