A Well-Stocked Home Bar

A Well-Stocked
Home Bar


wellstocked_3Whether you only know how to make a few drinks or enjoy crafting adventurous cocktails, every man needs a sufficient home bar. “Some things are just more satisfying when you do them yourself,” says Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and owner of Leon’s and St. Alban, two Charleston, South Carolina restaurant projects opening in early 2014.

“I’ve had many a great drink at some of the nation’s bar luminaries, but I’ve always found that when I’m entertaining, I get to choose the soundtrack, I get to dim the lights just so, and I get to control the guest list; for me, that makes for a richer experience.”

We asked Brooks to give us his recommendations for a well-stocked home bar broken down into three levels: The Foundation (you just want the basics), The Notable (you enjoy making good drinks but don’t venture too far out) and The Connoisseur (you’re constantly expanding your cocktail knowledge).

“It’s important to remember that simplicity is often key. I’ve got a great number of bottles, but the drinks I keep going back to are simple: booze and mixer (Gin & Tonic) or all booze in equal parts (Negroni). There are a thousand bottles under the sun, but at the end of the day, it’s the act of making the drink and sharing that experience with others that matters most. If you need much more, go see your favorite barkeep, and they can fix you up right.”

The Foundation

“For most, I suggest sticking to simple spirits: vodka, gin, bourbon. To mix, tonic and soda should do it, and because a great sweet vermouth on ice is almost like a finished cocktail, I’ve included that.”

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka
Greylock Dry Gin
Woodford Reserve
Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic
Canada Dry Club Soda
Angostura Bitters
Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
Graduated Jigger
Hawthorne Strainer


The Notable

“To grow into the next phase, you can flesh out the spirits a bit more, adding some scotch, rum (for a daiquiri), or aged for sipping and tequila for Margarita making. To get into some basic mixing, Cointreau and St. Germain make great building-block liqueurs, and Regan’s Orange Bitters can up the Manhattan-making.”

All of the above plus:
Great King Street Scotch
Angostura Reserva White Rum
Partida Blanco Tequila
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Regan’s Orange Bitters
Elijah Craig 12 Year
Mixing Glass

The Connoisseur

“For the home bartender who wants to replicate some of his favorite drinks and impress his pals, you can add a few more bottles to the mix and have a very impressive setup. Aviation, Remember the Maine, Martinez – these drinks are now within striking distance.”

All of the above plus:
Cherry Heering
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Creme di Violette


Photos by Judson Jones

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