Skep's Place



Listen, I'm well aware there's many easy ways to enjoy a drink. Crack a cold one, pour some wine, even knock back whiskey straight from the bottle. But nothing says class quite like a cocktail. Passing beers out to your friends is fun, but assembling drinks for your friends is an event. It tells them you put thought into them before they showed up. It tells them that they're worth the extra trouble of squeezing the juice out of that lemon, if only because you didn't have to do it.

So why this guide? I'm not going to deny it; I'm an amateur. I've never tended bar. I couldn't tell you what makes a good scotch. At this point, if you're thinking "wow, there's no way this asshole knows more than me," you're probably right. Get out. But if you haven't a clue where to start, I'm your guy.

Here's the thing: Mixology is big right now. It's big enough to have named itself something dumb like 'Mixology'. No shade to the professionals; they're enjoying a golden age in terms of the availability of craft spirits and unique mixers, and there's no limit to the number of directions they can push the envelope. Every half-decent restaurant seems to have its own custom-made drinks menu now, and why not? Isn't the point to offer your customers something they can't get anywhere else?

And that great and all, but shit, guys, I'm not running a fully-stocked bar from my house. I have a single small cabinet for storing all of my bottles, glassware, and accessories. I have to buy my liquor at the state store. I only have access to a fraction of what you have access to. I keep buying your damn recipe books, and I keep being disappointed because I don't know what 90% of these ingredients are, and I never will. If the cordial has two or more accented vowels in its name, I'm never going to find it locally. Habanero bitters? Yeah, I'd have to special-order those. And there's no way I'm wasting my time boiling hand-grated ginger to make a specialty syrup; I would only ever use any of these in a single drink anyway, because the alternative is buying five other ingredients to be able to make something else.

So that's what this is: a sensible, no-frills guide on running a manageable home bar. No weird ingredients, no crazy recipes, no time-sucking tricks. You can do a lot with a little; impressing folks and finding enjoyment in this vice only takes a bit of know-how and a willingness to lean into the tried-and-true classics instead of bowing to current trends.

Have fun, and of course, enjoy responsibly.

P.S. — Also, respect those who choose not to drink for any reason; and if you can, make sure you have at least one non-alcoholic cocktail option on offer. Alcohol consumption should not be universal, but enjoying fun, fancy beverages definitely should.