Bar Building Blog

Bar front Panel Moldings by Hardwoods Incorporated

Coming soon to the Hardwoods Incorporated bar front parts store; Bar front panel moldings in poplar, oak, cherry, maple, mahogany and walnut ready for prompt shipment nationwide. We also provide custom milling of our bar front panel moldings in a variety of other wood species upon request.Bar front panel molding 1This side profile shows the notch which is 1/4″ x 3/4″ designed to cover our bar front trim planks and standard plywood thicknesses available in 8′ lengths.Bar front panel molding 2When you combine bar front panel moldings with our fluted columns and bar front trim kits you can create a nice deep recessed panel bar front that is perfect for both home bar and commercial bar applications. For more information on these panel moldings and all of our bar building products and resources checkout our website or call us 1-844-BAR-RAIL

Thank you for considering Hardwoods Incorporated your one stop bar building shop.

3 Things to Consider When Planning Your Basement Bar

Building a Home Bar - Hardwoods Inc

You’re ready to get started building that home bar you’ve always dreamed of, and have decided your basement is the perfect location. Basement bars are great – We’ve seen tons of amazing basement bar spaces!

Before you get started, you have lots of planning to do to make your home bar the talk of the neighborhood. Here are 3 major things to consider when planning your basement bar:

Location Matters

Chances are you’ve already got that ideal spot in your basement picked out. But will that spot be an ideal location for everything you need to build your bar? Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when finalizing your basement bar’s location:


  • Level floor: Basements are notorious for having uneven floors. You wouldn’t want to have to build a sturdy, solid bar over warped or bumpy flooring, which can cause extra construction complications or cause your finished product to not look as polished as you’d like.
  • Proximity to utilities: With your bar, you’re likely going to want electricity to run blenders or other small appliances, or plumbing for a sink, or maybe both. Running electricity across the room isn’t nearly as expensive a project as relocating plumbing, so either reconsider your bar’s location or the amenities you want to include.
  • Space: Depending on the design and goals for your bar, you could need a fair amount of space. If you have grand designs of hosting your friends for game day, but are short on space, you may need to re-think your design or the location.

Keep It Dry

A common problem in basement construction – bars or otherwise – is running into moisture issues. Whether you have just a little dampness, some mold and musty smells, or you get full-on flooding when it rains, water and basement bars don’t mix.

Before moving forward with construction on your bar, get any underlying moisture or flooding issues dealt with, at the very least in the area where you’ll build your bar. It would be a shame to spend all that time and money on a gorgeous hardwood bar, only to have it develop moisture damage or rot because of the conditions in the basement. If necessary, install a basement de-watering system to help keep things dry.

Make It Cozy

Sometimes, basements can be cold, sparse, and uncomfortable. Think of how unpleasant it is to stand on that concrete floor for a long time!

One of the keys to creating a welcoming environment for your guests, one where they want to stay and hang out for a while, is adding some elements of comfort to the area surrounding your bar. Consider adding carpeting or, if that’s not possible, some large area rugs to make the floor feel less hard. Buy padded stools and comfy couches or armchairs to encourage your guests to lounge and enjoy a game or just some great conversation. If you’ve got space, add in a pool table, dart boards, or other fun games. The more welcoming your home bar, the less likely your friends are to go somewhere else to hang out!


Exceptional Hardwood Bar Building Supplies

At Hardwoods Inc., we have made it our mission to help our customers get the basement bars of their dreams. That’s why, in addition to providing high-quality hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and other bar building supplies, we provide a collection of helpful bar-building resources. And, if you can’t find the answer to your question there, just reach out and one of our bar-building experts will help!

5 Cocktails to Master for At-Home Bartending

5 Cocktails to Master for At-Home Bartending- Hardwoods Incorporated

Now that you’ve mastered 7 basic bartending skills and can impress your friends, you need to build a mental library of basic cocktails you can whip up at a moment’s notice!

Sure, being able to mix up a complicated drink is sure to delight your guests, and plain beer has its place, but there’s nothing quite like mastering a tried-and-true crowd-pleasing cocktail to level up your parties. Get good at making these 5 cocktails, and your friends are sure to want to stop by anytime for a drink:



What good is a party without someone making a James Bond joke? And if you can get a martini down pat, you’re sure to hear “Shaken, not stirred” at least once.

