The top ten things you need in your cocktail cabinet

One of the best things about alcohol is that it has a very long use-by date. Spirits, in particular, can last months in your cocktail cabinet, so it makes sense to keep everything in stock so that you can make very basic cocktails without having to dash to the shops.

Some of the more complicated cocktails require fresher ingredients, and often, fruit juice mixers will expire soon after they have been opened. But there are some items that are used more than others, and it makes sense to keep these ready for cocktail nights.

1. Bitters

Angostura bitters are commonly used in many popular cocktails including the Singapore Sling, Old Cuban and Gin Gin Mule. Some recipes prefer orange bitters or creole bitters, and it can be helpful to have these in the cupboard too, but if you can only pick one, it should be Angostura.

2. Triple Sec

You should have a few liqueurs in your home to truly call yourself a cocktail connoisseur, but triple sec should be at the top of your list. The delicious orange flavour is used in the traditional Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea and Sidecar. If you enjoy orange-tasting cocktails, keep this handy.

3. Vermouth

A key ingredient in both the Manhattan and the Martini, this elderflower drink has become very popular, and for good reason – it’s delicious! Dry vermouth is most commonly used, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a sweet red variety for more modern cocktails like the Metropolitan and Berry Blush.

4. Sugar Syrup

An essential ingredient to sweeten many cocktails, sugar syrup, or gomme, can be purchased ready-made, but it is just as easy to make your own by dissolving sugar in hot water. Sugar syrup is used in Mint Julep, Mojito, and Vodka Sour.

5. Grenadine

That beautiful red colour is perfect for brightening up a cocktail. You can purchase this berry syrup in most stores, or you can make your own by dissolving sugar in pomegranate juice. Find grenadine in Tequila Sunrise, Shirley Temple and Hurricane Suzy.

6. Maraschino Liqueur

A decadent liqueur made from maraschino cherries, a little bit of this rich drink goes a long way in cocktail-making. Used in Purple Rain, Hemingway Daiquiri and the Succulent Mule, this is one worth investing in for your cocktail bar.

7. Coffee Liqueur

If you don’t like coffee, then you could skip this one, but coffee liqueur is an important ingredient in cocktails like the Espresso Martini, White Russian and B52. If you love coffee, and alcohol, then this is one that will need replenishing regularly.

8. Champagne

Bubbles have the ability to liven up any cocktail and Champagne is a key ingredient in Mimosas and Bellinis. Prosecco is an acceptable alternative in most cases.

9. Crème de…

Crème de Cassis and Crème de Cacao crop up in a lot of recipes, so it is worth having both to hand. Crème de Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur found in Kir Royale, while Crème de Cacao has a chocolate flavour and is used in the Grasshopper.

10. Spirits

Obviously, your cocktails would be lacking without some base spirits in your cupboard. Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Bourbon, Scotch and Brandy are all popular base spirits, so make sure you have your favourites sitting in your cupboard.

Perishable items like fruit garnishes and fruit juices should only be purchased on the day you intend to use them. But everything else can be bought in advance and used again and again! Happy cocktail hour!

