My husband, David, is an Episcopal minister. The upside is that we get to live in lovely church rectories. The downside is that we live in lovely church rectories, and it’s easy to forget that someday David will retire and the house disappears. We used to joke about showing up at the bank as new retirees applying for our first mortgage.
Fortunately that is not our destiny because ten years ago we bought a piece of land, and five years ago we built a house. We don’t live there full time and so our home is a slowly evolving labor of love.We furnished the big rooms a few years ago, but there are a couple of other rooms in the house whose purpose we just hadn’t figured out yet.
One is a 20- by 12-foot space off the kitchen at the end of the house. For five years it had no real purpose. We set up a TV on an old computer stand and bought a little bistro table, but the room looked seriously makeshift. That is until now…
With the help of KitchenAid who provided the appliances, I turned that pointless room into a party center. Here are my Top Ten for loving this new bar.
10. No floor space got lost. We bumped out the back wall and created a little alcove.
9. All the glasses cluttering my kitchen now hang from the bar ceiling.
8. Stemless ware like beer steins and rocks glasses have their own little cabinet too.
7. All of the bottles are on display and not lost in some dark, crowded closet.
6. All the sodas and beer get their own little space, which frees up the kitchen fridge.
5. All of the wine is in a temperature-controlled fridge, freeing up the pantry for more appropriate things.
4. There is an abundance of ice. No more running to the store for big bags of it when we’re hosting a party.
3. The countertop is a gorgeous slab of deadhead cypress from the creek where my late dad and I used to fish. It beautified the space so much we decided not to put the bar behind closed doors as originally planned.
2. Having everything in one place makes me more creative. No more mindlessly reaching for a glass of white wine. I think about what I want to drink, and I have fun making it.
1.Although I don’t use the bar everyday, having it makes life feel festive.
The debut of the bar coincided with our fourth annual Big Summer Potluck. At our event Brian from A Thought For Food demonstrated his Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub, a fruity sweet-sour cocktail base, which we all enjoyed so much that I made my own shrub from some leftover peaches. Above is what my peach shrub looked like before straining, and after.
Makes about 1 quart
1 1/2 cups small diced peaches
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vinegar (I used a mix of cider and distilled)
Toss peaches and sugar in a medium bowl; let stand for an hour or so. Mash fruit and sugar together to release more juice; let stand for 24 hours. Add vinegar; cover and let stand a week, stirring the shrub everyday. Strain into a covered glass jar. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Shrub can be refrigerated for several months.)
And from that shrub I created my own cocktail, and this is how we celebrated our new bar.
Copper House Special
The drink’s name comes from the large copper overhang around our front door.
1/2 ounce Peach Shrub
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 bottle brut sparking wine
Measure shrub and bourbon into each of 6 ice-filled rocks glasses. Top off with sparkling wine and serve.