Stocking a Home Bar for Beginners

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So you want to make cocktails at home... but don't know where to start?

People ask me for all kinds of recommendations. Sometimes they just want to know a quick and easy cocktail recipe, or the best quality bourbon for the lowest price, or how to make simple syrup– equal parts sugar and water people, it's called "simple" for a reason!

However, what people ask for the most is just one, simple post about what bottles they should get for "starting out."

I'm afraid it's not very simple but here you go! Below you can find a fairly stripped down version of what I recommend for a budget home bar.

Keep in mind the way you stock your home bar is pretty subjective and will depend on your own personal preferences. I usually favor some sort of whiskey or mezcal cocktail, so that’s what the bulk of my collection consists of. My Belgian friend Matthias is really into gin, so I'd imagine he has a lot of gin. However, if you go with the bottles below you'll have a pretty well-rounded bar set-up that will allow you to create a majority of popular cocktails.

I did my best to keep these recommendations as budget-friendly as possible. I have many more recommendations for different products, so if you want more details on a particular category just ask!

This should go without saying but please enjoy responsibly. 

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Base Spirits

Whiskey

  • Rye:
    Old Overholt
    Rittenhouse

  • Bourbon:
    Buffalo Trace
    Bulleit

  • Scotch:
    Laphroaig 10 year (single malt)
    Monkey Shoulder (blended)

Rum

  • Appleton Estate Signature Blend

  • Wray & Nephew White Overproof

  • Goslings Black Seal

  • Smith & Cross

Gin

  • London Dry:
    Beefeater
    Tanqueray

  • Contemporary:
    Aviation
    Hendrick's

Agave

  • Pueblo Viejo Blanco

  • Del Maguey Vida Mezcal

Vodka

Other

  • Bonded Laird's Apple Brandy

  • Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac


Modifiers

Liqueurs

  • Cointreau (Triple Sec)

  • Ginger Liqueur

  • Campari / Aperol

  • Amaro Averna

Vermouth

  • Dolin Dry Vermouth

  • Dolin Rouge Vermouth

  • Dolin Blanc Vermouth

Syrups


Bar tools


Before you go crazy and start buying up all this stuff, take a look at 3 tips for Stocking a Home Bar on a Budget.