Okay, so for my birthday I have discovered that who I am is quite obvious to those around me.  I received a little spending money, copious amounts of baked goods, books of theology (one of which was in German by my favorite theologian) and two bottles of Bourbon (Woodford Reserve and Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage).  Life is good.

 

With the latest alcoholic acquisition, I've been wondering about how to integrate the whisky into my study.  When I see Mad Men and even the Young and the Restless, people always have decanters on a side-table with which they non-chalantly pour themselves a drink.  My boss also had an awesome Ottoman and at the end of the day he'd flip its lid with a serving tray on the bottom and reach in the cavity in the Ottoman for a couple bottles and tumblers.  I've even heard that the president of my college has a globe in which he keeps a bottle of Maker's Mark.

 

So what should I do in establishing a drinking nook?  I have two bottles of nice Bourbon, a German Rasberry Likör from Germany, four tumblers, and one decantor.  Part of me is thinking that I should buy another cheaper Bourbon (and put in the classy decantor so none's the wiser) for when I'm done writing my papers or reading, and save the others for when I have a few close friends over. I'm also going back and forth between a nice wooden filing cabinet that I could use, or maybe getting an Ottoman.  Thoughts?

 

Do you guys have a mini-bar, side-table, drinking nook, etc?  What are you drinking with it?

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I don't currently have a mini bar set up in my place.  I am much more of a beer drinker, and waiting to establish my beer fridge with a tap. 

 

That said, I have had a mini bar set up.  I had a nice Armore (sp) at one time, that I kept a modest liquour selection in.  I felt it was a nice set up as I was able to shut and lock it, and kept everything neet.  I had three bottles:  Bourbon, Vodka, and Rum.  I had my tumbler and a couple snifters.  I kept the best i could afford at the time, and would drink as such.  If I was going to being drinking heavily, then I would purchase another bottle as to not raid my liquour cabinet. 

If you like whiskey then you could do a lot worse than stock up with some scotch and irish whiskeys. Most distilleries will happily send things over to the USA on mail order and they all have a different flavour.

 

You are right to put the cheaper stuff in a decanter so the casual drinker is none the wiser but develop your pallette with a range of drinks.

I've never had a man cave, but my parents used to have a drinks cabinet, although we never filled it with anything classy. Just your typical vodka, whiskey and a bottle or two of red wine. It was mainly for guests, to be able to offer them a choice rather than a glass of white wine or a can of lager. But I remember trying to explain this idea to a shop assistant who found it worrying I was buying two bottles of vodka. The very thought that I should want to have a supply of booze on hand for impromptu guests went completely over their head. As was the idea that even if I drank both bottles of vodka, that I'd be doing so over a period of time and that just because you buy it today doesn't mean you're drinking it today. 

Their loss I say. Having drinks at hand for yourself or for your friends is a swanky way to live.

I'm a huge Mad Men fan and have set up a mini bar in my office for the same reasons.

Here are some cool things:

Decanters
http://www.centralchef.com/storefrontprofiles/DeluxeSFItemDetail.as...

Whisky Glasses
http://www.centralchef.com/storefrontprofiles/DeluxeSFItemDetail.as...

Globe Bars:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&am...

Yes. I've integrated it into my living area (I reside in an apartment.) I have Whisky glasses, they look like snifter shaped shot glasses. I have old-fashioned tumblers for - old fashioned, or other whisky cocktails. The drinks area itself is set-up beside my bookshelf. I have about 14 bottles of single malt scotch at the moment, I LOVE Islay whisky.

 

I have a nice pair of slippers there and my pipe collection. When people come over, we move onto the balcony where I have a portable corner bar made out of oak.

With Whisky in it? How's that going?
fancy enough for me. I love a good glass but a coffee mug is good for a full bodied leggy scotch like laphroaig or the like. easily as strong and warming as any coffee.
You're one up on me. I sometimes drink wine out of a plastic cup... the disposable type. Coffee cups, huh?... fancy
I work with a buch of architects and designers... though my work is more with the government entitlements behind their projects. So I do a bit of entertaining but also spend a lot of time in my office.

In my office at home, I have a small bar set up. I bought a silver tray from one of the home stores (Crate and Barrel, etc) and on it I have a glass decanter with a night cap kind of drink. Jack or Jameson. On either side I have a bottle of scotch (Aberlour 12 year) and a good bottle (Johnny Walker Blue--a gift), This covers my bases, and it gives me flexibility depending on if I'm just pouring myself a nightcap or if I'm entertaining a good friend or client. I also keep a bottle of red wind, and three heavy lowball glasses and a thick, heavy shot glass. I used to have an antique wine opener/key up there and it looked great, but I gifted it to a friend who loved it.

