If there's one thing I can nerd out and go on and on about... it's Mise En Place. (pronounced "MEEZ-on-plahs") Which more or less translates to "Putting in Place" and is pretty easily explained as when you’re getting a big dinner ready for a holiday or special event, you set yourself with all your cooking tools and food items, don’t you? Well, that’s the pretty much the idea, just on a more disciplined level.
I’ve more recently shifted my focus into making the same quality craft cocktails you'd see me make behind the stick, just now at home, which is pretty out of my element. Normally I’d prefer to just drink a beer or sip my alcohol neat when at home cause why would I go through all the trouble to do it at home, when this is all I do at work?
But ya know, with this whole global Pandemic thing happening, my time behind the stick was diminished pretty hard. After a while you start to miss the pressure of “ticket times” and “perfect specs” on making your cocktails. Here’s what I decided to do, I set up my home bar like I would my work station. So what does that really entail?
What are the home bar essentials? How can you really make it feel like your back behind the stick slingin’ them like hot cakes?!
How do you utilize your time? What do you prioritize in your execution of a good quality cocktail? How much time do you spend behind the scenes prepping your cocktail garnishes, house-made syrups, and intricate tinctures? Do you get picky about your cocktail's glassware? Do you prep your tedious garnishes ahead of time, or make your bar garnish to order? There's so many different options and variables that come into play when creating a successful bar station, and you need to realize that it's almost impossible to say what's the "perfect" bar set up is, either home or restaurant.
I can speak from experience when I say that not every work station is the same. I'm a relatively short (5'5) bartender nerd obsessed with speed & efficiency in the bar.... and I have little arms *sad face*, adding an extra challenge. How can I fit all my necessary tools/garnishes/mixers in arms reach without fear of over-cluttering or bottles breaking?
The answer is honestly a lot more simple than you would think. Portion control. Down-size. Condense. Shrink. Tighten up. Organize.
To put it into a different perspective, you wouldn't put your pasta sauce in the hallway when cooking Sunday dinner are you?! No ya goomba. So why wouldn’t you put your tools, mixers & cocktail garnishes just inches away from where you’d be cutting/pouring/shaking etc?
That's the end of my rant, I'll check ya behind the stick. Until next time... cheers. 🍻