Is Your Home Bar Holiday-Season Proof?

This holiday season, Matthias Soberon is giving us goals.

We have always been intrigued by the new wave of Instagram cocktail accounts. Initially, it was hard for us to understand the idea of a non-bartender making “pretty drinks”, posting them, and gaining near-celebrity status, while our friendly neighbourhood bartender, working all the night shifts, remains an unsung hero still.

This (sometimes unjustified) apprehension stemmed from the fact that nobody really knew if these drinks passed the basic litmus test of flavour, balance, research, or if they were just another brick in the wall of the influencer market, flooding our feeds with good looking pictures of average drinks.

Over time, we started paying closer attention to some of these accounts to understand three things:

  1. Did they study the craft and work hard on a regular basis to read, learn, research this fine art?
  2. Did their language (both visual and verbal) display a genuine interest in learning about spirits, distillation, science through the bartending/spirits community?
  3. Do they work nearly as hard as bartenders to perfect the art of mixing?

We then began to stumble upon a good number of accounts that checked these boxes. It was refreshing to know that some of these lovely folks actually worked hard on learning the craft every day, investing time and energy in reading about and researching spirits and distillation processes.

One such stunning account is that of Matthias Soberon. A music teacher and writer by profession, Matthias, a home-bartender of repute, plunged into the world of spirits and cocktails as recently as a year ago out of pure interest, passion, and the need for another creative pursuit. But he didn’t stop there. In the last year, Matthias has invested time and energy on a daily basis reading books, practicing his hand at mixing, experimenting with ice, and as a result, creating beautiful drinks that he believes make the cut and are ready to share with the world. Matthias also creates his own libations, which to us is a mark of ingenuity and great skill. His due diligence is probably the by-product of being a teacher, making him methodical, focused, and patient with the craft.

Matthias Soberon - @ServedBySoberon
Matthias Soberon – @ServedBySoberon

We asked Matthias for his list of must-haves in one’s home bar this holiday season. It’s that time of the year and we all know how an ill prepared home bar can bring the festivities crashing down.

Here’s what Matthias says you must have:

  • A bottle of Rhum Agricole, limes and some Cane sugar or Turbinado (natural brown) sugar
“When I invite friends over, I started the habit of serving them a Ti Punch by putting glasses, limes, sugar and a bottle of Rhum Agricole, in front of them. I explain the concept of ‘Chacun’, Prepare Sa Propre Mort’; and then let them prep their own. Whether they want to go easy or hard is up to them, but rituals like these are a fantastic way of bonding with your guests.”
  • Quality Tonic

“People are likely to be serving/drinking Gin Tonics, and while the focus often goes to the ‘correct’ gin, a good selection of Tonics is equally important!”

  • Sherry

“These fortified wines are super versatile and work PERFECT for food pairing, when the right sherry is served, it lifts up the meal(s) to a whole new level.”

Sherry, Sherry, Sherry
Sherry, Sherry, Sherry
  • A Punchbowl

“So you don’t have to worry (or work) too much when having friends over.”

  • An Aged Rum, Whisky or Cognac you can pour neat.

“Preferably something with body, bottled at higher proof. Because in the end, you can’t beat a good dram to finish off the night.”

Duncan Taylor Rum
Duncan Taylor Rum
  • Pretty glassware
“If you want matching glassware, definitely have a look at the Libbey designs (SPKSY is a personal favorite line). Or if you’re more of the ‘random’ type: visit some thrift stores and buy all kinds of different glassware, there are always some jewels to be found.”
  • Good quality (and enough) ice!

“Preferably both cubed AND crushed, nothing like running out of ice and having to resort to crappy homemade freezer ice (unless you have a way of producing clear ice cubes yourself. Your ice REALLY is key to making decent drinks. Stock that freezer, now!”

  • Sharp knives

“Nothing as bad as trying to slice your fresh fruit or prep your garnishes with a blunt knife. Sharp knives are life.”

Oh look! A very sharp knife.
Oh look! A very sharp knife.
  • Some good cocktail literature
“Death and Co, Cocktail Codex, The Smugglers Cove, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten
Cocktails, Amaro… Have some literature and recipe books for when a blackout hits you and you fail to come up with a decent recipe. They’re often filled with beautiful stories and
photography and liven up your home bar. Let your guests run through them while
sipping, possibly learning a bit about the history of the products or cocktails you’re serving them.”
Time to get schooled
Time to get schooled
  • Music

“I have a little (but decent) bluetooth box on which I just play some Spotify playlists that I prep in front, whether it’s Prohibition Era Jazz, some classical piano music, Old school HipHop, Polynesion Pop or Top 40 Hitlist material, music is a huge part of the setting and even the menu you prepared for your friends.”

Bonus tip: “A camera! After all the work you’ve put into creating drinks, it’s good to have some lasting memories!”

That’s a list we’re going to follow religiously this year. But what are we going make? Matthias was kind enough to share a recipe of one of his own drinks:

THE BACCHANALIA (a Served By Soberon original)

THE BACCHANALIA (a Served By Soberon original)
THE BACCHANALIA (a Served By Soberon original)
  • 40ml Chocolate Liqueur (I used Bouvery)
  • 40ml Full Bodied Dark Rum (I used Dos Maderas Seleccion)
  • 20ml Coconut Spiced Rum (I used Aluna Coconut)
  • 5ml Orange Liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
  1. Shake all with ice
  2. Double strain over fresh ice
  3. Garnish with Fresh Raspberry, Chocolate Truffle and dehydrated Orange, optionally sprinkle some grated coconut over it.

We asked Matthias about his own goals for his home bar in 2019. ” I’d love to pay more attention to classic European spirits, I’m thinking of focusing on Genever, Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados. Beautiful products with centuries of heritage, but way too little love in the Mixology world. We’ll see what happens, I’m ready to go even harder than this year, let’s do it!”

If we could, we’d be spending the holiday season at Matthias’ home bar. But since that’s not going to be possible, we’re going to bookmark this page and hope you will too.©

Follow Matthias on Instagram and let him know you’re watching!

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