The following is a series of checklists on what I believe to be essential for a home bar that is serious about cocktails.
- Mixing Gin: One of Plymouth or Beefeater
- Drinking Gin: One of Nolet’s, Monkey 47, Hendrick’s, Death’s Door, Oxley, Sipsmith…
- 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.
- Mixing Bourbon: I use Four Roses but any of the common brands will do.
- Drinking Bourbon: One of the many on the market. Woodford Reserve is a common choice.
- Mixing Blended Scotch: The Famous Grouse
- Mixing Irish Whiskey: Bushmills
- Mixing White Rum: Havana Club Blanco Anejo
- Mixing Dark Rum: One of Havana Club 7 Years Anejo, Goslings’ Black Seal, Flor de Cana or Myers Planter’s Punch
- Drinking Dark Rum: I love Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum but there are so many to choose from.
- Marquis de Villard Brandy
- Hennessey VSOP Cognac
- Pisco Aba
- Calvados or, ideally, Laird’s 7 Year Apple Brandy
Tequila & Mezcal
- Mixing Silver Tequila: Sauva or equivalent
- Mixing Reposado: I use the affordable El Jimador
- Drinking Tequila: El Patron Anejo.
- Mezcal: If you bring one bottle home from the US, make it a Del Maguey mezcal
- Mixing Vodka: One of any brand, the cheaper the better. Iceberg?
Wine, Port & Sherry
- Sparkling Wine (small bottles)
- Tawny Port
- Lustau Manzanilla Sherry
- Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry
- Dry Vermouth: Dolin, ideally, or Noilly Pratt
- Sweet Vermouth: One each of Carpano Antica and another rosso like Dolin or Carpano Classico
- Lillet Blanc
- Cocchi Americano or Kina L’Avion D’Or
Sake & Shochu
- Small 375 ml Bottle of Sake
- Simple Syrup 1:1
- Taiko Demerara Sugar Cubes
- Oranges for juice
- 100% pineapple juice. I keep the Dole tiny cans around.
- Mott’s Clamato (or tomato juice) for Caesars. I buy the small bottles in six packs as they keep a long time.
- Triple Sec: Cointreau or Curacao, if you can get it.
- Luxardo Maraschino
- Amaro: Fernet Branca and at least one other amaro. Use di Montengro if you’re only going to buy one.
- Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot
- Apry or another Apricot Brandy
- Absinthe: ideally, Vieux Pontarlier. Pernod Pastis can act as a decent substitute for absinthe.
- Angostura Bitters
- Regan’s Orange Bitters (or equivalent)
- Peychaud’s Bitters
- 4-6 stainless steel Boston shakers
- Large and small cocktail shakers
- Hawthorn or julep strainer
- 4 Fine strainers
- Foodsaver with bottle attachments and bags for ice
- Lemon/lime press
- Large and small muddler
- Kuhn Ricon citrus peeler
- Kuhn Ricon paring knife
- Measuring spoon set
- Oxo cups (or jiggers)
- Electric citrus juicer
- Ice molds
- Waring ice crusher (if your fridge doesn’t already do it)
- Vita-Mix Blender
- Mason jars and lids (various sizes)
- Plastic syrup bottles
- Garnish picks (two lengths)
- Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
- Green Bella di Cerignola Olives
- Fresh mint as often as possible (consider growing it yourself)
- Pickled cocktail onions if you like Gibsons as much as I do
- Nutmeg and grater
- Coupe (2-3 sizes)
- Old Fashioned (2-3 sizes)
- Collins (2 sizes)
- White wine
- Taiko demerara sugar cubes
- Coco Lopez
- Frozen Pineapple
- Celery Salt, Tabasco, Worchestire Sauce & Celery
- Tonic Water
- Soda Water
- Ginger Beer
- Subscription to Imbibe
- The PDT Cocktail Book
- The Savoy Cocktail Book
- Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails
- The Essential Cocktail