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The Quintessential Spirits for Every Home Bar - Kevin Gray

Lounge Concierge

Your favorite bar might stock hundreds of spirits, with an additional deep dive down a particular rabbit hole like whiskey or rum. If you have the space and the interest, your home setup can be stocked to the gills, mirroring the best of watering holes. Yet we suggest taking a different tack. Stock your home bar with a handful of quintessential spirits that you and your guests will reliably want to drink. Spirits like these that can be savored on their own or concocted into an array of sip-worthy cocktails. After all, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.


Many of the old guard bourbon brands continue to produce the best bottles, but the bourbon boom over the past decade has resulted in hundreds of craft producers, so there’s never been a better time to explore America’s native spirit. Given bourbon’s popularity among the general drinking public, it deserves a place front and center on your bar cart.

Suggested bottles: Four Roses Small Batch Select, Jefferson’s Ocean



Scotch is a classic choice for the home bar, and it’s the rare guest who won’t relish the chance to sip a good single malt. If you want to stock multiple bottles, reserve the single malts for drinking neat — we suggest a middle-of-the-road option, plus a richer, smokier dram from Islay — and keep a high-quality blend on hand for Highballs or sipping over ice.

Suggested bottles: Aberfeldy 12, Highland Park 18, Lagavulin 16



Nothing says nightcap like a good glass of cognac. It’s great with a cigar, by the fire or anytime you want to relax. Grab a snifter, take a seat in your favorite chair, and let this French brandy wash over you.

Suggested bottles: Camus XO Borderies, Pierre Ferrand 10 Generations



You might keep a Blanco on hand for purists, who prefer to sip on agave-forward tequilas, or for anyone who wants a Margarita. But if you’re only stocking one or two bottles, stick to something aged. Reposados are versatile, offering the best of both worlds (agave and oak), while richer Añejos and Extra Añejos match up nicely with full-bodied cigars.

Suggested bottles: Tequila Ocho Añejo, El Tesoro Extra Añejo



Negronis and Martinis are always classy serves, whether you’re enjoying a solo pre-dinner drink or entertaining friends at home. But you can’t make either without gin, so keep at least one bottle on hand.

Suggested bottles: The Botanist, Tanqueray No. Ten



Vodka isn't the best option for pairing with your favorite cigar, but it’s still helpful to keep around for your vodka-drinking friends. It works in simple serves like the Vodka Tonic, in Vodka Martinis, or poured over ice with a twist.

Suggested bottles: Absolut Elyx, Kástra Elión



If you like to make cocktails at home, you’re going to need a few extra ingredients. Dry vermouth and sweet vermouth are essential components for Martinis and Manhattans, respectively. Campari is necessary for Negronis, and aromatic bitters are a key accent in a variety of classic drinks, including Old Fashioneds. Start there, then pepper in select liqueurs or even sherries, building out this category to suit your tastes.

Suggested bottles: Dolin Dry Vermouth, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Campari, Angostura Bitters


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