Essential Spirits for a Home Bar

Now that you’ve built your own bar, it’s time to start stocking it with spirits.

Essential Spirits for a Home Bar

In the second part of How to Set Up a Home Bar series, we’ve partnered with Pernod Ricard Australia to bring you the essential spirits you need for your home bar.

When it comes to investing in spirits, there’s no need to buy everything at once. Choose the base spirits in the cocktails you enjoy drinking first then build on the collection. The aim is to eventually have a good selection of spirits so you can make the range of drinks you like.

Essential Spirits for a Home Bar

1. Vodka

It may be dubbed the odourless, flavourless spirit, but a good vodka should have subtle character. Choose a vodka that’s smooth and mellow, has a minimum of 40% ABV and no added sugar such as ABSOLUT Vodka distilled from winter wheat.

Use for: Bloody Mary, Espresso Martini, Cosmopolitan

2. Gin

When it comes to juniper based spirits, look no further than a classic, full flavoured gin that’s versatile and makes a good base for many drinks. Plymouth Gin is made to similar specifications as a London Dry with a soft juniper hit and subtle citrus notes of lemon and orange.

Use for: Negroni, Martinez, G&T, Gimlet, French 75, Tom Collins, Bees Knees

3. Tequila

With tequila, always choose a product that is made from 100% agave. Tequila blanco, or “silver” as it’s also called makes a good choice for cocktails. Avion Silver is very smooth with a good balance of roasted agave notes, citrus, pineapple and black pepper.

Use for: Margarita, Paloma, Batanga, Bloody Maria, El Diablo, Tommy’s Margarita

4. Rum

Rum is a diverse spirit category and while you can have anything from a young rum to an aged rum for different cocktails, a white rum such as Havana Club 3 Anos makes a good starting point. It’s smooth and light, aged for 3 years and is well-suited to home made summer cocktails.

Use for: Daiquiri, Cuba Libre, Mojito, Rum Punch

5. Whisky

If you’re a whisky fan, you’re unlikely to put your precious single malt in a cocktail but you don’t want to compromise on quality and flavour. A blended whisky such as Chivas Regal Extra with ripe orchard fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger notes ginger notes make it perfect for warming winter cocktails.

Use for: Blood and Sand, Rob Roy, Penicillin, Rusty Nail

6. Rye Whiskey

It always pays to have a bottle of rye whiskey such as Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky in the home bar for when you don’t feel like the sweetness of bourbon. It mixes well and adds good spice notes to cocktails and mixed drinks.

Use for: Vieux Carré, Sazerac, Manhattan, Trinidad Sour

7. Bourbon

A good, classic bourbon such as Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select (a Brown-Forman spirit) is essential for that unmistakable bourbon flavour. It’s smooth, rich and full bodied with a balance of vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, spice and oak.

Use for: Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, Whiskey Sour, Boulevardier

Once you have acquired the basics for your taste, you can always add different expressions of the spirit or consider more spirit categories such as Irish Whiskey, Mezcal, Cachaça, Brandy or Cognac and Genever.

Next in How to Set Up a Home Bar series… Part 3 – Essential Mixers & Modifiers for Your Home Bar

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Essential Spirits for a Home Bar was last modified: August 30th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.