Classics Focus 101

2017-09-26 17.50.51 1612738659676971656_4831345287

Do you love all the classic cocktails you often find at the modern “speakeasy”-style bars? Good news – making those drinks at home requires less than you may think (and is definitely a LOT more affordable than your $10-15 cocktails). If you have the budget, I’d recommend picking up one item from each of the below categories, but if you want to start smaller, then start with the other specific spirit-focused posts listed at Home Bar Basics. If you’ve already picked up items from the previous whiskey and gin sets, you should recognize most of these already (the rum starter kit is a bit more unique as rum had a different journey and audience through cocktail history)



  • Bourbon

Bulleit, Eagle Rare, Larceny

  • London Dry Gin

Tanqueray, Beefeater

  • Angostura Bitters

An aromatic bitter cocktail “spice” to liven up and add complexity to many classics

  • Ice

Good ice is a must. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but please don’t use freezer burnt ice – it will kill your drink


  • Sweet Vermouth

Carpano Antica formula, Punt e Mes, Dolin

  • Campari
  • Dry Vermouth


  • Rye

Rittenhouse 100, Old Overholt, Bulleit

  • Orange Bitters

Regan’s no.6

Classics to Make

  • Old Fashioned | bourbon, Angostura, sugar
  • Whiskey Sour | bourbon, lemon, sugar
  • Mint Julep | bourbon, mint, sugar
  • Brown Derby | bourbon, grapefruit, honey
  • Manhattan |rye, sweet vermouth, Angostura
  • Old Pal | rye, dry vermouth, Campari
  • Boulevardier | bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth
  • Gimlet | gin, lime, sugar (add cucumbers, basil, or berries!)
  • Gin Rickey | gin, lime, sparkling water
  • Gin & Tonic | gin, tonic water
  • Collins | gin, lemon, sugar, sparkling water
  • Bee’s Knees | gin, honey, lemon
  • Martini | gin, dry vermouth
  • Negroni | gin, Campari, sweet vermouth
  • French 75/95 | gin/bourbon, lemon juice, sugar, champagne
  • Americano | sweet vermouth, Campari


  1. Oh this is such a fantastic post! I’m saving it to use for reference in the future, so far my favourite to make is definitely an old fashioned but knowing I can do others so easily is brilliant.


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