Key to the Liquor Cabinet

If the only things in your liquor cabinet are a half-full bottle of José Cuervo and a crusty container of Bailey’s, toss them out and start here. With the items in Level 1, you’ll be able to make everything from margaritas to Cosmos to Manhattans to mojitos. In fact, you’ll probably have the most impressive bar of any of your friends—or even your friends’ parents. But wait—it just gets better.

1 bottle of bourbon
1 bottle of gin
1 bottle of rum (light)
1 bottle of tequila (100 percent agave)
1 bottle of orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
2 bottles of vodka —1 plain and 1 infused, such as Hangar One’s Mandarin Blossom (keep 1 in the freezer at all times and 1 on the bar)
Angostura Bitters
Champagne or sparkling wine
1 bottle of dry vermouth
1 bottle of sweet vermouth
1 bottle each of white and red wine
Boston cocktail shaker
Hawthorne strainer
Double jigger
Bar spoon
Basic cocktail glassware such as rocks glasses, collins glasses, wineglasses, and champagne flutes
Citrus squeezer
Waiter’s corkscrew
Champagne stopper
Cutting boards
Paring knife
Bowl for ice
Ice tongs
Paper cocktail napkins
Mixers and Garnishes
Big bottle of cranberry juice
Big bottle of orange juice
Soda water (seltzer)
Tonic water
Ginger ale or ginger beer
Lemon-lime soda
Brandied cherries (we’re not into maraschino cherries)
Cocktail onions
Green olives with pimientos
Superfine sugar
Fresh Stuff to Buy
Last Minute
Just a few ideas for delicious bar snacks that don’t require lifting a finger, except to open the package. Keep some extra supplies on hand for drop-in guests.
Assorted charcuterie
Assorted cheeses
Beef jerky
Cheese straws
Kettle Chips (Cheddar Beer is our favorite.)
Sesame sticks
Wasabi peas or peanuts
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