These Are The Only Home Bar Essentials You Need
Mix up a cocktail on a moment's notice with these tried-and-true tips from Geoffrey Zakarian!
Classic cocktails are a staple of Vegas, but you don't need to travel there to enjoy them. You don't even need to leave your house! GZ taught us how to stock your home bar so you can not only enjoy classic cocktails at home, but also make a variety of drinks!
First, you need to stock up on your liquors. You'll need bourbon, rye (whiskey), gin, vodka and tequila. You can make a wide array of drinks with these five liquors.
Second, you'll need some additional spirits that are used in a ton of classic cocktail recipes. GZ suggests gathering Campari, Lillet Blanc, sweet and dry vermouths and 2 to 3 types of amari. Amari are a category of Italian aperitifs that have botanical flavors. They can be used to make a "Black" Manhattan, which replaces the sweet vermouth of a classic Manhattan with amaro. For that reason, GZ calls his version of this deliciously boozy drink an "Amaro Manhattan". Campari is an Italian red, bitter-tasting aperitif commonly used for Negronis. Lillet Blanc is a French white wine aperitif with a bitter flavor and a hint of orange and honey. Vermouth is a fortified wine traditionally made in France or Italy. Like the other aperitifs mentioned above, it is flavored with botanicals. Sweet and dry vermouths are used to balance the strong alcohol flavors in many cocktails.
Third, you'll need simple syrup and bitters. Bitters are known as the "spice" of the cocktail world—try out a few different flavors to spice up your cocktails! GZ used lavender bitters in his Amaro Manhattan this episode and suggested keeping both classic and cucumber bitters on hand as well. (A bonus is that bitters are said to ease an upset stomach.)
Of course you'll need your garnishes—always keep lemons, limes and oranges on hand, as well as marinated cherries. Make sure to have small and large olives in brine, pearl onions and sugar cubes, since they are vital ingredients for many drinks.
Now you have a well-stocked home bar that'll last for years to come!