If you love concocting new drinks for friends and entertaining in your home, then creating a home bar should be next on your to-do list.
Every home bar is different as it largely depends on the individual’s style, taste, and budget. There are no hard and fast rules in building your home bar because you shouldn’t stock up on items you wouldn’t use.
First things first, know what your favourite liveners are before you stock up your home bar. If you’re unsure but willing to try new drinks, check out these fizzy cocktail recipes to dabble with at home.
Here is a selection of liquors to stock up for your home bar that will allow any newbies to make a fancy drink on a whim.
And as with all things in life, moderation is key. Drink well, but drink in moderation.
You don’t need a lot to get started but these are the base liquors used in most of the cocktails.
Clear Spirits like Vodka, Gin and Tequila
Vodka is essential and budget-friendly. This crisp, clean spirit is the most-consumed liquor in the world. Its neutral taste makes it the most versatile spirit. Originated in Russia and Poland, vodka is typically made from grains or potatoes. Over time, more vodka makers around the world have experimented with various agricultural products for diversity.
The Haku Vodka from Japan’s House of Suntory is distilled from Japanese white rice and then it goes through a bamboo charcoal filtration to achieve a soft, clean and subtly sweet taste. It’s a vodka that’s easy-to-drink, you can use it as a base for martini shots and cocktails.
Gin is a clear, grain-based liquor that has a pine-like flavour because of its core ingredient – Juniper berries. (Now you know why Gin smells like Christmas Tree.) Gin is similar to vodka but it undergoes a second distillation process where it passes through a variety of herbs and spices. The main component will always be juniper berries and the skilful gin distillers will add in lemon zest, cinnamon, coriander or liquorice to balance the botanical flavours. That being said, you will find plenty of cocktail recipes call for Gordon’s Gin, so it is nice to have one bottle at home.
Today, we are seeing more craft gin in the market where gin distillers are experimenting with new flavours. Gin could possibly be the most English drink but it is now produced worldwide and there are interesting flavours from Asia. If you love this classic tipple: Gin & Tonic with a squeeze of fresh lime or top with a slice of pineapple, you can always count on a bottle of good Singapore dry gin. Produced by Singapore’s first micro-distillery, Brass Lion Distillery combines classic gin botanicals with Asian flavours like aromatic torch ginger flower and citrusy lemongrass, and the result is a smooth, vibrant spirit that is the Singapore Dry Gin.
Gin is meant to be mixed as the botanicals (herbs, spices etc.) come to life in cocktails and add complexity to the drink. This is why so many classic cocktails call for gin!
Tequila is notorious for its party drink reputation and you could have a love-hate relationship with this spirit. Tequila has a rich history thanks to the Aztecs. (You can check out the legend about Tequila here.) Tequila is also considered to be a staple in many cocktails. It has a semi-sweet and spicy flavour which makes a perfect base for spicy cocktails.
Is Tequila always amber-coloured? Nope. The distilled spirit from the agave plant is blue. Those party shots you had in clubs are amber-coloured or golden brown because the tequila has been aged and blended with other additives like sugar or molasses.
The Cenote Blanco is blue as it is 100% distilled from agave plant with no additives and it is an un-aged tequila.
If you’re a fan of Tequila Sunrise, Tequila Sour and especially Margarita, you’ll need a bottle or two tequila.
Other Liquors like Rum and Whiskey
Rum is a sweet spirit made from either molasses or pure sugar cane and is often used in tropical cocktails, most notably, mojito and daiquiri. Today, rum is made throughout the world, while the Caribbean is best known for its rum, there are some fantastic brands produced elsewhere. If you’re not a fan of gin-based cocktails, but prefer something sweeter, then Havana Club 3 Years old light Cuban rum will be the one you can always count on for most cocktails. Plus, rum is considered one of the most affordable liquors.
Whiskey is one of the most diverse distilled spirits in the bar. There are many varieties of whiskey in the market namely single malt, blended, Irish, Scotch, Canadian, or Japanese whisky, the list goes on. Whiskey is also a versatile cocktail base because of their flavour profiles, it mixes well with other liquors and pairs well with several fruits.
For a start, consider getting a bottle of Monkey Shoulder which consists of three single malts, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Kininvie. The marriage of those single malts, aged in post-bourbon-filled casks, creates a fantastic blended malt whisky. It is relatively affordable and easy-to-drink. You might find yourself serving it on rocks most of the time, it has an uplifting floral aroma and a smooth finish. It is a very versatile scotch whiskey that makes a perfect cocktail base.