The beauty of the simple martini is you can change it up to suit different tastes. Serve it on the rocks for the guest who likes it cold, or add a splash of olive juice if someone wants a dirty martini.



2 oz vodka or gin

Dash of dry vermouth

Stir or shake all ingredients together. Garnish with olives.



As sophisticated as its namesake, this cocktail is much easier than you’d think to make.



2 oz bourbon or whiskey

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes bitters

Build ingredients over ice, then strain into a glass and garnish with a cherry.


Old Fashioned

A true American classic, using rye whiskey keeps this cocktail close to its roots.


Old Fashioned

1 slice orange

Cherry (no stem or pit)

1 tsp sugar

1 ½ oz whiskey or bourbon

2 dashes bitters

Muddle the cherry, orange, sugar, and bitters until they have become mush. Add whiskey and ice, stir, and serve.



Perfect for all those hot summer days and nights, margaritas are classic party cocktails that your guests will love.


1 oz tequila

1 oz cointreau or triple sec

1 oz sour mix

Build ingredients over ice and shake. Pour over ice in a glass with a salted rim, garnish with lime.



This sweet-and-sour drink is sure to make you and your guests feel sophisticated while sipping.



4 oz vodka

1 ½ oz fresh lemon juice

1 ½ oz cointreau

3 oz cranberry juice

Build all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake, then serve in a chilled glass.


Everything You Need to Build a Bar

What good are your new cocktail-making skills without an awesome home bar to practice them? At Hardwoods Inc., we craft exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts to turn your extra space into the hangout of your dreams. Check out our online store!


5 Important DIY Bar-Building Tips

5 Important DIY Bar-Building Tips- Hardwoods Inc Bar Design/Building

You’ve taken the plunge and decided you’re all-in on building your own at-home bar. That’s great!

Maybe this is your first project, or you’re a seasoned DIY-er. Either way, you’re a little hesitant about busting out your saw and nail gun, because you want your home bar to be perfect.

Relax! Our experienced bar-building pros can get you started with 5 important tips to help you build your own home bar:

Take Your Time to Plan

We know you’re excited, but if you rush head-first into this project without taking the proper time and care to plan, you may not like the results.

Spending a good amount of time – but not too much that you never start! – picking your bar’s location, taking measurements, choosing materials, and thinking about design will pay off when it comes time to start construction. If you need a starting point, our blog “Want to Build a Bar? Start Here!” has some great practical tips for the early stages.

At this early stage, it’s also a good idea to talk with others who have built their own bars, or watch some videos on YouTube related to bar building to get some practical advice and instruction. Also, if you take your time in the planning stage, you might be able to find great deals on some of the accessories that will make your bar unique, helping you keep to your budget.

Choose Quality Materials

Working with sub-standard materials could cost you time, money, and a lot of headaches. If you’re using cheap wood, for example, the likelihood of it splitting is much higher than if you’re using higher-quality wood.

If you want your project to be done on time, within budget, and with the least amount of frustration possible, be very selective about what you choose. This could mean you have to increase your budget a bit to make room for these materials, but the extra expense at the outset will pay you back in the long run.

Not sure what materials you’ll need to get started on your home bar? Check out our blog post for guidance.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Nothing is more frustrating than spending time carefully cutting a piece for your bar, only to find it’s too small. Now you have to get a replacement that you can re-cut, which could hold up your project for days or weeks.

Carefully measuring, and re-measuring, before you make a cut is essential to helping your DIY bar-building project run smoothly. If you need to, have someone else come in and double-check your calculations and measurements for accuracy. Better safe than sorry!

Simple Can Be Stunning

You don’t have to have a super-fancy home bar with all sorts of carvings and extra bells and whistles to make it great. Sometimes, building a really great, solid bar that’s also got a simple design can be just as beautiful. Not convinced? Check out our gallery of bars finished by our customers!

Paring down your plans to the bare essentials, and then executing on that plan really well, is going to look much better in the long run than trying to tackle all the fancy ideas you have in your head at once, especially as a beginner. Besides, there’s nothing to say you can’t build that simple bar initially, then add on all sorts of extras later.

