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They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but when it comes to a house in the mountains, the bar could take a close second. If your home isn’t blessed with a beautiful built-in bar, not to worry. There are a multitude of ways to create one, even in a small space. And with the holiday season coming in hot, now is a great time to make sure your bar is stocked, loaded, and ready to entertain. In the end, it’s all about the spirits.

No bar? No problem.
If you don’t already have a bar, don’t fret. There are so many creative ways to dedicate a space for making and serving drinks. Many furniture pieces, such as armoires, desks, buffets, sideboards or even television consoles can be converted into a bar. Tight on space? Floating shelves, even ones made specifically for wine and wine glass storage work great. Also consider converting bookshelves by dedicating space for glassware, barware and bottles, which can lend interesting color and texture to any room, in addition to having a specific function. All you need are a few snazzy trays to separate bottles, mixers and tools to give your home bar a more put-together look.

The glass is always half full.
Glassware is a huge part of the aesthetic of any bar. The basics are wine glasses (stemless wine glasses are very versatile) or even glass mason jars. But depending on space, you can also go for highball, rocks, and martini glasses. Go vintage for something older and mismatched for a more eclectic, fun vibe. Look for color and interesting facets or pretty shapes for added texture. Beautiful trays are also key for organizing and separating glassware, hardware, and bottles.

Fake it “til you make it”: a bar for the master mixologist.
Even if you didn’t go to bartending school, it’s good to have the tools on hand to mix the best drinks. A few essentials: an ice bucket and pick, shaker, muddler, strainer, mallet and corkscrew. If you’re not sure what to do, YouTube tutorials are a great way to go, or it’s also nice to have a few cocktail recipe books which also add a nice visual element to your set up. Fake it until you make it—chances are you’ll still have fun, and definitely a few laughs, in the process. Isn’t that what entertaining is all about?

Bring on the spirits: ingredients for your cocktail arsenal.
If you’re starting from scratch, these basics, also known as “base spirts” are all you’ll need to make the widest variety of cocktails: gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey/bourbon and rum. Next, you’ll want a variety of bitters, liquors, aperitifs and digestifs (think: Aperol, vermouth, and Cointreau, among many others). Finally, a few mixers. Tonic, club soda, and ginger beer are obvious choices but there are many handcrafted and creative mixers out there, and several made right here in Colorado. In fact, the best way to make your bar special is to feature locally made spirits like those from Steamboat Whiskey Company or check out Strongwater as a one-stop shop for Colorado-made mixers, bitters and cocktail syrups. The bottom line? At your home bar, the glass should always be (at least) half-full.