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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Margarita

In the 1940s the Margarita almost single-handedly introduced American drinkers to tequila. Today it’s still the most popular cocktail made with the Mexican staple. Much like the Daiquiri though, the Margarita is often (and erroneously) served as a frozen, slushie-like concoction. This can dilute an otherwise excellent drink, so be sure to serve this classic up, in a cocktail glass, as it was meant to be.

2 oz blanco tequila

3 Tbs triple sec

2 Tbs lime juice

Salt (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a cocktail glass. Many boozehounds like to salt the rim of their glasses, though personally, I’m not a fan.

Margarita

The Sidecar

The Sidecar is one of the most classic of classic cocktails, perhaps second only to the Martini. While there are a number of conflicting origin stories for the drink (as is the case with many drinks, especially the older ones) general consensus places its invention around the year 1920. Like many cocktails that have stood the test of time, the recipe is simple consisting of brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice.

Some recipes call specifically for Cointreau, a top-shelf brand of triple sec that is less sweet and more complex than other brands, and Cognac. Cognac is brandy that (similar to Champagne) comes from the Cognac region of France and meets certain criteria imposed by the French government. For boozehounds that aren’t in a position to pay $30 per bottle of spirits though, regular brandy and triple sec will do just fine. As with any other cocktail though, fresh squeezed lemon juice is always preferable to bottled. Some bars will, for simplicity’s sake, use a pre-prepared sours mix in the place of lemon juice, but this will result in a sweeter drink and should be avoided whenever possible.

There are two widely accepted ratios for mixing a Sidecar. The first yields a stronger cocktail and is particularly desirable when using a higher-quality brandy.

2 1/2 oz Brandy

1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Lemon Juice

The second is sometimes referred to as preparing a Sidecar in “the French school,” though we have affectionately dubbed it the Murphy Sidecar.

1 oz Brandy

1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Lemon Juice

For either ratio, pour all ingredients into a shaker half full with ice and shake. A Sidecar can be served “up” in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks.

Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel is a simple cocktail that’s actually strikingly similar to The Bernardo posted previously. Balance and subtlety are extremely important with cocktails though, and the omission of bitters makes a tremendous difference.

1 1/2 oz Gin (Bluecoat works well)

1/2 oz Triple Sec

2 tsp Lemon juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker half-filled with ice, shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Plus, it may be a hassle, but freshly squeezed citrus juices will vastly improve any cocktail.

Bernardo

In an attempt to defend the good name of bitters as a cocktail ingredient, I present now the Bernardo.

2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Triple Sec

2 tsp Lemon Juice

2 dashes Bitters (I used Angostura)

Pour all four ingredients into a cocktail shaker three-quarters full of ice and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Angostura bitters are the most commonly available brand and can be used in almost any recipe that calls for bitters (unless it calls for orange bitters which Angostura and a few other companies do produce). This drink has a lot of lemon juice in it compared to most other cocktails and that along with the triple sec give the Bernardo a very strong citrus flavor. Even if you don’t taste the alcohol too much, this is still a bold cocktail and not for the faint of heart.

Recipe courtesy of the Webtender.

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.