When putting together a home bar, most people tend to think broadly in terms of bottles.
“It’s an easy mistake to start with only the headliners—gin, tequila, rum,” says Kathryn Bangs, a founding member of the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild. “But without the supporting players—vermouth, bitters, Campari—you only have the ingredients to make a Long Island iced tea.”
If you want to have the booze and add-ins to concoct the perfect cocktail at the drop of a hat, you’ve got to invest in smarter essentials.
With these nine bottles, and a few mixers, you can make virtually anything.