We have really been embracing cocktail hour and I’m not mad at all. But, it did mean having to stock our bar cart with all of the essential liquor and mixers to ensure we are ready to roll come 5pm (OK, let’s be honest, it’s more 4pm). I did some research online and these are the basic alcohol essentials to get your home bar or bar cart stocked like a pro.
Of course you can find all or most of these at big chain bottle shops like Dan Murphys, Vintage Cellars, Liqour Land etc but there are also smaller boutique stores like Hairy Dog, Jimmy Brings, BoozeBud, MyBottleShop or shopping direct from the seller online.
Absolute is always a safe choice, and often on special at the big retailers. It’s a good one to use in big batch cocktails. But if you’re after more boutique blends for a special night in why not try these Australian made Vodka brands Smallmouth , 666 Pure or Hippocampus
There’s the classic Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray, but you can support Australian made with Four Pillars or Archie Rose. I haven’t tried it as I am not a gin drinker but apparently the Bloody Shiraz Gin from Four Pillars is amazing.
If you’re using Tequila in cocktails and not sipping it, best NOT to start with the Don Julio 1942. Casamigos Blanco is a great choice for special occasion cocktails (not a house party). Otherwise try Australian owned Sesion is a great option. For a cheaper choice try Espolon Blanco
Best to start off with a white Rum like Bacardi for your classic Mojitos. A spiced Rum such as Admiral Vernon would also, dare I say it – spice things up!
A good whisky will set you back so if you’re just starting out and wanting to use it in cocktails then old faithful Jack Daniels is a great choice.
You can’t beat the original Angostura Bitters
Of course it’s super easy to make your own using water and sugar, but best to have a bottle on hand for emergencies.
Although freshly squeezed is always best, you can also have bottled lime, lemon and orange juice on hand. Then think about sparkling drinks like Soda Water, Tonic Water, Lemonade. Fever Tree and Strange Love have some awesome flavours.
Dried citrus fruit (you can do my DIY version or buy them), Maraschino Cherries, jar of Jalapenos and Olives will get you started.
Other worthy additions…
– A bottle of Dolin Vermouth will have you Martini ready
– PIMMS will always come in handy, especially in Summer
– Triple Sec for these Magaritas
– A sparkling wine or Prosecco
– Japanese sake