GQ’s guide to domestic Mixology: How to tend to and stock your home bar

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GQ’s guide to domestic Mixology: How to tend to and stock your home barNo man’s home is complete without a well-stocked bar. So GQ surveyed the bars, consulted the tenders, and pinned down the contents of the perfect living room liquor supply—along with all the expert tips and go-to tricks you need to use it. Excerpts below:

We call that collection the Core, because it’s those seven liquors that should be the base of your bar. Rye whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum give you a totally unassailable selection of drinks. Then you’ll needsweet and dry vermouth, for Manhattans and martinis; a bottle of bitters; and always, always fresh citrus. All that together? A hundred and fifty bucks.

From there, start growing—but be selective. Gosling’s rum (and a bottle of ginger beer) will help you quench your Dark ’n’ Stormy craving. A good bourbon like Hillrock’s and any Islay scotch will satisfy the people in your life who like to drink things neat. Tequila and triple sec are necessary if you’re a margarita man—Ilegal mezcal and Dry Curaçao if you expect a lot from your margaritas. Most bar nerds will insist on Campari, but we think Gran Classico—a Swiss-made variation—makes for a better Negroni.

Even the smallest bar should have a bottle that sets your collection apart, like a high-end vodka or a crazy-old scotch. Our pick? Braulio, an Italian digestif made with fresh mountain herbs. Mix it in place of rye whiskey, or just drink it neat.

It’s time to stand up to the Williams-Sonoma Industrial Complex. In the world of cocktails, all that matters is volume; mixed liquor doesn’t need to swirl or breathe. So you should have some four-ounce glasses, for sipping; some four-to-eight-ounce short glasses, for lowball cocktails; and some tall eight-ounce glasses, for ice-loaded highballs. Best practice: If you see a glass you like, buy one. Just one. Then repeat until your cupboard’s full.

There are about six tools you need to make drinks, and none should come with batteries. (Easily avoided if you don’t buy cocktail supplies from SkyMall.) Start with a Parisian shaker (1) and a crystal Yarai mixing glass (2), for shaking and stirring, respectively. You’ll need a strainer (3), too, for seeds and pulp. Get a jigger (4) with one-ounce and two-ounce sides and a stirring spoon (5) with some weight to it. (It’ll be easier to twirl.) And then settle on a paring knife (6) that feels good in your hand. This one—with a squared-off edge—is specifically designed for dealing with citrus. You will be dealing with a lot of citrus.

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