It’s All in the Details

Keeping yourself from going overboard is one of the most difficult parts of any DIY project. You want to add all the gorgeous and fun elements you’ve seen around the internet – big elaborate columns, large sets of lighted back-bar shelves for storage, multiple TVs for game day – but your budget and time only go so far.

Plus, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing in design. Piling on every single cool thing you’ve found is going to leave your bar feeling overwhelming and cluttered.

Instead, we suggest picking one or two main focal elements that you can build your bar and theme around, then keeping everything else as streamlined as possible. This will help the elements you love the most pop and your guests won’t feel like they don’t know where to look next.


Need Help Building a Bar? Call Hardwoods Inc.!

We know the DIY bar-building process can be involved and confusing for many newcomers. That’s why we have gathered a bunch of great bar-building resources, and many of our high-quality bar parts come with cutting templates and instructions. Still not sure what part you need? Give us a call and one of our bar-building experts can help!

Things You Need to Build a Bar (Besides Hardwoods Inc.’s Bar Rails!)

building a home bar

Building your first bar can seem like a daunting task. You’ve got all the planning, measuring, cutting, and installing, and you don’t want to forget anything!

We’ve gathered a list of the things you’ll need to build a bar – besides our high-quality hardwood bar rails!

Bar Parts

To build a bar, you’re going to need some basic bar parts:

bar top kits








Bar Top: You’ll need a top for your bar, where guests can rest their drinks. This can either be tongue and groove, like one of our quick ship hardwood bar top kits, or a live edge solid wood bar top to give your bar that rustic, natural feel.

Bar Wall: This is the solid wood piece that connects the bar top to the ground. You have lots of options for your bar wall, including one solid piece, or something built out of cabinetry for extra under-bar storage.

Chicago bar rail

Bar Rail: Create a comfortable spot for your guests to rest their arms with a gorgeous hardwood bar rail in your choice of finish. No bar is complete without one!

Foot Rail: Let your guests rest their feet after a long day on a foot rail made of wood or metal.

Basic Tools

Keep all of these on hand for quick access as you’re building your bar:

bar trim molding

Tape Measure: The old adage to “measure twice, cut once” is important in bar-building, too. You’ll need a tape measure from the beginning stages of planning all the way through to the finishing touches, so keep track of it!

Pencil & Paper: From taking measurements to sketching out your plans, you’ll need a pencil and paper through the whole project.

Circular Saw: A handheld circular saw with a nice, sharp blade will be needed to cut through any wood pieces of your bar.

Sandpaper: Quality sandpaper in a variety of grains will help you get those smooth edges on all your wood pieces to keep your guests from getting splinters.

Wood Glue, Nails, & Screws: These are essential to holding together the various parts of your bar.

T-Square: Necessary to get straight corners on large solid pieces, you won’t want to be without one!

Motorized Miter Box: Use this to cut and fit bar rails and other moldings.


bar front fluted columns

Fluted Columns & Trim: Add a great decorative element and polished, professional look with columns or trim on your bar front.

drip edge

Drip Edge: Keep spills and crumbs from falling on the floor with a drip edge to match your bar rail and bar top.

glass rail

Glass Rail: Play professional bartender and line up glasses ready for drinks on a glass rail, attached to the back edge of the bar top.

All Your Bar Building Parts under One Roof!

At Hardwoods Inc., we pride ourselves on our high-quality, American-made bar rails, bar top kits, and other bar parts. We use only the best wood we can find, and everything’s made in our shop in central Maryland. Call today to get your bar project started!

5 Unique Wedding Gifts for the Bar-Enthusiast Couple

wedding gift ideas

It’s wedding season, and you’re not quite sure what to get your favorite couple for their impending nuptials. You could go traditional and get a toaster off their registry (Boring!) or give them cash for their honeymoon (That feels so impersonal!), but you want something different.

How about helping that great new husband and wife stock their home bar for years of entertaining? And who knows: If you give them a gift they love, they may just invite you over for drinks!

