My apartment is 700 sq ft. Probably 200 of that is my bedroom and bathroom. The remaining 500 are split up between my living room, my kitchen (I’m lucky enough to have a breakfast bar area… great for entertaining but space consuming), and a very small dining area. So that really doesn’t leave too much for a bar. Basically all my spirits, mixers, and barware are stored on a couple of shelves on my bookshelf, and the rest in my fridge.
Why am I telling you this (and thereby letting you into my personal space, albeit virtually)? Because the name of the game is efficiency. Here are the things I always keep around, so that I can make a variety of drinks according to the various tastes of my fickle friends. Just so happens that most of this is on the cheap too.
You can make a lot of different drinks with this handy lineup, but here are my regulars for guests:
- Rye Old Fashioned
- Rye Mint Julep
- Moscow Mule
- Dark and Stormy
- Vodka & soda/vodka & tonic
- Gin & soda/gin & tonic
- Lime Rickey (the official drink of DC)
Old Overholt Rye ($15)
This is smooth and tastes very much like Bourbon. I use it as a replacement in my Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps. At about $15 per bottle in most liquor stores, you’re not gonna break the bank.
Tito’s Vodka ($10)
Smooth, smooth, smooth. Don’t let Grey Goose fool you with their fancy marketing! And cheap… at $10 you should always have this around.
Kraken Spiced Rum ($20)
If you like spicy drinks like I do, then get yourself some Kraken. This stuff is dark and spicy. Awesome bottle too. Only $20 at most liquor stores.
Green Hat Gin ($35)
You know we had to have it on here. There’s cheaper gin out there, but once I had Green Hat I never went back to anything else.
Angostura Bitters ($20)
My go-to for bitters. They’re orangey tasting, so it’s perfect for Old Fashioneds.
Goya Ginger Beer ($1 per bottle)
I like my drinks spicy, and this is the spiciest GB around. Don’t be ashamed as you cough from the ginger fumes that are inevitably inhaled when opening a bottle. It happens to the best of us.
Limes, Orange, Demerara sugar, Mint, Club soda, Tonic water, Ice
Limes, ’cause they’re essential to a good bar inventory. Orange for the rinds. Demerara sugar for the best simple syrup ever. Mint for the mint juleps. Club soda and Tonic water for obvious drinks.