13 Must Have Cocktail Ingredients For Your Home Bar
We’re all about maximum deliciousness for minimum effort. With just 13 ingredients Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Rum, Tequila, Sugar, Ice, Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Aperitivo, Bitters, Citrus, Water, you can make some of the best classic cocktails at home.
More than any other category, Vodka is often blighted by a need to show off. Bottles held aloft with sparklers blazing as the bottle is paraded through the club to the table that ordered it.
Now, much as some of our selections will have indeed been paraded through clubs around the world. Their social status, bottle height, design or artwork plays no part in making it onto our list. We’re all about the liquid, and that’s it!
For neat sipping or cocktail mixing, you can’t go wrong with any of our Vodka choices.
Try making a Vodka Dry Martini
Gin is predominately a spirit flavoured with juniper and in Classic Gins expect to taste some juniper, a dry finish on the palate, more traditional botanicals and a base of neutral grain alcohol. These are the sort of gins that will work in any recipe where ‘Gin’ is called for, especially in classic cocktails and any of our Candra cocktails.
Modern Gins are all a little different from what we think of as a Classic Gin. So expect some more unusual botanicals, from savoury, to floral to fruity and everywhere in between!
Our selection of Tequilas, come from the state of Jalisco, Mexico and are made from the Blue Webber Agave. They are all made from 100% Agave, with no other distillate mixed in and are either unaged or lightly rested in barrel, meaning that they are all fresh, light and perfect for mixing.
Sugar syrup, Rich Simple, Gomme, Flavoured Syrups. So many names, so many different options.
Yes ICE! Ice is vital to making great drinks. It opens up flavours with the power of dilution and makes them crisp and refreshing by making them deliciously cold.
08. Dry Vermouth
Wine fortified with (usually) grape spirit and infused with natural botanicals which must include Wormwood (the name Vermouth comes from the German word for Wormwood, Wermut). FYI, this regulation does not exist inside the USA, so fortified wines produced in the US will not include Wormwood. Minimal sugar added, hence ‘Dry’ in style, some brands are rested in barrels.
09. Sweet Vermouth
As with the Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth is wine fortified with (usually) grape spirit and infused with natural botanicals but this style is sweeter, richer and heavier in style. More sugar or caramel is added than Dry Vermouth to sweeten, and gives them a darker colour than other Vermouths. It’s important to note that the red colour does NOT indicate use of red wine.
The most easily recognisable brand would be Campari, but there are many great ones to choose from these days. They all have their own particular character, but as a category, you expect them to be bright red in colour and bitter to the taste, with a little sweetness. Unlike bitters such as Angostura which are usually added by dash’s and drops, these ingredients are served or added to cocktails like spirits.
Citrus gives a backbone and a structure to a drink off of which other flavors can play. It brings a freshness and acidity that are essential for certain classic cocktails. In all but a few recipes, it needs to be balanced with something that is sweet.
When using citrus juice, squeezing your own is always the best bet unless you have a speciality juice supplier nearby. Avoid any shelf stable bottles of “fresh juice”, it’s not, and bad juice will ruin your cocktails!
Citrus isn’t just about the juice, the essential oils in the skin play a big part in cocktail preparation. It is the extraction of these oils that we call a ‘twist’. There are multiple other ways to prepare citrus for garnishing,
Great! So now that you have your key ingredients, how about getting those fancy (or not so fancy) pieces of cocktail equipment. Here is our guide to cocktail equipment you can use at home with some cheeky tricks and the pro choices.