Not everyone has the luxury of resources to build their own home bar. But if you’re one of the lucky ones, why not make the most out of it?
Now, let’s assume you’re the average home bar owner. It’s nothing grand, but it’s far from shabby. You consider it your own little speakeasy, a safe haven after an exhausting day at work. You just have the essentials to make it work.
The Only Bottles You Need For Your Home Bar
These are the only bottles you need for your favorite classic cocktails. Have these on your shelf, and you’re golden.
You’re watching a movie and you see a character order a ‘stiff drink’ at a bar and be given a shot of whiskey on a rocks glass. It’s a home pour, which is usually higher.
That’s because whether it’s rye, scotch, or bourbon, they’re potent enough to provide you that kick you’re looking for to push that reset button. A few sips will loosen you up before you even know it.
And yes, you’re good to go with one of the three aforementioned. You can make a Manhattan or a Sazerac with your rye, a penicillin with your scotch, and the classic Old Fashioned with your bourbon. Or you can have them neat, especially if you have an elegant Islay scotch brand with you.
Irish whiskey is an honorable mention, if you have a bit of diversity with your whiskey flavors. Japanese whiskey is another, if you love your highballs.
Not everyone is a whiskey drinker, and you’d want to widen your options. That’s where a nice bottle of gin comes in.
A quick research will give you five or seven types of gin, but you’re set with having London Dry Gin alone. It’ll be your cocktail base for when you’re craving for a homemade Negroni, Tom Collins, or whatever special variation you have for the gin and tonic. It’s also a base spirit for many other refreshing cocktails you can feel free to experiment with.
If you’re looking to add variety to your collection, Japanese gin is a good second bottle to have. It is made from ingredients indigenous to Japan, like sakura and bamboo and therefore offers a more citrusy and floral flavor.
If you love the occasional drink but hate gaining the unwanted pounds from it, vodkas are there for you. It is the adult beverage of choice for the weight-conscious, with each shot containing less than 100 calories.
But regardless if you’re drinking for the calories or not, having a bottle of vodka in your home bar allows you to be James Bond, for one. Just be sure to have a bottle of dry vermouth, and remember, it is shaken, not stirred as dictated by tradition.
Like gin, vodka opens the door for many flavorful cocktails like an Appletini, a Moscow Mule, and for those who love a savory buzz, a Bloody Mary.
Whether you’re enjoying it straight up or in a cocktail, a bottle of rum would be a great addition to your home bar. And out of the seven or eight rum types that Google will show you, you’re all set with either a light or dark, or both.
If you enjoy a piña colada, a mai tai, or a dark and stormy every now and then, you’d want to have a bottle of dark rum handy. But if you prefer a refreshing option like a daiquiri or a mojito, you’d want to have a bottle of light rum in the liquor cabinet.
The only difference between Mezcal and Tequila is their place of origin in Mexico. The former hails from the Oaxaca region while the latter came to existence in Jalisco. But both are magnificent Mexican spirits that would serve a purpose in your home bar.
If you’re a party animal or you just want a throwback night to your college years, you would gladly welcome shots. But if you prefer to take a slower pace, sipping them on the rocks with a twist of lemon would do the trick.
But then you have cocktails like the well-beloved margarita, a favorite among those who go for the celebratory day drink. Then you have the frozen margaritas, perfect for sunny summer afternoons by the pool.
What’s great about these recipes is that you can mix and match them. Mezcal margaritas could be a life-changer for some of you. Go ahead and give them a try.
We’re done with the essentials, now we have the nice-to-haves. These are usually base ingredients for specific cocktails.
Said as ‘kah-sha-sa’ in Portuguese. This Brazilian spirit distilled from fermented sugarcane is a bonus bottle if you enjoy having a caipirinha.
It’s a sweet and tangy tropical drink that’s best enjoyed by the beach. Just like how locals do it along the shores of Ipanema.
While it may be an acquired taste for many, whiskey drinkers tend to immediately fall in love with Islay scotch. It’s a peatier, earthier cousin of the scotch whiskey family is best enjoyed through a snifter glass with a cigar on hand.
Islay Scotch is usually at a higher price point than blended scotch. But if you want that smokey flavor that the peat brings, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Negronis are an acquired taste for a number of people because of the bitter hints from the Campari. This apéritif is also the culprit behind the drink’s signature orange hue.
Campari adds a level of versatility to the cocktail in terms of its flavor. A Boulevardier or a Campari Spritz are just some good examples.
Make the Most Out of Your Home Bar
A home bar doesn’t need to be elaborate. It needs to be practical. Feel free to spruce up the place to set the scene, but when it comes to the contents in the cabinet, these are all the bottles you need.
Go ahead and stock up. You’ll find everything online, and the best part: they will deliver it to your door. And who knows? You may even learn a new cocktail or two along the way.