How to Stock Your Bar

Aside from booze blogs, web comics, regular comics, and as many books as we can get our hands on, we (specifically Matt) like to read certain menswear blogs. In particular we recommend An Affordable Wardrobe and Put This On, which inspired our video segments. One of the common questions addressed on menswear blogs is how to build a wardrobe and not surprisingly, the process is very similar to stocking your bar.

This is our collection a year ago. Much like a child, it has only gotten larger and more expensive since then.

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Duchess Cocktail

The Duchess Cocktail is a little-known drink that we dug up in Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. But this cocktail is so tasty and complex that we’re hoping to inspire a revival.

It’s especially important in this case to use the best quality dry and sweet vermouth you can find. Noilly Prat is the standard in most places, but we recommend Dolin if you can find it.

1 part absinthe

1 part dry vermouth

1 part sweet vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The unexpectedly complex and delicious Duchess Cocktail


The Diplomat is a bit of an unusual cocktail in that it’s vermouth-based. Vermouth, whether dry or sweet, is a fortified wine as opposed to a distilled spirit like gin, vodka, whiskey, etc. This gives the Diplomat a much lower alcohol content than many other cocktails, which may be a hint at its name.

3 oz dry vermouth

2 oz sweet vermouth

1 tsp maraschino liqueur

4 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.



If the Martini is perfection through simplicity, then the Manhattan is the pinnacle of sophistication. Dating back about as far as any cocktail, the Manhattan was invented sometime around 1860. Like any old recipe, stories conflict concerning its exact origins, but general consensus agrees that the drink is named for The Manhattan Club in New York City.

2 oz whiskey (traditionally rye)

½ oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes bitters

Maraschino cherry

Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice and add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir thoroughly and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the maraschino cherry.

Older recipes stipulated the use of American whiskey which, as we mentioned in our review of (ri)1 whiskey, was predominantly rye whiskey before the onset of prohibition. Hence the Manhattan is traditionally made with rye, though bourbon or Canadian whiskey are also acceptable.

You may notice that this recipe yields a rather small drink at 2 ½ oz (most recipes we post here yield around 4 oz). This is characteristic of older recipes and many modern boozehounds will scale these up to more generous proportions. For the Manhattan though, I generally find it best to keep volume small. This drink has a lot going on both in alcohol content and flavor.

The Manhattan is a drink that demands an appreciation for whiskey, especially when made with rye. It is a cocktail that should be sipped slowly, thoughtfully, and with the veneration due to our elders.

Corpse Reviver #1

It’s not uncommon for variations on a drink to be numbered, but the various Corpse Reviver drinks have very little in common aside from being popular in Victorian England as a hangover cure. This version yields a very potent cocktail, the sweet vermouth taking off just enough of the edge to make it sippable for the brave of heart and strong of will.

3 tbsp Brandy

1 1/2 tsp Sweet Vermouth

1 1/2 tsp Applejack

Pour the three ingredients into a mixing glass, stir well (about 30 seconds), and then strain into a cocktail glass.

The Fleet Street

The Fleet Street is a somewhat mild cocktail whose flavors downplay, rather than accentuate, each other. Of course the brand of gin can change that. I used New Amsterdam which has a very smooth and mild juniper flavor. The Sweet Vermouth and lemon juice make this a nice after dinner drink. It’s an accessible cocktail that a wide variety of drinkers can enjoy.

1 1/2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth

1 tsp Dry Vermouth

1 tsp Triple Sec

1 tsp Lemon juice

Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice, pour in all 5 ingredients and shake well for about 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Recipe courtesy of The Webtender.

Note: It’s called a cocktail glass, not a martini glass. More on this later.