For awhile now Google has had its Popular Times feature which allows you to view a summary of a specific location's general busyness based on Google's metadata. But now - just in time for holiday shopping - you can do it all in real time...
Look, we love a solid cocktail bar. It's an awesome experience to meet up with some co-workers for happy hour, or connect with a friend or date over something shaken or stirred and served in a quality glass. But there's something to be said for sipping at home. Most importantly, it's much less expensive. Bar and restaurants try to keep their food and liquor costs to 20-25%, which means that $12 martini is actually made up of only $3.00 of ingredients. But we also can't argue with the value of staying home, whipping something up for your partner or friends on the fly in the warm, quite confines of your own living room. (Pajama pants optional).
And while we have no problem dropping some serious change on a truly elegant whiskey or craft spirit, the truth is: most mixed drinks don't actually require the highest end of spirits. So, if you're looking to experiment with crafting your own drinks, but don't want to invest mega bucks in a full fleet of top-shelf spirits, it's time to learn how to stock your home bar or bar cart on a budget.
Keeping the home bar stocked with the recommended staples takes a bit of planning, but even the best stocked cabinet is useless without the tools to make them right. Here’s our list of 10 essentials to outfit your bar with everything you need to make those drinks right.
Stocking a solid home bar takes a bit of planning, or lots of experimenting. I built my bar a few bottles at a time, but looking back it would have been nice to have a solid list. Here are my essentials that will make the majority of drinks on the menu.
We've all seen them. We're walking around some urban gathering of boutiques, restaurants, and the like, and we stumble across some new bar with an aesthetic that inspires us to say..."Man, that's going to look so 2012 in a couple of years." You know the place: the bartenders arm garters, everything's served in mason jars, and there's probably a meat cleaver in the logo.
Frustrated with unnecessarily high prices for unnecessarily flimsy discount store kitchen carts, Andrew decided to get creative and whipped up an industrial-styled bar cart.
This summer, move beyond cans and a cooler of ice, and create a sturdy, portable bar cart for your outdoor cocktail parties and grill-filled get-togethers. This option is made from cedar dimensional lumber, so it can not only stand up to the elements, but it's a great project for those without a table saw and a bunch of fancy woodworking tools.
In an ideal world, we'd all have fantastic kitchens and dining rooms, with enough cabinet space and hidden storage for all the food, tools, and utensils one could ever need, all out of sight. But, most of us don't, and we're forced to leave some items out for view, particularly urban apartment dwellers.
If you're without an adequate home bar or liquor cabinet space, a great solution is
Trust me: you want to be the guy with the bottle opener. At a party or small gathering, you'll be the guy everyone talks to. For those times when pick up your sweetheart and some longnecks to go watch the sunset. Or for the many, many reasons you'll need one on vacation or a work-related trip.
My go-to options are the wall-mounted one I picked up at a restaurant supply store and a double-hinged wine key that I use for everything, but each of these is a well-designed heirloom item that'll have you opening bottles just so you have an excuse to use it.
You usually can't tell what kind of bar you're in within the first five minutes. You've got to sit for a minute, watch the other patrons, let the jukebox play a few selections, let the bartenders do their thing, perhaps even order some food. Sure, you may know you're in a dive by the general smell and look at the place, but it'll take a round or two to know whether you're in a great dive.
The visual appeal of this killer vintage Silvertone television is obvious, but even if it did work, it likely would be rather tough to watch when the average mobile phone has a better resolution, and get likely get more channels.
So, when Dylan and Bethany stumbled across it in a secondhand shop, they took it home, and did what anyone might. They built a bar out of it.
High-end, underlit, swanky joints and well-worn, leathery pubs alike have it in common: a lot of bottles of spirits. On first glance, even the smallest restaurant with a liquor license will seem to have just a few selections, but start counting, and you'll realize that most bartended spots have, on average, around 35-40 bottles, with many going up to into the hundreds.
For the home mixmaster, that can be intimidating. You're interested in creating classic and contemporary cocktails alike, but have neither the budget, the space, nor the use for even an average restaurant-style selection.
Knowing the basic recipes for a few classic cocktails, and the proper way to shake or stir them up, is a classic guy skill. But they rely, of course, on a first step: having the proper home bar staples around so you can show off your cocktail-making skills whenever you have guests over.
Margaritas are simple drinks, though most of us wouldn't know it. We've been weaned on the sweetened, frozen, bright green slushies that replaced the classic margarita in Tex Mex restaurants in the 1970s.
But a real margarita, made not from a mix but 100% pure agave tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juce, is all about brightness and freshness. As such, use a silver or blanco tequila, so the oak-aged flavors of a reposado or an añejo don't interfere with the high-end crispness of the Cointreau and the kick of fresh-squeezed lime. If you do need a little sweetener, dissolve just a touch of sugar in the lime juice before shaking...but try the original, at least once, and see what you think.
ManMade reader Stephen sent in this heads-up on an awesome sound festival that happened last week: BarBot 2010, a cocktail party served by RoboBartenders. Imagine the soundtrack - a little 8-bit bossa nova? Some Switched-On Esquivel! or Moog-y Martin Denny?
"BarBot is a celebration of cocktail culture and man-machine interface. Get a drink from an actual robot. Chat up a snarky electronic bartender. Listen to some graceful tunes being played by robotic music makers. And, after downing your sixth martini, you can finally admit that it’s the geeks who shall inherit the earth."
It seems like the original cocktail making robot fest is Roboexotica in Germany, where the robots above and below - Hobot and Bar2D2- were featured.