Stocking Your Home Bar

STOCKING YOUR HOME BAR
There are many choices when stocking your home bar. You can go the traditional route and try to mimic a commercial bar with a few good quality base spirits, a few versatile liqueurs, mixers and other ingredients. You can be as safe or as bold as you want to be. Here are our tips for stocking your home bar.
 
THE ESSENTIALS
 
Vodka
Vodka is a staple, it's the bread, milk and potatoes of cocktails. Any vodka is generally fine for cocktails although you might want to consider a premium brand if you are going to be making vodka martinis as you will need the vodka to be the hero. Flavoured vodkas can be used for many cocktails particularly raspberry, vanilla, pear and apple.
 
Gin
I'd approach gin in a similar way to vodka. It is a staple for many cocktails but again you probably want an all purpose good gin. Gin flavours vary widely based on the botanicals used but you can't go wrong with a good old London dry style gin.
 
Tequila
There are many brands of tequilas out there and if you are partial to a margarita then you will want this in your bar. The most versatile is any type of blanco (sliver) tequila.
 
Light Rum
This is the base for nearly all daquiris and mojitos. I can't go past Bacardi as the staple white rum however cheaper versions will usually do the trick, especially once combined with a whole host of daquiri flavours.

Dark or Spiced Rum
A second rum in either dark or spiced style is also handy. Spiced rum is becoming more popular and there are a lot of cocktails (both summer and winter) that utilise it. My preference would be Captain Morgan's or Kraken.
 
Whiskey
This is where things get tricky because each whiskey has its own style and flavour and generally dominates any cocktail. For versatility consider stocking a bourbon and a Canadian whisky. Always keep a good bottle of blended Scottish whiskey behind the bar as well, just in case
 
Brandy
A bottle of brandy will round off a well stocked cocktail bar but it's not essential
 
THE ESSENTIAL LIQUEURS
  • Amaretto. An almond flavoured liqueur that is used in both fancy and standard cocktails
  • Coffee Liqueur. White and black Russians and Espresso Martinis will always rely on a bottle of Kahlua
  • Dry and Sweet Vermouth. A staple liqueur if you are into martinis
  • Orange Liqueur. Used in countless cocktails, it is a must have. Options include curacao, triple sec, grand marnier or Cointreau
 
SECONDARY LIQUEURS
  • Benedictine. A sweet honey and herb liqueur that pairs well with brandy
  • Chambord. This is a brand name of raspberry liqueur
  • Crème de Cacao. Comes in a range of different colour and is not too sweet
  • Crème de Menthe. Minty and comes either clear or green
  • Peach Schnapps. A sweetener for many a cocktail. Gives a great fruity flavour
  • Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur. Ginger is a great combination in many cocktails
  • Drambuie. A scotch based herbal liqueur
  • Frangelico. A smooth hazelnut flavoured liqueur
  • Galliano L'Autentico. Adds an anise and vanilla flavour to a cocktail
  • Maraschino Liqueur. A cherry flavoured liqueur used in many cocktails 
  • Midori. Well known, bright green, melon flavoured liqueur
  • St Germaine Elderflower Liqueur. A floral liqueur used to make some very interesting and bespoke cocktails
 
ESSENTIAL MIXERS
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup
  • Sour mix
  • Milk
  • Coffee
  • Soda water
  • Tonic water
  • Ginger ale
  • Cola
  • Lemonade
 
ESSENTIAL GARNISHES
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Maraschino cherries
 
GARNISHES THAT ARE GOOD TO HAVE AROUND
  • Cocktail onions
  • Mint
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Cream