Caring for and Cleaning Your Barware: Tips for Longevity
If you have an affinity for cocktails and you want to make them at home you have a couple of choices. You can develop a vocabulary of bar hacks that will allow you to more or less get around your lack of equipment. Or you could bite the bullet and invest in some proper glassware and bar tools. As much as we admire the DIY spirit we're also big believers that if you're going to do something, do it right. So let's assume you've shelled out the necessary amount and acquired some premium, maybe even custom barware from Paykoc. Now you need to know how to clean and care for it. And that’s what we’re here to look at today.
Developing a Methodology of Care for Your Barware
There’s a right way to wash jeans, a right way to care for an expensive suit, a right way to clean carpets and there is a right way to approach the care and cleaning of your bar glasses, bar tools, and bar furniture. We recommend you adopt the following method of care.
If you want your home bar to be a source of pride and joy instead of something your guests avoid and mutter about it all starts with organization. Having your bar tools properly arranged will save you a lot of time and hassle, enable you to develop some muscle memory, and help ensure you don’t reach for the wrong glass or wrong ingredient.
Organization starts with your liquors and glassware and extends to your garnishes, shakers, jiggers, ice picks, and everything else. Test the set-up over and over to ensure it facilitates your cocktail-making efforts and refine as necessary.
Create and follow a cleaning checklist
If your plan is to clean the various components of your bar separately on an as-needed basis we suggest you modify that plan. If you’ve gone through all the trouble of arranging your bar to facilitate the creation of first-class cocktails, that same organizational spirit should now extend to cleaning. That means creating and following a cleaning checklist. If you don’t have the time to develop your own, feel free to use the following checklist:
- Wipe down the liquor bottles
- Replace any expired liquor
- Toss old garnishes and make fresh ones
- Clean the bar surface
- Make sure you have plenty of fresh ice
- Make sure there are plenty of napkins and straws
- Make sure nothing is out of place
- Clean the floor around the bar
- Empty the trash
Do all that on a regular basis and your bar will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Wash the glassware
Your shot glasses, martini, and other glasses are how you deliver the product of your cocktail enthusiasm to your family, friends, and guests. It’s essential that they be squeaky clean. Use an appropriate cleaning liquid along with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge to wash your glasses. Most importantly, don’t let used glasses sit on or around the bar overnight or even for days at a time. Wash everything at the end of every drinking session, whether it’s just you drinking, or 20 of your friends.
Make sure you keep the ice buckets clean
Ice is a vital component of any properly functioning bar so it’s crucial that you make sure you always have plenty of fresh ice available and, just as important, that you keep the ice buckets clean and sanitary. That means emptying and cleaning the ice bucket after every drinking session, whether it’s just you and a couple of buddies or dozens of guests who dropped by to help you celebrate the Fourth. When you’re done cleaning it, store it upside down to prevent airborne contaminants from settling inside.
Wipe down the bar stools after every get-together
People being people it’s not only possible but fairly likely that one of your guests spilled something on one of your barstools during the festivities and simply dabbed it with a napkin and didn’t tell anyone about it. If your get-together happened during the summer it’s better than even money that someone came in from outside and sat their sweaty self down on your barstool before requesting a drink. In that case not cleaning your bar stools afterward is like not wiping down equipment in the gym after using it. Keeping your bar stools nice and clean is not only respectful of the next sitter, but it will help ensure their longevity as well.
Don’t open too many wine bottles at once
This is sometimes easier said than done but it should be a goal you aspire to. If you're a wine lover and you offer a nice variety as part of your home bar try not to have too many different types of wine open at any one time. Remember, red wine typically only lasts about 5 days after being opened. And that's if you have a wine stopper or cork in place and you store it in a cool, dark place. For white wine, it's only 3 days. So while you may want to indulge your guests' desire to try as many of your wines as possible, try to direct them toward just a couple of types and keep the rest sealed until the next party.
Cleaning and Caring for Your Bar Tools
What is a bar without proper bar tools? Cocktail strainers, muddlers, shakers, bottle openers, jiggers, lemon squeezers, bar spoons, and more are essential to the process of creating world-class cocktails. And just as it's vital you keep your custom glassware clean it's also essential that you keep your bar tools clean and that you clean them the right way.
Take the following tips to heart and your bar tools will always deliver for you.
- Wash your bar tools by hand using warm soapy water.
- Whatever you do, don't put your bar tools in the dishwasher, as the hot water could damage the finish of some of the tools.
- Dry your bar tools with a clean, soft cloth to remove all water before you put them away.
- Make sure that when you do put them away you adhere to the organizational set-up you devised for your bar.
- If you have more than one shaker don’t stack them inside one another as the rims will leave marks on the shakers below.
- Soak jiggers and pourers in bicarbonate of soda and water.
If you want to ensure the longevity of your barware while at the same time ensuring everyone who has the opportunity to interact with your bar has the best possible experience, the above suggestions will help.
And if you want to raise your bar game a bit, talk to the team at Paykoc Imports about creating laser engraved items for your bar. We can customize individual items if you wish. Or, if you are interested in customizing an entire wholesale barware purchase, we can do that too.