Here are 5 gift ideas for the bar-enthusiast couple in your life:

Engraved Wine Glasses & a Tasty Bottle of Wine

wine glasses

Didriks // Flickr

If they love wine, what better way to start off their joint bar than with a set of wine glasses engraved with their names and wedding date? Add in a fancy bottle of special wine – maybe one bottled in the year they met – and you’ve got a great gift suitable for any wedding!

Personalized Cornhole Set

cornhole set

Bart Everson // Flickr

Does the couple love hosting backyard barbecues or bonfires? How about a personalized cornhole set made with their monogram with beanbags in their wedding colors? They’ll get to relive the fun and excitement of their wedding every time they have guests over, and your gift is sure to be a talking piece for years to come.

Cork Shadow Box

cork keepsake

Elisha Terada // Unsplash

Another one for the wine-loving couple: A personalized wine cork shadow box. You can get the box engraved with their names, wedding date, a special quote, or anything else that suits the couple. They’ll then take it home and fill it up with the corks from all those great bottles of wine they share together and with friends throughout the years.

This is also a great idea for the couple who loves beer!

Personalized Cutting Board

Vitchakorn Koonyosying // Unsplash

Vitchakorn Koonyosying // Unsplash

What good are drinks without tasty snacks? An engraved cutting board is a great gift option for that couple that loves cheese plates with their wine, or canapes with their cocktails. Bonus: Every time they use the cutting board, they’ll think of you!

Reusable Ice

Patrick Schopflin // Unsplash

Patrick Schopflin // Unsplash

Does the couple love their drinks on the rocks, but hates that watered-down flavor after adding regular ice? Gifting them a great set of whiskey stones or other reusable ice cubes will keep their drinks cold and strong for years to come. You can find reusable ice cubes in a variety of materials and shapes, so there’s sure to be something fun to suit the couple’s tastes!

Quality Hardwood Bar Parts

If you want to take your at-home enjoyment up to the next level, let Hardwoods Inc. help you build the custom home bar of your dreams. From exotic hardwood bar tops to quality bar rails, we’ve got what you need to be the talk of the neighborhood.

And we won’t leave you hanging! Our bar-building resources have everything you need to build your own bar, or give us a call to talk to one of our experienced bar-building experts. We appreciate your business!

4 Steps to Creating the Perfect “Man Cave”

Sports? Video games? Movies? Music? No matter the passion, every man (and woman!) needs a space at home to serve as an escape and entertainment spot for friends with their interests. But how do you build the perfect man cave? There’s no exact formula, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to create a perfect man cave for your needs!

The great thing about a man cave is that, while it’s main purpose is to foster escapism or be a gathering place for friends (sometimes both), it can also add value to your property and make it more attractive to potential future buyers. The key is to make sure your man cave looks expertly constructed and decorated.

Choose a Theme

To start, you’ll need to choose a theme. There are a few ways to go about this. One option is to think about your (or the person who the space is for) personality. Do you want a sporty, bar-like vibe? Or maybe you are a big movie buff who needs a theater in your basement. Or, a gaming lounge may be more appropriate. If music is your passion, an in-home studio home beats out all of these options.

If you have a wide range of passions or a different goal for your man cave, you can base the theme off a cool collectible or original piece of furniture that you plan to place in the room. Get color and theme ideas from that piece – maybe a billiards theme from a pool table, or a Hollywood vibe centered around that collectible velvet rope divider you’ve had laying around.

Figure out Where

Once you have your theme picked out, you need to get practical before the fun starts. This means figuring out the where and how of construction. Are you going to have your man cave inside or outside? If you really want to have a separate haven, a shed or unattached garage could be a great site for your man cave. For something like this, you’ll most likely need to hire an electrician to extend your home’s power to the structure you’re planning on using. You may also need to invest in a Wi-Fi extender for streaming, gaming, and internet needs. If your purpose is entertainment and hosting the big game every Sunday, opting for an indoors man cave may be the best choice. Ease of access and closer proximity to the kitchen are important factors!

>>Want to add a bar? Check out these tips for getting started!>>

DIY or Hire Help?

After the “where” is sorted out, you’ll have to decide how. Are you going to do it yourself, hire a contractor, or a combination of both? To start, measure out the space and transfer to graph paper so you can visualize the space more easily. Make a list of necessary materials and tools and create a budget for all of this; make sure you include a 10-15% buffer for unexpected expenses that will come up. To save money, borrow tools from friends and family or rent from a home improvement store!

