The Beginner Bar

Written By Alexandra Vaughn 

This short list of essentials will have you on your way to making some great easy drinks! It is not difficult to stock the beginner bar even on a budget. If your basic bar consists of a bottle of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon, scotch, dry vermouth and a liqueur, you should be able to please just about anyone in your crowd. You’ll also want to have some club soda, and maybe some cola or tonic as well as a bowl of fresh citrus that can be juiced or simply used as a garnish. Below are some affordable brands that can be used in a variety of ways.

Stocking Your Bar: The Basics

VODKA: New Amsterdam Versatile & smooth especially for the price point

GIN: Tanqueray A traditional London dry gin

RUM: Cana Brava White Rum 3 year aged rum from Panama

TEQUILA: Altos Plata A high rated silver tequila with notes of grass, citrus and spice

BOURBON: Very Old Barton A Kentucky straight bourbon from the Sazerac Company

SCOTCH: Dewars White Label Smooth, easy drinking scotch with soft smoke and hints of honey and toffee

LIQUEUR: Stirrings Triple Sec Naturally flavored with bright orange and the right amount of sugar

VERMOUTH: Dolin Dry A French fortified wine flavored flavored from 15 herbs and botanicals.

FRESH FRUIT: For Garnish or Juice: Lemon, Lime, Orange

BITTERS: Angostura

MIXERS: Club Soda, Tonic, Cola

SYRUP: Simple Syrup (1:1 Sugar to Water)

GARNISH: Luxardo Cherries, Olives

Cocktail Ideas

Now that you've got your bar stocked it's time to grab a few bottles, your tools and start mixing! Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas to get you on your way!





Vodka Collins

vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, soda

Screw Driver

vodka, orange juice

Vodka Martini

vodka, dry vermouth, olive


Gin & Tonic

gin, tonic, lime

Gin Martini

gin, dry vermouth, olive


Cuba Libre

rum, coke, lime


rum, lime, simple syrup


tequila, triple sec, lime, simple syrup

Tequila Soda

tequila, soda, lime


Old Fashioned

bourbon, simple syrup, bitters, orange, cherry

Bourbon Coke

bourbon, coke


Scotch Soda

Scotch, soda