This is Part 2 in our three-part blog series about the things that every home bar owner needs to feel like their space is complete. If you missed Part 1 (The Six Bar Tools You Absolutely Must Have) you can click the link to catch up. Today’s post is all about the cocktail ingredients you should have on hand (other than your favorite booze) to craft drinks that go well beyond “good enough.” Enjoy!
First things first, let’s get the facts out of the way: The best ingredients make the best cocktails. Period. Just like a chef strives to use the highest-quality ingredients when preparing a dish, a mixologist should do the same when preparing a drink. So when you’re shopping to stock up on ingredients that will live behind your bar, you’ll want to make sure that you focus on quality. That being said, there’s a ton of cocktail ingredients out there and they all offer unique advantages to any aspiring master of mixology. The following list focuses on broader categories of cocktail ingredients, but please know that within each category exists a whole world of different flavors that may or may not appeal to you. We’ll make some suggestions for specific products to seek out, but at the end of the day, your own taste will be the largest determinant in what you stock behind your bar.
Cocktail bitters are to mixology what spices are to cooking. A pinch here, a dash there, and BAM! All of a sudden a fairly pedestrian cocktail is elevated to bold new heights of unforgettable flavor. If you want your home bar to be known as a place that does more than just throw some liquor in a glass and call it a day, adding bitters to your ingredient collection is an easy, uncomplicated way to achieve greater depth of flavor without having to undergo complicated preparation rituals. We recommend starting with the basics: a bottle of Aromatic and a bottle of Orange/Citrus and then spreading your wings from there.
Flavored cocktail syrups are pretty self-explanatory. They’re used as an ingredient in any number of cocktails to create multiple drinks from a single bottle of spirits. An assortment of syrups is super handy because they combine in unique ways to offer a world of possibilities. Of course, you can also use these flavored syrups in coffee or mix them with soda water to create imaginative soft drinks that will please the non-drinkers in your crowd.
A well-crafted cocktail mixer makes it easy to take a base spirit and turn it into a robust cocktail experience. Typically, you’ll add a set amount of a mixer to a set amount of a spirit, shake or stir, and then enjoy a drink that tastes like it required a ton more effort than it actually did.
Making sure your drink tastes good is, of course, super important. But don’t forget that it’s almost as important to present an attractive visual as well. Great garnishing is all about quality that captures the eye, because once you’ve got their attention, the rest is easy!
Tonic and soda are popular in a great number of drinks. So why settle for sticky, syrupy, mass-produced stuff that doesn’t do much to add character to your cocktails? Our selection of tonics and sodas features only the finest, freshest bottles of all-natural goodness to help make your G&T be the one to beat.