Think about what you’re planning to do with your space. Will you need plumbing, electrical, or HVAC components? If yes, you’ll want to at least consult with an expert in these areas, and probably hire one. DIY is great, but there are a few things that are best left to the professionals who can do high-quality work safely. If you’re not doing anything fancy or are doing some of the work on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family (especially those with previous building experience)! Create a list of what needs to get done and when and share it with everyone involved, including contractors, so you are on the same page with the timetable and individual project goals (e.g., the home bar needs to be completed by August 1st, the custom taps should be installed by August 14th).

Get Decorating

Once all of the logistics are finished up, the fun part starts – decor and entertainment!

Things you will need, no matter your theme: a big TV, an excellent sound system, and a great home bar.

For the sports-lover, a sports bar feeling will be perfect for the man cave. Your home bar should be fully stocked and even have a tap installed so your guests can enjoy draft beers. Keep bar snacks handy! Add a foosball table, some framed jerseys, and a bookcase that will display all of your collectibles from your favorite teams.

The movie buff will need the best surround sound system available to partner with a projector and screen. Dark leather couches or chairs will create a cool, comfortable, luxury theater feeling. The home bar should have a soda fountain, a popcorn maker, and (of course) plenty of candy options.

Looking for more of a music studio-inspired man cave? Make the acoustics perfect with a thick rug and wall padding, bring in comfortable seating, and have plenty of outlets for instruments, amps, and recording devices. You and your musician friends will also love having a home bar stocked with whiskey, vodka, and other forms of liquid inspiration.

Maybe you’re looking for more of a gathering place to spend time with friends without a TV as a distraction. Bring in a pool table, a card table and plenty of board games, a jukebox hooked up to a speaker system, and bar stools pulled up to a home bar that is ready to serve up the best local beer, craftiest cocktails, and a fridge for all of the food you’ve cooked for people to enjoy.

Creating the perfect man cave allows you to have an escape, a place to bring friends, and creates an added value to your property. The center of this space is going to be your gorgeous home bar. If you want to ensure your home bar is of the highest quality, contact Hardwoods Inc. today. We’ll help you build the best bar to fit your needs, whatever they may be!

DIY Your Bar Build or Hire a Professional?

Thinking about building a home bar? While you already probably have figured out the benefits of having one, have you thought about how you’re going to get it made? You have a few choices, but your main decision is between DIY-ing the bar or hiring a professional.

So what are the benefits of building your own versus hiring a pro to do the work for you?

DIY Home Bar

Building your own bar is a huge project to take on. It will cost less than hiring a professional, so that’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly! On the flip side, though, you will be responsible for planning, measuring, finding all of the proper and necessary materials, and eventually breaking out your power tools and making your blueprint a reality.

>>Want to build your own home bar? Start here!>>

DIY-ing your home bar will obviously save you on labor costs. But, even with this benefit, you have to make sure you budget wisely. It can be easy to get carried away and spend more money on unnecessary bells and whistles rather than important, quality components.

Make sure you have extra materials ready in case something gets messed up. You also want to be mindful of the quality of materials; while cheap seems nice on your wallet in the moment, it won’t be a wise choice in the long run if you have to perform multiple repairs.

Also be aware of the time and space that will be required of you to make your dream bar happen. You may have to wait for permits if you want electrical or plumbing incorporated, and you’ll have to give up a couple weekends worth of going out to make sure staying in becomes fun! The building process can also be messy, so if your family uses the space you’re renovating frequently, you may need to consider other’s schedules and needs before building.

Building your own home bar is extremely rewarding and will allow you to have a continuous project to update and elaborate on. If you have the time and don’t mind a huge mess for a few weeks, it’s a worthwhile project!

Hiring a Professional

Hiring a professional to build your home bar may feel like you’re taking the easy way out – but in certain situations, it’s going to be your best option.

If you want a large and complex project, especially one with plumbing, electricity, or high-end carpentry, you’re most likely better off paying someone to do all of that for you. All of the YouTube videos in the world can’t prepare you to make an extravagant in-home bar!

