The perfect home bar needs just seven types of alcohol to create thousands of different cocktail combinations. From sweet to sour and simple to complex, theres a cocktail combination for every kind of palate.
Whisky or Whiskey
Single malt purists should probably glance away, as we well know good whisky should never be sullied with anything other than ice. However, let’s save the single malt on the top shelf, and have a decent blended variety to make up classics like a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or Rusty Nails.
Whisky must be kept cool, but not cold. Make sure it’s kept out of the sun, in a cabinet.
And if you ever wondered about the spelling, whisky is the Scots spelling used for Scotch and Japanese, Australian, Canadian and European whiskies, while whiskey with an e is the Irish spelling used for Irish and American labels.
7 Best Spirits for the Perfect Home Bar
A real party drink, no home bar is complete without a bottle of vodka. The Russians consume the highest amount of the stuff, but we Aussies love it mixed with soda and fruit juices.
Vodka has a natural place in a cocktail, whether it’s a Red Russian, Brass Monkey or Sex on the Beach.
Vodka stored in the freezer serves nice and chilled and coats the mouth deliciously with every sip. Another storage option is in a wine cooler alongside the reds.
Now this is a drink most can relate to with the Bundaberg and Bacardi brands being among the most popular here. Although all rum is produced from sugar cane, white rum like Bacardi is the result of the distilling process, while Bundaberg rum is sweetened with a sugar syrup like molasses, which gives it a sweeter taste and darker colour. Enjoy rum on its own, with a dash of cola or in a legion of mixes.
Rum is one of the most versatile cocktail ingredients – blending perfectly for elegant Latino mixes like Daiquiris or Mojitos, or use the darker version for a hearty Hurricane or the Aussie standard Bundy and Coke.
Whether to store your rum in the cabinet or the fridge really depends on the type (rum varies quite a bit) and how you plan to mix it. Fruit-flavoured and coconut rums can be kept chilled but stronger ones are usually kept at room temperature.
Baileys Irish Cream
The delicious Baileys can be enjoyed chilled or warmed up with a coffee or favourite hot drink. In recent years Baileys has become quite a popular addition to cocktails, so you should keep it on show alongside the vodka.
Baileys mixes well to make an Irish hot chocolate, easy to drink baileys and milk, or whisky and Baileys for an interesting twist. However, it’s in shots that Baileys really comes into its own, forming the main ingredient for every layered classic from a B52 through to classic Butterfinger.
Be sure to keep your Baileys in the wine cooler or fridge once opened as it will last for longer.
An oldie but a goodie, gin (and its stablemate tonic) has a classic appeal, offering flexibility and flavour.
In addition to the old and reliable blends, gin makes a sumptuous Singapore Sling, is perfect for a Long Island Iced Tea or an Alabama Slammer.
It’s perfectly safe to keep your gin chilled in the fridge or freezer. Many say it maintains the full flavour of the drink when you don’t need to add ice.
What’s a cocktail party without a cheeky coconut liquor to shake up the mood? Malibu can bring a touch of intrigue to complex flavours, giving classic cocktails that Caribbean touch.
And don’t get stuck on Pina Coladas or White Russians, because a touch of Malibu can add a fascinating twist to classics. Daiquiris, served over ice with equal parts Baileys and whisky make a delicious BMW.
Malibu isn’t fussy and can be refrigerated or stored in a cabinet until the cocktails call. Just beware of sugar crust forming around the top of the bottle if you store them in the fridge.
Bubbles (the drink we formerly knew as Champagne)
No cocktail party is complete without a few bottles of bubbles. Good-quality sparkling whites make for excellent mixers (bad quality bubbles should be avoided at all costs).
Bellinis – peach puree and Prosecco – are a sparkling staple. But for something more fun, add a splash of bitters, or a dash of gin and lime for an indulgent punch.
Sparkling wine can be stored in a cool place away from sunlight. Have it in the wine cooler or bar fridge well before the guests arrive so it’s ice-cold on cork popping.
Showing off your cocktail combinations
With a full bar and five basic mixers in the fridge (soda, ice, tonic, cola and fresh limes), it’s time to impress your guests will a little maths and mixologist wizardry.
Set a party challenge of guessing how many possible combinations of cocktails can be made by your friendly bartender.
Before someone shouts the answer (unlikely), or googles it, get up on your bar stool and declare there are more than 900 possible cocktail combinations from your modest liquor collection.
How do you know?
Well, you calculated the total number of combinations (the binomial coefficient to be exact, try saying that three times fast after three cocktails) of choosing an average of six ingredients from the total set of 12 (seven liquors, five mixers). A total of 924 combinations, to be exact.
Have a total of 15 ingredients including fruit juices and mint? Choosing five ingredients for a drink blows it out to a whopping 3003 possible unique combinations! Not bad at all for our soiree of sipping.
Find out more about how the Hisense Wine Cooler can help keep your bottles nice and chilled.
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