Continuing with the series Home Bar Essentials, let me focus on some of the must spirits in your home bar cabinet. These spirits and liqueurs can be enjoyed standalone and also used as a base spirit to make a great number of cocktails. Spirits are the heart of most cocktails and there are lot many cocktails than there are individual spirits. Each spirit can be mixed with any number of liqueurs, mixers, flavourings and decorations.
Some of the basic Spirits & Beverages to have in a home bar cabinet.
Gin: Gin is one of the favourites and a must. It is a clear grain spirit which is further distilled with botanicals such as aromatic herbs and spices. There are a number of excellent gin brands available in the market. A good way is to keep a London Dry Gin which is well suited to make a cocktail. Also, a Dutch gin which has a stronger flavour is a great company in the home bar cabinet. Local gin brands are an excellent choice for making various cocktails right from Gin and tonic to Negroni.
Vodka: This is a flavourless and a neutral spirit and is a perfect choice for the cocktails as it adds depth. As it goes in the business that is felt but not smelt. It also comes in several flavours as well. A good way is to keep a neutral vodka and along with it may be a lemon or pepper or an espresso flavoured vodka.
Rum: This spirt is distilled from sugarcane. The dark rum is heavier in flavour than the white rum and both can be part of the home bar cabinet. Though a white rum is a more preferred spirit in cocktails a dark rum can be a good act on punches or a winter drink to warm up and keep the chill-out. You could also look into having a spiced rum.
Tequila: Tequila is Mexico’s national spirt and made from blue agave. Well, it is always good to have a 100% agave tequila in a home bar. There are different classifications from Blanco, reposado, anejo to extra anejo depending upon the age of the tequila. A mixto tequila which uses no less than 51% agave can be a great substitute to a regular 100% blue agave tequila for making cocktails.
Whisky: It is an ideal choice to have a blended scotch whisk(e)y along with single malt peated and an unpeated whisky. Though whisky is one of those least used spirits in the cocktails, its great idea to have a Bourbon or a Tennessee whisky which could also be used to make some fabulous spirt forward cocktails such as the Old fashioned, Manhattan, Whisky sour and so on.
Brandy: Brandy which is also known as burnt wine is distilled from fermented grape juice. Though Cognac and Armagnac are famous brandies of the world coming from the French regions, any good fruity and aromatic brandy in your bar closet is fine.
Any liqueur preferably an orange liqueur or a triple sec is a good a choice. To add to the home bar is any bitters preferably Angostura bitters or Peychaud’s Bitters.
Likewise, tonic water, orange, pineapple, strawberry juices along with soda, coke, lemonade, coconut milk, lime cordial etc can be a good choice for the home bar fridge.