A professional will also get the job done faster than you could on your own. This will help relieve your stress about time you have to spend away from other responsibilities and also time that area of your home will be unusable.

>>Need some bar design inspiration? Check out our completed bar gallery!>>

As mentioned before, a professional contractor costs more than doing it yourself. You also want to make sure you have a wishlist prepared to be sure neither you nor the contractor forget anything you’ve requested. It’s also important to ask for a free estimate from multiple contractors, which will allow you to price compare and get the most bang for your buck. An estimate should include a contract, a price breakout, total cost, and the payment terms. You’ll have to discuss a timeline for the work and ensure the agreed-upon date is included in the contract.

Finally, if you’re bringing in new appliances, purchase them before the beginning of your project so your contractor knows exactly what dimensions he or she is working with. The last thing you want is an additional cost of labor and materials because your mini fridge is two inches too big!

Both DIY-ing a home bar and hiring a contractor are good options – it all depends on your personal needs and what you hope to get out of the project! No matter which you choose, contact Hardwoods Incorporated for all of your bar-building materials. We offer only the best in both wood and knowledgeable professionals to help you create the home bar of your dreams.

Building a Patio Bar: What You Need to Know First

how to build a home bar
Now that summer is in full swing, you may be thinking of ways to maximize your backyard barbecues and family gatherings. Sure, a cooler of beers in the backyard is perfectly fine, but if you want to take your parties to the next level, a patio bar is an awesome addition.

Before you set to work creating that new addition to your shindigs, here’s everything you need to know about building a patio bar, from the bar-building experts at Hardwoods Incorporated:

Choose Your Spot

First, you need to figure out where you’ll build your new patio bar. In the outdoors, it’s important to choose your spot carefully.

Make sure the location you choose is in as level a spot as possible, preferably on a deck or patio. If your area is prone to heavy rains and flooding, you might want to make sure that your spot is elevated enough off the ground that any water damage will be decreased.

If you plan to include refrigeration or be able to make blended drinks at your patio bar, be sure to find a spot close enough to an exterior outlet with safe grounding. Or, if that isn’t possible, consider getting a small, quiet generator to run power from.

Be sure to check out your spot at different times of day to see how much sun or shade it gets. Though full sun isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker on your chosen location, it may mean you need to design the bar with a built-in patio umbrella to keep you and your guests cool.

Get Measurements

Before you even start designing and thinking about materials, you want to figure out exactly how big your bar should be. Larger bars, of course, are going to cost more, so if you’re worried about budget you may need to adjust your dimensions down a bit to fit more in line with what you’d like to spend.

Pull out your measuring tape or yardstick and roughly measure the area you’d like for your bar. Don’t forget space for you or whoever will be tending bar to move around and bend while making drinks. If you’re including refrigerators or other large fixtures, make sure to plan in space for those, usually under the bar top and in the back area of the bar. Our Standard Bar Dimensions & Specifications page has lots of information to help you with this portion of your process.

Think about Design

Now comes some of the fun. After picking your spot and getting some rough idea of how big your patio bar will be, you can begin thinking about the design details that will make your patio bar uniquely yours.

Start out by looking through magazines or on the internet – Pinterest and Houzz are great resources – and compiling a list of things you like and dislike about other bars you see. If you have a specific vision for your bar’s theme, think about ways to bring that theme into your design.

To avoid going overboard with theming (because you can), we suggest picking one or two main focal pieces or points that you can build everything else around. These focal points should be things that are either big and bold – think a specific color or a great sculpture – or that have some real significance and meaning for you. Make everything else you bring to your patio bar – colors, fixtures, artwork – less overpowering than your focal points.

And remember – When in doubt, less is always more in design.

>>Want an indoor bar? Check out our Bar Building 101 blog posts!>>

Materials Matter

Though using high-quality, appropriate materials is always key to a long-lasting finished product, it’s even more important when you’re dealing with weather.

For outdoor bars, our team recommends white oak or mahogany. These species of woods are less likely to rot, which means they’ll withstand rain, snow, and wind for longer than others.

Choosing the right materials also extends to everything else on your bar, especially metals. Look for metal fixtures for your stools and accents that will resist rust and is meant for outdoor use.

