Our New Year's Eve pajama party was a champagne-heavy event, but we had all the ingredients to whip up tasty cocktails too. You never know what your guests will prefer! Here's a list of "bar basics" that you'll need to create a variety of drinks:
- Gin: I love gin, so we have a couple of varieties on our bar cart. If you're just going to choose one, don't skimp- go with a classic like Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire.
- Vodka: This is a versatile liquor, and again, we have a couple of different types. Grey Goose, Ciroq, and Tito's are all on our bar cart. Because most vodka drinks include other mixers, you don't necessarily need to get the most expensive type.
- White Rum: Spiced rum is less versatile, so keep it simple.
- Whiskey/Bourbon: An Old Fashioned is a favorite drink at our house, so we have a variety of this spirit on hand as well. Pick a high quality bourbon or whiskey that you would enjoy sipping just as much as drinking in a mixed drink.
- Scotch: Cheap scotch burns and doesn't have great flavor, so go for the good stuff! It's most likely that your guests will sip this beverage over ice.
- Grand Marnier: Want to make quick and easy margaritas? Have this on hand or substitute another orange liqueur (Gran Torres is another great option!).
- Tequila: I prefer Tequila Blanco, but choose whatever you like best. It's YOUR bar!
- Mixers: Tonic, club soda, fruit juices... all of these are great things to have on hand. I like Q Tonic, which can be purchased at most liquor stores or Whole Foods.
- Lemons/Limes: These go in everything! And you'll look like an expert bartender when you used a curled lime rind in your next cosmo.
- Brown Sugar Cubes or Simple Syrup: Muddle a cube in your glass or add a splash of simple syrup to make your drink extra sweet.
Most drink recipes call for some combo of the ingredients listed above, but if you have a favorite cocktail that uses a special ingredient, have that on hand too. We always have Campari on hand for Negronis or Campari Spritzers.
In addition to your fully-stocked bar, make sure to have a variety of beer and wine on hand. We keep our wine fridge stocked with a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines- from budget-friendly to special-occasion-worthy. If you're not sure what to buy, check out this post or ask someone at the wine shop you're visiting. They should be able to steer you in the right direction!