Sure, we know what you’re thinking – cleaning isn’t the sexiest thing we could talk about when it comes to your home bar but what can we say … if you’re home right now, you probably have the time …
And realistically if you want to create those dynamic little cocktails for yourself and your housemates, then you’re going to need a home bar that’s ship-shape and Bristol fashion.
Really, this period of self-distancing is the ideal time to do a little inventory and sort, purge and replace – a little spring clean for your bar, shall we say.
Beyond that though, it’s also a great time to start bring in systems that will keep your home bar on spec for the rest of the year.
Below are a few tips that will keep order and bring unity of cleanliness not only to your bar but also your drinks
Everything in its place
Without sounding all too Marie Kondo-ish, everything behind your bar should, as we imagine it does in your kitchen, have its own designated place.
Whether you’re making drinks for a few friends or just pulling together a nightcap for yourself, you should be almost able to close your eyes and put your hand out for whatever tool you need.
There is nothing that stops the flow of creation more than not being able to find your jigger or shaking up a cocktail, opening up the tins, only to realise you have no idea where your fine strainer is located.
Your home bar should be set-up like a working bar at all times. If you look at the way that commercial bars (remember those …) are set up, you’ll quickly realise that everything has its place. This was not only done to increase the speed of service but also to achieve a sense of cleanliness and order.
Anyone who’s ever worked in a bar will know the importance of this rule but even if you haven’t, cleaning as-you-go is a basic hospitality rule.
And we don’t just mean making sure that you wash your glasses before the end of the night.
Cleaning as you go means that you wash out your shaker tins and other equipment, you wipe down surfaces and particularly wipe down bottles and return them to their place at the end of every serve.
You might feel like an idiot standing there polishing the glassware that you’re going to use but trust me your guests will thank you for it.
Fruit flies are not your friend
If you want to attract fruit flies and any other vermin, there is one simple rule – leave bananas out. But really any bit of fruit or citrus can achieve the same end and often quicker than you think.
We’ve all been tempted when making multiple Margaritas to leave a Lime on the counter after cutting a wedge or forgetting about that half a lime that is sitting in the hand press juicer. But even though you might have forgotten, fruit fries have a sixth sense and can zero in one anything not properly stored.
The few minutes it takes to cover or refrigerate the rest of that lime will seem like nothing compared to the time you will spend in battle, trying to eliminating that fruit fly family that has now decided that self-distancing doesn’t include them.
And don’t just wipe down and disinfect the most obvious surfaces, also attend to anywhere that might have been splattered.
Move with purpose
As anyone who has made a lot of drinks for friends will attest, it doesn’t take long for a mess to amass.
But slowing down can actually make you more efficient with time. Rather than rushing, allow every action to have a purpose. In this way, you not only improve your time-in-motion but you can get things done much more efficiently and cleanly.
Paying attention to your movements can help, too in working out where the mess comes from. Does the bottle dribble as you finish pouring? Do you spill on the outside of the tin?
After a few cocktails, small messes like this turn your home bar into a sticky disaster.
Pay constant attention to every movement you make, watch where the mess comes from, learn how to eliminate the mess, and soon enough it’ll become an unthinking habit.
Shake it up
Although it doesn’t happen often, it’s not unheard of for a Boston shaker to break apart mid-shake. Alternatively, if the seal isn’t strong liquid could escape or the glass could go flying.
On the off chance that anything like this could happen, it is wise to always shake parallel to your guests. While keeping your bar clean is an aim, keeping your guests clean is a priority.
Of course, you never plan on letting the tin slip out of your hands or having the seal break mid-shake, and with enough practice that shouldn’t happen very often, but there’s every reason to work in such a way as to minimize the damage when it does