This comprehensive guide will prepare you for any party.
Having a well-curated bar cart is a tell-tale sign you've entered into adulthood. The organized assortment of shiny bottles, spirits, and mixers will encourage you to shake and serve like the grown-up you are. Below, a list of bar cart necessities:
- London Dry-Style Gin: From the classic martini to the simple gin and tonic, it’s a must on any bar cart.
- Blended Scotch: There's always a Scotch-lover in the crowd, so it's best to be prepared and have a bottle on hand.
- Bourbon: Pick one with a high rye content to please the rye lovers as well as the bourbon devotees.
- Tequila: A 100% blue agave silver will become the base of a number of delicious drinks.
- Vodka: A blank canvas that will serve you well, whether you're in the mood for a vodka spritzer or a simple punch.
- Rum: Choose one that is light or silver (meaning unaged). Use it for a Mojito and a classic Daiquiri.
- Aperitif-style Bitters: Campari, the key ingredient in a Negroni, and Aperol, what you need for an Aperol Spritz, are de rigueur—and also great with a simple splash of club soda or brut Prosecco.
- Armagnac: Forget Cognac. Its southerly cousin, Armagnac, has a complex flavor and is one of the less expensive options in the world of fine French brandy.
- Amaro: Opt for an easy-going, not too bitter, not too sweet version, like Nonino or Averna. You’ll impress your nerdiest cocktail friends, have a fantastic digestif on hand at all times, and a great pinch-hitter for cocktails, too.
- Vermouth: A good quality white and red vermouth are a must. But once opened, keep them in the fridge—they will oxidize if left on the cart.
- Bitters: There are two you must have on hand at all times: Angostura and Peychaud’s. These will get you through an abundance of cocktail recipes—and perhaps inspire some new ones, too.
- Sparkling wine: The secret weapon to any bar, brut-style sparkling wine can turn a boring drink into a festive occasion by the mere pop of its cork. And you can sip it alone, too.
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Now that you have the liquor you need, learn about which glassware pairs with what cocktail.