10 Classic Cocktails You Can Make With A 7 Bottle Home Bar | VinePair

10 Classic Cocktails You Can Make With A 7 Bottle Home Bar

4 minute Read


So you want to have a home bar but you don’t want to spend many dollars, or have your shelves looking like something out of an old timey apothecary? No problem. A bit of investment in a few moderately priced bottles (plus just a few bar mainstays) can actually set you up to make ten classic cocktails. Best part is, the spirits for mixing tend to range around $30 (roughly) on average, meaning you can stock a bar and drink cocktails well into the cold, dark party-defying months of winter without having to pay tip and leave the house.

The 7 Bottle Home Bar

  • A Good Dry Gin
  • Everyday Vodka (ie not premium)
  • Blanco (Silver) Tequila
  • A Solid Mixable Bourbon
  • Basic Rye Whiskey
  • Entry-level Single-Malt Scotch
  • White Or Dark Rum (if dark, nothing too fancy)

Buy this handful of bottles and you’ve got at least ten classic cocktails at your fingertips, plus or minus some fresh fruit, vermouth – both sweet and dry – and Angostura bitters. Oh, and Champagne. You should always, always have Champagne.

Martini

Martini

Not as many orders among the younger generation, but if you stock a good gin, this classic cocktail might get some much-deserved attention, and generate some weirdly sophisticated chit-chat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ ounces dry gin
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • Garnish (olive, citrus twist)

Instructions:

Combine gin and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice, and stir well to incorporate and chill. Pour into a Martini glass and garnish.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Blood and Sand

A sexy Scotch cocktail (yes, there is such a thing) that only requires some OJ and Scotch, plus vermouth (which, by now you have, and Cherry Heering, which you won’t regret having). Note: you don’t want to use an expensive single malt for this. Something not too head-buttingly expressive, but still Scotch, is best.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • ¾ ounce blood orange juice
  • ¾ ounce Cherry Heering
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Manhattan

Manhattan

Basically the dark counterpart to the Martini, classically made with Rye Whiskey (but it can technically be made with bourbon, Canadian, Irish whiskey, Tennesse whiskey, etc.). If you can, go for rye, which is also very good on its own.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (buy them, these will show up a lot)

Instructions:

Stir the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish, if desired, with a maraschino cherry.

Whiskey Sour

A classic whiskey sour is NOT made with “sour mix,” but egg white, whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Basically once you have the whiskey, you’re set, since everything else you likely have at home (simple syrup is just sugar mixed with equal parts water). And unlike what you’d get at a bar, this whiskey sour will have some nuance of texture and flavor, and wayyyyy less sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces whiskey (bourbon or rye will do nicely)
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Egg white

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice (the egg white is optional, but can provide a nice smooth texture). Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Yield: 1 cocktail

Margarita

Margarita

The classic tequila vehicle, kind of translating the vegetal agave heat of tequila—through lime—to deserving Happy Hour palates everywhere. Thing is, if you get some triple sec (an orange liqueur), you can make a decent Margarita at home, any time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ½ ounces triple sec
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Coarse salt
  • Lime wedge

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, strain into a Margarita glass rimmed with salt (optional).

Daiquiri

A Hemingway favorite, but also just a great way to enjoy rum, with a bit of an acidic kick cutting through the caramel sweetness. Intense, but weirdly also relaxing, like tropical sun rays.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces light or dark rum
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water dissolved)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

Yes, what they drank on Mad Men (sometimes, they drank a lot of stuff). Old Fashioneds still exist because they’re exquisitely simple to make but still really complex once you make them.

 Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Bourbon whiskey
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Sugar cube
  • Soda water

Instructions:

Put the sugar cube on the bottom of the glass (ideally an Old Fashioned glass), wet it with the Angostura and some soda water such that you can mash it around. Pour the bourbon over it. Drink like an advertising king.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Champagne Cocktail

Not technically a cocktail, but celebration in a glass. You could literally be throwing an ill-planned Flag Day Mixer, serve a few of these, and suddenly, everyone’s really into Flag Day. Cue old timey music and the Charleston.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura bitters
  • Champagne

Instructions:

Douse the sugar cube with Angostura bitters in the bottom of a champagne flute (don’t over-douse, a few shakes is fine). Top with decent Champagne.

Yield: 1 cocktail

Negroni

NegroniA gin cocktail with a very special, classic flavor profile—all courtesy of Campari, which is a great item to stock if you’re a fan of the grapefruit– bitter flavor profile. Smooth, rich, ruby red, potent. OK, this is getting intense…

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 once sweet vermouth

Instructions:

Combine gin, Campari, and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until incorporated and chilled. Strain into a Martini glass (or cocktail glass). Garnish with an orange twist (optional).

Yield: 1 cocktail

Moscow Mule

Yes you could make a nice Martini with vodka, but the Moscow Mule is a great way to kind of tether vodka’s pretty bracing alcohol content to the kick of ginger beer and the spark of bright lime juice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • ½ lime, plus wedge
  • 4 ounces ginger beer (more depending on taste)

Instructions:

Ideally in a classic Moscow Mule cup (but any larger glass will do), squeeze lime juice onto ice cubes. Drop lime wedge in, pour vodka on top, and top with ginger beer.

Yield: 1 cocktail

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