Over the years I've had more compliments on it than I can count. It's simple and understated--not flashy. It doesn't scream "alcoholic". And I've had a lot of co workers and clients (from bankers to office temps) come in--pour a glass-- and sink into the leather chair in the corner. It's great for relationship building and for making your space a bit of a sanctuary (both for yourself and for others).

A couple of practical thoughts I have about setting it up:

1. This may seem obvious, but don't set it up if you have a drinking problem. A home/office bar is only for those who understand personal limits, moderation, and discretion. You want to use it to relax, to build relationships with friends/clients, to give yourself a small place to think and have a (ritualistic) transition from working hours to the late hours (even if you're still working). It's not about being immature or being a lush.

2. A good decanter will preserve the alcohol just as well as the factory bottle. I've blind tasted Jameson or Jack with rocks and some water after being in the decanter for six months and no one can tell the difference. So it's not just for show. It's useful. You can put just some average night cap stuff in it and not clutter your desk with bottles or labels. Some people scoff at labels like Jack Daniels out of vanity. I had an investor in my office who poured a shot out of the decanter and sipped it slowly. At the end, this professed "expert" on whisky said, "What is this...it's fantastic?" I just smiled a bit and told him.

3. This should be common sense, but put your lowball glasses rim down. Just be gentle about it because it's easy to chip the rim if you move too fast or impatiently. I had a colleague pour me a glass from his expensive corner scotch bar recently and it was awful. Sure, the scotch tasted good. But I could see floating on the top a patina of dust and small hair/fiber that had naturally collected in the glass since it had been last used. Of course I was polite and accommodated it, but I would never want to put someone through that just for joining me for a drink in the evening.

4. There are few simple pleasures that compare to the feeling a heavy scotch glass in your hand. Buy one with a heavy bottom (heaviest you can find) with a thin rim. You want the drink itself to be weightless. Women appreciate this, too. My wife will occasionally come into my office and pour a nightcap and sit back in the chair, just cradling the heavy glass. She told me one time that it makes her feel secure to have a good drink, in a good glass, with a good man. Makes her feel feminine in response to the masculine confidence it portrays.

5. I mentioned this above, but a bar is as symbolic of certain things as much as it is practical. It should symbolize maturity, discretion, confidence, and a "slowing down" of the world and the day. R-E-L-A-X. Slow down. Move more slowly. Think more intentionally. And especially if your busy, hectic, or moving like a caffeinated squirrel between your email/text/whateverelse at the end of the day, use your bar as a ritual to slow the hell down. Not only is the ability to slow the world down correlated with the perception of confidence, it's also correlated to better decision making. Just like you should pause a second after you pour a drink and sit back, you should take a second and pause before answering emails, texts, questions, etc. Use the bar as practice for your frame of mind that you should take into the working hours. Pause a second and think before firing off answers and correspondences.

6. In that light, make sure the space is well lit and there is access to music. If you're still using the overhead lighting in your home or office... for goodnesssake stop it. Especially in your bar/library/office area. Have at least five or six light points (including windows in the day time). Don't leave corners dark. Floor lamps and table lamps and spot lights and etc can be had for cheap. You don't have to win any modern design awards. But the color and quality of the light will change how you FEEL in a place. Would you go to a bar lit with overhead mall lighting? You wouldn't go near that place. Same as it should be in your space. And with how cheap ipod players are now, there's no excuse for not having access to music too. Whatever you like--straight up jazz, cuban jazz, blues, pop...it doesn't matter--just turn it one when you can. One thing people rarely think of is how much background music can add to their mood and thoughts. As humans, most of us need a soundtrack.

7. A last point. Close your eyes and imagine your dream house and your dream bar/study/office. Truly take a second. I'll bet you a thousand dollars that when you thought about whatever it was that was your ideal, that it wasn't MESSY or unkept in your mind. Even if you're a clutter hound or are not a neat person, keep your personal area clean and clear. Or at least basically put together. If your ideal home or space isn't messy in your mind, then don't make it that way in real life. Same thing goes for when you think of your favorite bar--for 90%+ of folks out there if they remember their favorite bar it's never lit by crappy overhead lights and it's rarely completely silent.

Hope these thoughts help. You may or may not find them useful, but it's just one guy's story on how and why he does the corner bar idea.
Spot on.
Brilliant.
This is gold. I'll be coming back to your advice when I'm setting up my own.

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