bar cart with alcoholic drinks and mixers

Setting The (Home) Bar

We’ve mapped out everything you need to build a fully functional cart/cabinet/what have you, so you can try your hand at a few tried-and-true cocktails. Start here and expand little by little. Remember: It’s a bar crawl, not a sprint.


A Boston Shaker

B Hawthorne Strainer

C Measuring Cup: An angled one with clear markings is great for beginners.

D Long Stirring Spoon

E Muddler

F Mixing Glass

G Tray for Oversize Ice Cubes: They melt more slowly and won't dilute drinks.

Basic Bottles

H Blanco Tequila: A light- to medium-bodied one with a clean agave flavor for a margarita.

I Vodka: It's a blank canvas for so many drinks, including the Bloody Mary and the Moscow mule.

J Gin: A juniper-forward London dry style for martinis and gin and tonics.

K Whiskey: Choose either bourbon (sweeter) or rye (drier and spicier). Both can be used in a Manhattan or old-fashioned.

L White Rum: Use it for mojitos and daiquiris (not the frozen slushy kind from your youth).

Liqueurs & Bitters

M Campari: Essential to the negroni or a spritz.

N Angostura Bitters: The O.G. of bitters.

O Orange Liqueur: Can't make a margarita without it!

P Vermouth: Sweet for Manhattans and dry for martinis.

Mixers & Muddlers

Q Green Pitted Olives

R Sodas: Small cans or bottles of club soda, tonic water, and ginger beer or ale.

S Maraschino Cherries

T Simple Syrup: Boil equal parts sugar and water to make your own.

U Citrus Fruits: Lemons, limes, and oranges for juicing and garnishing.

Further Reading

V The Savoy Cocktail Book: Written in 1930 by Harry Craddock, legendary barman at London's Savoy Hotel, it's full of classics that will make you feel fancy.

W Drinking Like Ladies: 75 Modern Cocktails From the World's Leading Female Bartenders, by Kirsten Amann and Misty Kalkofen. The popular Boston mixologists behind the podcast Drinking Like Ladies share on-trend tipples to mix right now.


X Coupe: A stemmed glass for drinks without ice (it's also good for sparkling wine).

Y Lowball: A short tumbler for anything served with ice.

Z Highball: A tall tumbler for fizzy drinks.

This article originally appeared in our Holiday 2021 issue. Get the magazine here