Start with a fully stocked bar…
Many home bartending articles say “you don’t need every type of alcohol in your home bar – just a few for your signature cocktails.” Maybe that’s true for college students and cocktail hobbyists, but some of us hold ourselves to a more comprehensive standard. When you take pride in mixing the perfect drink for *anyone* who walks in the door, when you associate great hosting with a painstakingly perfected Sidecar – you need a fully stocked bar.
Taster’s Club’s Stock the Bar “with a little bit of everything” is the ideal subscription for filling any holes in your home bar with really interesting, high-end, must-have and hard to find bottles that cover all the basics: Whiskey, bourbon, scotch, vodka, gin, rum and tequila. But you don’t just get the 750 ml bottle every month, you also get a ‘101’ crash course in the history of the alcohol, the defining characteristics of the distilling region, tasting notes, and the production techniques used to create your booze. $58/month + shipping
Then bring on the mixers!
When you already have a fully-stocked bar and need a steady supply of high quality mixers, American Cocktail Club’s “Everything But the Booze Box” delivers a monthly infusion of all-natural, low sugar (actual fruit juice) mixers with recipes by award winning mixologists. $34.99/month.
Crafted Taste’s monthly cocktail mixer kit not only includes fresh ingredients, hard-to-find mixers (like Tippleman’s Double Spiced Falernum), and custom-made syrups, it also includes extras that put cocktails over the top, like fireball marshmallows, gold dust, and infusion aging kits (for an aged Manhattan). This is the mixer kit for show-stopper cocktail styling and flavor profiles that will keep even the pro bartenders guessing. $100/month
Just add bitters
“Where did you find that?!” is the reaction you’ll get to El Guapo bitters. El Guapo makes some of the most interesting high-end bitters, hand-crafted in New Orleans, but their small batch exclusive bitters are almost impossible to get… unless you join their Bitters of the Month club. Club members not only get a new bottle of El Guapo bitters every month, for 6 months and longer subscriptions, they also get bitters from the private collection. $20/month for the 6 month subscription
Kick it up a notch
At some point in every home bartender’s life, it suddenly becomes not enough to simply pour a perfect cocktail. You want a little more control over the ingredients, or you want to create something that can’t be easily found elsewhere. It’s time to DIY.
The Homemade Gin Kit contains the hardware required, plus the botanical blend and juniper berries, that can transform a bottle of vodka into gin. No illegal distilling required! This isn’t just any gin though. They offer their proprietary Botanical Blend, as well as other interesting twists on gin, like the Smoky Blend, the Hopped Blend, and the Spiced Blend. There’s even a Barrel Aged Gin kit to add further complexity. It’s grownup playtime. $49.95 for the basic Homemade Gin Kit.
The Spirit Infusion Kit picks up where the Gin kit leaves off – with recipes for how to infuse vodka with just about anything: Fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, coffee, tea, even candy. Ever had Limoncello? That delightful Italian digestif is vodka infused with lemon rind and sweetened with syrup. This kit will get you there (and so many other interesting places). $39.95 on Amazon
With all of the cocktails you’ll be making, it might be time to upgrade your hardware. And this 9 pc bartender set by VonShef will look mighty pretty on your bar cart. It’s got everything you need – shaker, strainer, sieve, muddler, shotglass, and a clever spoon-fork combo (no, not a spork) – plus two pour spouts to stick into your new fancy syrups and bitters. Citrus and mint not included. $34.99 on Amazon