Cocktails mentioned in this post

Singapore Sling cocktail
CLASSIC
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Singapore Sling
Added About 6 years ago
8 ingredients  
Shake all the ingredients except the soda water and cherry brandy in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a highball glass with ice cubes then top up with the soda water. Finally float the cherry brandy on top and garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry. ...
Shake all the ingredients except the soda water and cherry brandy in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a highball glass with ice cubes then top ...
Rating: 4.99 / 5
Old Cuban cocktail
CLASSIC
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31
17
Old Cuban
Added About 6 years ago
7 ingredients  
Muddle the mint leaves and light rum in a mixing tin. Add the dark rum, sugar syrup, lime juice and a dash of Angostura Bitter. Shake well with lots of ice and strain into a lowball glass. Top up with the champagne and gently stir the mixture. Taste and if necessary add a touch more sugar syrup or ...
Muddle the mint leaves and light rum in a mixing tin. Add the dark rum, sugar syrup, lime juice and a dash of Angostura Bitter. Shake well with lots ...
Rating: 4.71 / 5
Gin Gin Mule cocktail
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5
4
Gin Gin Mule
Added About 3 years ago
6 ingredients  
Muddle the ginger in the bottom of a shaker. Add the other ingredients into the shaker with ice. Shake well then strain into chilled cocktail glass before topping up with the ginger beer. ...
Muddle the ginger in the bottom of a shaker. Add the other ingredients into the shaker with ice. Shake well then strain into chilled cocktail glass ...
Rating: 4.48 / 5
Margarita cocktail
CLASSIC
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183
58
Margarita
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Rim the edge of a cocktail glass with salt by wiping the edge with a wedge of lemon first. Next shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into the cocktail glass. ...
Rim the edge of a cocktail glass with salt by wiping the edge with a wedge of lemon first. Next shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ...
Rating: 4.98 / 5
Long Island Ice Tea cocktail
CLASSIC
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173
42
Long Island Ice Tea
Added About 6 years ago
8 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients except for the coke in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into highball glass and then top up with coke. ...
Shake all ingredients except for the coke in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes ...
Rating: 4.97 / 5
Sidecar cocktail
CLASSIC
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39
Sidecar
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
A simple to make classic - the Sidecar. Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.Traditionally garnished with a strip of lemon rind. ...
A simple to make classic - the Sidecar. Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until the outside of the shaker ...
Rating: 4.97 / 5
Perfect Manhattan cocktail
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10
4
Perfect Manhattan
Added About 2 years ago
4 ingredients  
Slight variation on the typical Manhattan recipe. Rather than just sweet vermouth, there is an equal amount of dry vermouth. Pour all ingredients into a glass with ice. Stir with a cocktail spoon. Strain into a martini glass. ...
Slight variation on the typical Manhattan recipe. Rather than just sweet vermouth, there is an equal amount of dry vermouth. Pour all ingredients into ...
Rating: 3.42 / 5
Dry Martini cocktail
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14
Dry Martini
Added About 4 years ago
2 ingredients  
Add the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive and a squeeze of lemon peel oil. ...
Add the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive and a squeeze of ...
Rating: 4.78 / 5
Metropolitan cocktail
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39
Metropolitan
Added About 6 years ago
4 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into cocktail glass. ...
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into ...
Rating: 4.75 / 5
Berry Blush cocktail
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64
40
Berry Blush
Added About 6 years ago
6 ingredients  
Crush the raspberries with the sugar syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Get the raspeberries into a pulp to release as much of the juice as possible. Add the vodka and martini and shaker with ice. Once shaken double strain into a highball glass with ice, and add the orange ...
Crush the raspberries with the sugar syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Get the raspeberries into a pulp to release as much of the juice as ...
Rating: 4.42 / 5
Mint Julep cocktail
CLASSIC
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31
Mint Julep
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar syrup to release the oils from the mint leaves. Add the bourbon and fill the lowball glass with crushed ice. Stir the drink and garnish with a sprig or two of mint. ...
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar syrup to release the oils from the mint leaves. Add the bourbon and fill the lowball glass with crushed ice. ...
Rating: 4.97 / 5
Mojito cocktail
CLASSIC
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303
105
Mojito
Added About 6 years ago
6 ingredients  
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar syrup and lime juice to release the oils from the mint leaves. Next fill up the glass with crushed ice and pour in the angostura bitter and the rum, top up with the soda water and give it a stir. The classic mojito loved the world over. ...
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar syrup and lime juice to release the oils from the mint leaves. Next fill up the glass with crushed ice and pour ...
Rating: 4.93 / 5
Vodka Sour cocktail
CLASSIC
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16
Vodka Sour
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into sour glass. ...
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into ...
