I will focus on the rail liquors and some mid to top self picks that your guests will really enjoy, plus they won’t break your wallet.

Below are my recommendations as to what you must have in stock.

Vodka – The number one liquor being sold right now, so be sure you have some.

Best – Amsterdam

Rail – Kettle One; most of us would say Gray Goose, but Kettle One is a much better choice.

Gin – I hate to say it, but I am just not a fan of Gin.

Best – Fords

Rail – True Born or Juniper

Rum – Is the number two choice for liquor sales. Rum is distilled brown molasses and it is dark because it is aged in oak barrels. If you are drinking spiced rum, it is colored and not barreled. So although Captain Morgan may be coming to your mind right now… it is kind of a terrible rum, okay I said it.

Best – Diplomatic. I love this and I will sip on it straight.

Rail – Cruzan for the party and Don Q for the mojito

Whiskey (Two Types) –

1.) Scotch (malt or grain whiskey) – Has to be made in Scotland, they are very strict about the years. It is made with Barley and Peat. Unlike Rum, that has that around age, the Scots take this serious.

Best – Lagavulin – Has a very strong peat taste.

Rail – Balvenie (this is still pretty pricy)

Rye Whiskey – Mid Level – Knob Creek

Wheat Whiskey – Rail – Bully Boy

Irish Whiskey – Mid Level – Pogues and Rail – Just say no to Jameson!

2.) Bourbon – My favorite! Made of 51% corn and a new chard barrel.

Mid Level – Buffalo Trace

Better – Eagle Rare or Pappy Van Winkle… depending on the age.

Tequila – Fun fact, tequila is the only non-depressant drink, which might be why we are all so much fun when we drink it. If tequila is dark, it is aged in oak.

Mezcal (smoky) – El Buho

Better – Casa Noble (Don’t even think about say Patron)

Rail – Lunazul

After Dinner Drink – If you have a stomach ache after your meal or just want to feel a little more comfortable then I recommend – Averna, just about a shot to sip on.

Bitters – Another fun fact, bitter are actually 90% proof, they are also great to cook with! I recommend having angostura, black walnut, orange and hell fire on stock.

Syrup – Make your own, you can come up with all sorts of fun concoctions, plus the Internet has options as well. Syrups will keep about a month and a half in the refrigerator. The method to making syrup is simple, one part alcohol to seven parts syrup.

VermouthDolin, also remember, this stuff goes bad in like six weeks, so be sure to replace when needed not when empty.

Cherry Liqueur – Heering


Olive Brine

Ginger Ale – Adds sweetness

Club Soda – Kills sweetness

Must Have Tools

Boston Shaker – it will fit a pint glass

Hawthorn Strainer

Stirring Spoon

Jigger or shot glass with measurements


Mulling stick

Channel Zester


Some Mixology 101

In order to make a proper mixed drink you need these four components or BMMB.

  1. Base (alchohol)
  2. Modifier (syrup)
  3. Mixer (citrus)
  4. Bitter (depth)

*Don’t worry; I am going to give some examples down below.

Steps while making a cocktail:

  1. Alcohol (base) – What are we making here?
  2. Ask if it will be up or on the rocks?
  3. Modifier – this will give the cocktail its character and soften it up a bit.
  4. Mixer
  5. Spice
  6. Garnish with a twist
  7. ***ICE LAST!*** If you go to a bar and the first thing the bartender does is put ice in your glass, then say stop and just order a beer. This guy/gal is a chump and has no business mixing you a drink. Fun fact about the water element – if you get a drink shaken, it will be colder, but you will have added 20% water to it. If you get stirred then you are looking at adding 5-7% water.

DRINKS ***Much like cooking, measurement matter, so get a jigger or shot glass with measurements!***

 Mezcal Sherry Fire Tequila Drink

2 oz Mezcal (base)

¾ oz sherry (modifier)

1 oz citrus element (sour mix) – 2 parts fresh lime and lemon and one part oj, 2/3 part simple syrup (mixer)

Spice ¼ oz (hell fire)(bitter)

Agave for sweetness

* Serve with orange garnish

Malt Whitman (hands down my favorite bourbon drink)

2 ½ oz buffalo trace

¾ oz cherry liquor

5 splashes of walnut bitters

Couple squeezes our of a maple syrup bottle

Orange swirl garnish

Optional: Cherries in Brandy in drink


Equal parts vermouth and gin or vodka (can do three parts)

* Shaken will be cloudy and stirred will be clear and it does taste different.

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