| in the spirit |
The Home Bar
Experiment with the essentials to create new cocktails or get
reacquainted with some classics.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA GABLE
Just before the world went into lockdown,
local attorney, Scott Key, discovered a new obsession that
would keep him busy throughout the quarantine – crafting
new cocktails while getting to know old classics.
During a well-timed trip to New York, pre-pandemic, Key
visited The Campbell, a modern bar in a historic corner of
Grand Central Terminal. Surrounded by jazz-era elegance and
a talkative bartender, Key’s interest was piqued.
So, a short time later, when he passed by a book called “The
12 Bottle Bar,” he took it as a sign. “I just grabbed it off the
shelf,” he remembers. “It is basically a rundown of the 12 essential
bottles that every home bar ought to have. It was right
before the lockdown was about to start, so I stopped and got
all 12 bottles on my way home.”
Key says he started with the basics and just began experimenting
“to see what different things would do.” With his
fancy fountain pen, he would make notes of what worked
and what didn’t. Through trial and error, he landed on some
winners. He began posting his concoctions on social media
and started a “COVID Cocktail series,” with new installments
20 LAKE OCONEE LIVING | FALL 2021
almost every night.
“People really seemed to enjoy it,” says Key. “I was getting a
lot of great feedback, and I was really enjoying tasting them.”
Key jokes that, like any good Southern lawyer, he cut his
teeth on bourbon. “Everyone thinks they issue you a bottle of
bourbon when you graduate law school,” he says. “I felt like
that was what I was supposed to drink, but after quarantine, I
was really drawn to other things.”
Key says he was surprised that he kept gravitating toward
gin-based cocktails. “People may think they don’t like gin, but
gin is a blank canvas and once you start to learn what you’re
doing, you can really paint on that canvas.”
He’s always loved a gin and tonic, he says, but now he’s discovered
there is so much more you can do with gin.
Here, Key shares some of these new discoveries on classic
precedents. Based on months of notes and new procedures,
these recipes can have you ready to pass your home bar exam
in no time.