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10 Bottles Every Home Bar Should Have

Assorted bottles of alcoholic beverages

As we ease into the new normal, we have to face the reality that there will be less time spent hanging out at your favourite local bar and more time staying in to concoct DIY cocktail mixes instead. Make sure you've got a well-stocked bar at home because nothing's worse than craving for a classic gin and tonic, only to find out you've got no gin or tonic to make one.

Have fun making every cocktail recipe imaginable in the playbook by filling up your mini-bar with premium-quality spirits. While you can go all-out and collect every alcoholic drink you can get your hands on just like a professional bar, you can also customize your bar at home with things you'd actually love to drink regularly. Anyways, you can add more eventually.

For starters, here are 10 essential liquors to get your personal bar at home up and running. Let's dig right in!

1. Gin

Spirit of York Gin is an absolute must-have for every home bar cabinet. Every bottle contains an expertly crafted clear spirit from traditional distillation techniques and infused with the richness of juniper, coriander, angelica root, fennel seeds, and other notable botanical ingredients. It's a versatile spirit that's refreshingly crisp when taken straight and exciting when mixed into fruity summer cocktails.

A list of delicious cocktail recipes that you can make at home in a matter of minutes includes the classic Gin and Tonic, Negroni, Gimlet, Southside, and Tom Collins. A flavoured gin is also a great time-saver for quick pick-me-up drinks.

Types of bottles

2. Vodka

Vodka is another staple drink that will come in handy. It's smooth, sophisticated, and hits the right spot all the time. It's a core ingredient for a lot of iconic cocktail mixes like the Cosmpolitan, Screwdriver, and Bloody Mary. But a little fun fact, in Russia, vodka is best enjoyed with zakuski or small servings of cold hors d'oeuvres, entrée, and snacks. When it comes to vodka food pairings, the options are endless.

The Spirit of York Vodka brings a delightful nuttiness and hints of spice and butter with every shot. Our red fife vodka goes well with steak, smoked salmon, and creamy cheeses.

3. Bourbon

If you like your whiskey sweet, the bourbon is not going to let you down. This golden liquid has a highly pleasant flavour that's not hard to love. Popular cocktail mixes you can whip up with bourbon include The Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, Boulevardier, Improved Whiskey Cocktail, Whiskey Sour, The Derby. Not to mention, bourbon is frequently also added to barbeque and baking recipes for a kick.

4. Rye Whiskey

Despite several similarities it shares with bourbon, rye whiskey still deserves a spot in your bar at home. It's produced with at least 51 percent rye wheat, which lends a biting spiciness with every shot.

  • Straight Rye Whiskey - Aged for a couple of years, not been blended with any other spirit, and cannot be colour corrected.
  • Barrel Proof Whiskey - Also known as cask strength, refers to rye whiskey that has not been significantly watered down in its cask after maturity.
  • Single Barrel Whiskey - Or single cask whiskey means the spirit was bottled straight from an individual aging barrel and therefore contains unique characteristics.

With a bottle of rye whiskey within reach, you can make yourself a glass of Manhattan or drink it neat in a heartbeat.

A glass of whiskey

5. Rum

A bottle of light and dark rum shouldn't go missing in your home bar ideas. It's a quintessential ingredient in making a variety of cocktail mixes, such as hurricanes, mojito, daiquiri, and tropical tiki shots. Rum can be distilled from anywhere in the world, meaning there's a lot of exploring to be done.

6. Tequila

If you love margarita (or know someone who does), then your bar at home should have a bottle of tequila, because you'll never know. It's a bright and complex spirit that is distilled from the blue agave plant's nectar. Similar to how Champagne is limited to France, tequila can only be produced in parts of Mexico. Check the label for "100 percent de agave" because anything other than that means it's packed with fillers. Other notable tequila mixers are grapefruit, jalapeno, club soda, and coconut water.

7. Vermouth

Vermouth is a hybrid of wine and brandy infused with aromatic herbs and spices. Red Vermouth is originally from Italy and is a sweet type of Vermouth that is frequently used in concocting a Manhattan cocktail. On the other hand, the white Vermouth was first spotted in France. It gives its signature dryness and herbiness in making a Martini cocktail. Sometimes, both types of Vermouth are used in making the Perfect Manhattan.

Women poring alcohol to glass

8. Absinthe

There's a lot of buzz going on around absinthe because of its power to make people hallucinate. The secret ingredient in traditional absinthe that gives the hallucinogenic effect is wormwood, which is distilled with anise, fennel, and a plethora of herbs and flowers. In Canada, getting your hands on absinthe for a happy high once in a while is legal.

9. Aquavit

Aquavit, also known as aquavit, akvavit, akevitt, or snapps, is a Scandinavian spirit distilled from potatoes or grains. It is infused with caraway, dill, and other types of aromatic ingredients like citrus peelings and whole spices. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark all share aquavit as their national spirit.

Spirit of York Aquavit is a contemporary take on the Nordic flavour. We complemented its timeless flavours with our own infusion of choice botanicals and a hand-crafted rye base. Whether neat or chilled, you'll never grow tired of pouring yourself a shot of aquavit. Give your negroni, and other cocktail mixes a twist by swapping gin or vodka with aquavit.

10. Cointreau

Orange-flavoured liquor? Yes, please. There are a lot of ways to enjoy a relaxing evening with Cointreau for company. Use it to get creative with your cocktail mixes, such as the Singapore Sling, Sidecar, White Lady. Pour an ounce of Cointreau over ice as you would when making whiskey on the rocks.

Get Your Spirit of York

As with anything in life, choose quality over quantity when stocking up on spirits for your bar at home. Get Spirit of York products in our Distillery located at 12 Trinity Street, Toronto, Ontario and in provinces across Canada.

For detailed inquiries, don't hesitate to reach out to the Spirit of York team.

Contact us now!

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