Interested in setting up a home bar? Now that you have your bar tools and the essential spirits, you’ll need to keep a few key mixers on hand. Part of the fun is keeping it stocked so you’ll always be ready when that cocktail mood strikes. You never know when you’ll want to mix up Martini, Manhattan, or Tom Collins. Here are a few mixers to get you started.
You’ll definitely need vermouth— both sweet and dry. Sweet vermouth is an essential ingredient in a number of classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Negroni, and Martinez. You could go with Dolin Rouge or up your game a bit with Carpano Antica, a sweet Italian vermouth. For your martinis, you’ll want a crisp dry vermouth. Our go-to is Dolin Vermouth De Chambery Dry, which has a lightly floral and citrus flavor that’s perfect for both gin or vodka martini. And if you’re a fan of the Vesper, White Negroni or Corpse Reviver #2, you’ll want to keep an a bottle of Cocchi Americano around as well.
Another must-have are bitters with a classic spiced flavor profile like our favorite locally-made Bitter Housewife Aromatic Bitters. These can be used anywhere you would use the popular Angostura Bitters. So many drinks call for a few dashes, plus they are an absolute must if you are partial to an Old Fashioned. Another commonly called for ingredient is simple syrup. Of course, you can easily make your own by combining equal parts hot water and sugar, but if you’d prefer to skip a step, you can pick up this Raft Simple Syrup from the Bottle Shop. For a high-quality soda, we always reach for Fever Tree Club Soda to top off highballs or collins cocktails. And we love this Fever Tree Tonic Water for mixing up G&Ts. It might seem like a no-brainer, but making sure you’re flush on fresh ice can really be a game changer for home bartending. You’re going to want lots of cubed ice for shaking and stirring and maybe some large cubes for serving cocktails. And nothing adds brightness to drinks quite like citrus, so we recommend stocking your fruit bowl with lemons, limes, and oranges. It’s always nice to have these on hand for juicing and peeling for garnishes. Cheers!