Rating: 4.78 / 5
Tequila Sunrise cocktail
CLASSIC
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181
46
Tequila Sunrise
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Half fill a highball glass with ice cubes and pour in the tequila. Top up with orange juice and give the cocktail a stir. Once mixed pour in the grenadine that should sink to the bottom colouring the orange drink on its way down. ...
Half fill a highball glass with ice cubes and pour in the tequila. Top up with orange juice and give the cocktail a stir. Once mixed pour in the ...
Rating: 4.88 / 5
Shirley Temple cocktail
CLASSIC
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16
5
Shirley Temple
Added About 6 years ago
4 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients except the ginger ale in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into highball glass with cracked ice and top up with the ginger ale. ...
Shake all ingredients except the ginger ale in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes ...
Rating: 4.38 / 5
Hurricane Suzy cocktail
CLASSIC
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20
3
Hurricane Suzy
Added About 6 years ago
7 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients except the grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into highball glass. Drizzle the grenadine into the cocktail and serve. ...
Shake all ingredients except the grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes ...
Rating: 4.19 / 5
Purple Rain cocktail
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55
34
Purple Rain
Added About 5 years ago
3 ingredients  
This Sourz inspired drink is quick and easy to make. Add the sourz, curacao, some ice cubes and lemonde to the gallss and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve. ...
This Sourz inspired drink is quick and easy to make. Add the sourz, curacao, some ice cubes and lemonde to the gallss and stir well. Garnish with a ...
Rating: 3.55 / 5
Hemingway Daiquiri cocktail
CLASSIC
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12
3
Hemingway Daiquiri
Added About 6 years ago
5 ingredients  
This is the drink as Hemingway drank it at the El Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba. Hemingway supposedly frequented this bar from the early 1930's when he lived in the area. Slowly, from the original daquiri recipe, he adapted the ingerdients and quantities until he came up with this cocktail. Now ...
This is the drink as Hemingway drank it at the El Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba. Hemingway supposedly frequented this bar from the early 1930's when ...
Rating: 4.51 / 5
Espresso Martini cocktail
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9
0
Espresso Martini
Added About 7 years ago
4 ingredients  
Pour ingredients into shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled cocktail glass. It should be somewhat frothy. Finish with a few coffee beans or flakes of dark chocolate. ...
Pour ingredients into shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled cocktail glass. It should be somewhat frothy. Finish ...
Rating: 2.4 / 5
White Russian cocktail
CLASSIC
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158
58
White Russian
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
In a lowball glass with ice add the vodka and coffee liqueur. Give the mixture a stir to combine the ingredients before adding the cream on-top. Don't stir the cocktail before serving, and it should create a slightly layered effect. ...
In a lowball glass with ice add the vodka and coffee liqueur. Give the mixture a stir to combine the ingredients before adding the cream on-top. ...
Rating: 4.96 / 5
B52 cocktail
CLASSIC
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101
22
B52
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Layer the ingredients starting with the heaviest first: coffee liqueur, then the Baileys, and finally the Grand Marnier. ...
Layer the ingredients starting with the heaviest first: coffee liqueur, then the Baileys, and finally the Grand Marnier. ...
Rating: 4.9 / 5
Mimosa cocktail
CLASSIC
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42
11
Mimosa
Added About 6 years ago
2 ingredients  
Simply combine 1 part champagne with a part orange juice in a champagne flute. If you swap the champagne for Sparkling White Wine it becomes a Bucks Fizz - a traditional drink to have on Christmas morning. ...
Simply combine 1 part champagne with a part orange juice in a champagne flute. If you swap the champagne for Sparkling White Wine it becomes a Bucks ...
Rating: 4.84 / 5
Bellini cocktail
CLASSIC
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51
43
Bellini
Added About 6 years ago
2 ingredients  
Invented at Harry's Bar in Venice during the 1930's, this cocktail was originally made using sparkling Italian white wine, and in many parts of Italy it still is made that way. Popular tradition however has switched the wine for champagne. A simple classic - add the peach juice into the bottom of a ...
Invented at Harry's Bar in Venice during the 1930's, this cocktail was originally made using sparkling Italian white wine, and in many parts of Italy ...
Rating: 4.57 / 5
Kir Royale cocktail
CLASSIC
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16
3
Kir Royale
Added About 6 years ago
2 ingredients  
Simple add the creme de cassis to the bottom of the wine glass and top up with the white wine. ...
Simple add the creme de cassis to the bottom of the wine glass and top up with the white wine. ...
Rating: 4.81 / 5
Grasshopper cocktail
CLASSIC
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27
5
Grasshopper
Added About 6 years ago
3 ingredients  
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into cocktail glass. ...
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into ...
Rating: 4.78 / 5

This post was wrote by ....

Suzanna H
Hi, I am Suzanna. I would describe myself as a bit of a foodie with a side-interest in fancy cocktails. Anything sweet and alcoholic and I'm in! I am also an avid writer, proofreader and editor and work freelance through the website People per Hour.

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