>>See some of the gorgeous finished bars made by past clients!>>

High-Quality Hardwood Bar Parts for Your Outdoor Bars

Here at Hardwoods Incorporated, we pride ourselves on making exceptional hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and bar parts for your patio or home bars. We create all our parts in-house with only the best quality of woods we can find.
Not only do we make sure we provide you with the highest-quality parts for your bars, we offer a full library of bar-building resources to make your bar-building process easier. And if those don’t help, we’re always happy to help over the phone. Contact us today!

7 Basic Bartending Skills to Master to Rock Your Home Bar

build a home bar
Installing a home bar is the start of a lot of fun: Your house will be the go-to for neighborhood parties, dinners with friends, and to watch Sunday’s game. Are you ready to be the star bartender your friends expect? Do you have the skills to throw together an old fashioned, a margarita, or a manhattan? If you don’t think you’re there yet, don’t worry; the skills needed to make great cocktails are basic and easy to learn! Here’s a quick guide to help you begin learning to make these cocktails and impress your guests.


Shaking is usually included in drinks that have fruit juice, egg, or dairy ingredients. Shaking introduces extra oxygen bubbles and creates a frothy appearance to the drink. To properly shake, you’ll need a shaker. Fill it halfway with ice, add your ingredients and shake vigorously (seriously, don’t be gentle), and then strain as you pour.


Stirring is a more subtle technique for a different kind of cocktail. When you’re stirring a cocktail, most likely that cocktail is something along the lines of a manhattan or martini composed of alcohol-only ingredients. The goal is to mix the drink just enough to make it smooth and allow the spirits to blend nicely; shaking with ice would dilute the drink. Use a long bar spoon and stir quickly to create a vortex in the center of the cocktail for about 30 seconds, let it rest, and then strain as you pour into another glass.


This is probably how you already make your cocktails – simply added the ingredients and giving it a little stir (no vortex!). The idea here is to simply make sure your alcohol and mixer are equally distributed. This method is most frequently used for drinks with carbonated ingredients, like your average Jack and Coke.

Topping Off

Even easier than building, topping off means simply to fill the glass with the instructed ingredient.


Some cocktail recipes call for a muddled ingredient (mojitos and old fashioneds are on this list). Reading this on the cocktail instructions might be confusing, but really all it takes is a muddler and your own strength. Simply put the ingredients in a shallow dish or bottom of a glass and grind until they are crushed and pulverized, releasing their essential oils and strong flavors. Once they look nice and ground up, add them to the rest of the cocktail ingredients and mix as instructed!


Obviously a needed skill, as it has been mentioned in two of the other skills you need to have! Straining is as simple as it sounds – you often will pour a drink after it was shaken or stirred through a strainer to make sure the cocktail doesn’t have any chunks of ingredients or seeds in it. Many shakers come with a built-in strainer, but if it doesn’t or you’re stirring a drink, you’ll want to buy a strainer. There are two primary types of strainers: hawthorne and julep strainers. Hawthorne strainers are supposed to be used when pouring from a tin and julep strainers when pouring from a glass. For your home bar, the difference doesn’t really matter, so one can serve both purposes. If you want to ensure that you get a perfectly clean pour, invest in a fine mesh strainer!


Throwing ingredients into a blender may seem easy enough, but there’s actually some tips you’ll want to follow to make sure those daquiris are as smooth and delicious as can be. Use fresh fruit if you can, and rinse it off before using. Remove the stems and skin and chop into cubes around 1 inch. Herbs should be rinsed as well and torn into smaller pieces with the stems removed. Once you’re ready to blend, add all of the ingredients in with ice. Crushed or cracked ice is your best bet, as it blends easier and will save your blender’s motor and blades in the long run. Hold on to the top of your blender and start at a low speed and use the pulse mode to chop down the ingredients and ice and then begin to work through the speed cycles from lowest to highest for a super smooth blended drink! Avoid using carbonated beverages in the blender, and make sure you clean the blender after each use and between different types of drinks.

With these basic bartending skills, you’re well on your way to concocting the best drinks in your neighborhood. Now that you have the skills, you’re just missing the home bar!

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