The following is a series of checklists on what I believe to be essential for a home bar that is serious about cocktails.


  1. Mixing Gin: One of Plymouth or Beefeater
  2. Drinking Gin: One of Nolet’s, Monkey 47, Hendrick’s, Death’s Door, Oxley, Sipsmith…


  1. Rye: At least two or three from Rittenhouse, Sazerac, Wild Turkey, Bulleit, Alberta Springs and whatever else you might be able to find at your local store.
  2. Mixing Bourbon: I use Four Roses but any of the common brands will do.
  3. Drinking Bourbon: One of the many on the market.  Woodford Reserve is a common choice.
  4. Mixing Blended Scotch: The Famous Grouse
  5. Mixing Irish Whiskey: Bushmills


  1. Mixing White Rum: Havana Club Blanco Anejo
  2. Mixing Dark Rum: One of Havana Club 7 Years Anejo, Goslings’ Black Seal, Flor de Cana or Myers Planter’s Punch
  3. Drinking Dark Rum: I love Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum but there are so many to choose from.


  1. Marquis de Villard Brandy
  2. Hennessey VSOP Cognac
  3. Pisco Aba
  4. Kirsch
  5. Calvados or, ideally, Laird’s 7 Year Apple Brandy

Tequila & Mezcal

  1. Mixing Silver Tequila: Sauva or equivalent
  2. Mixing Reposado: I use the affordable El Jimador
  3. Drinking Tequila: El Patron Anejo.
  4. Mezcal: If you bring one bottle home from the US, make it a Del Maguey mezcal


  1. Mixing Vodka:  One of any brand, the cheaper the better.  Iceberg?

Wine, Port & Sherry

  1. Sparkling Wine (small bottles)
  2. Tawny Port
  3. Lustau Manzanilla Sherry
  4. Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry

Fortified Wines

  1. Dry Vermouth: Dolin, ideally, or Noilly Pratt
  2. Sweet Vermouth: One each of Carpano Antica and another rosso like Dolin or Carpano Classico
  3. Lillet Blanc
  4. Cocchi Americano or Kina L’Avion D’Or

Sake & Shochu

  1. Small 375 ml Bottle of Sake


  1. Simple Syrup 1:1
  2. Grenadine
  3. Taiko Demerara Sugar Cubes
  4. Oranges for juice
  5. 100% pineapple juice.  I keep the Dole tiny cans around.
  6. Mott’s Clamato (or tomato juice) for Caesars.  I buy the small bottles in six packs as they keep a long time.
  7. Triple Sec: Cointreau or Curacao, if you can get it.
  8. Luxardo Maraschino
  9. Chartreuse
  10. Benedictine
  11. Aperol
  12. Campari
  13. Amaro: Fernet Branca and at least one other amaro.  Use di Montengro if you’re only going to buy one.
  14. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
  15. Apry or another Apricot Brandy
  16. Absinthe: ideally, Vieux Pontarlier.  Pernod Pastis can act as a decent substitute for absinthe.


  1. Lemons
  2. Limes
  3. Grapefruit


  1. Angostura Bitters
  2. Regan’s Orange Bitters (or equivalent)
  3. Peychaud’s Bitters


  1. 4-6 stainless steel Boston shakers
  2. Large and small cocktail shakers
  3. Hawthorn or julep strainer
  4. 4 Fine strainers
  5. Foodsaver with bottle attachments and bags for ice
  6. Lemon/lime press
  7. Barspoon
  8. Large and small muddler
  9. Kuhn Ricon citrus peeler
  10. Kuhn Ricon paring knife
  11. Measuring spoon set
  12. Oxo cups (or jiggers)
  13. Electric citrus juicer
  14. Ice molds
  15. Waring ice crusher (if your fridge doesn’t already do it)
  16. Vita-Mix Blender
  17. Mason jars and lids (various sizes)
  18. Plastic syrup bottles
  19. Garnish picks (two lengths)


  1. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
  2. Green Bella di Cerignola Olives
  3. Fresh mint as often as possible (consider growing it yourself)
  4. Pickled cocktail onions if you like Gibsons as much as I do
  5. Nutmeg and grater


  1. Coupe (2-3 sizes)
  2. Old Fashioned (2-3 sizes)
  3. Collins (2 sizes)
  4. Martini
  5. Flute
  6. White wine


  1. Eggs
  2. Taiko demerara sugar cubes
  3. Cream
  4. Coco Lopez
  5. Mint
  6. Frozen Pineapple
  7. Celery Salt, Tabasco, Worchestire Sauce & Celery
  8. Orgeat
  9. Tonic Water
  10. Soda Water
  11. Cola
  12. Ginger Beer


  1. Subscription to Imbibe
  2. The PDT Cocktail Book
  3. The Savoy Cocktail Book
  4. Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails
  5. The Essential Cocktail

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