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The Home Bar

A well-equipped home bar is the cocktail enthusiast’s answer to the at-home wine cellar. At Scott Morrison’s rustic-chic birch bar (below), vintage draftsman’s chairs face his extensive stock of top-flight spirits and the exotic souvenir bottles he collects abroad.

© Earl Carter

Essentials for the Home Bar

Just as chefs love exotic spices and rare produce, mixologists seek out obscure spirits and mixers. A bar stocked with these unusual spirits allows the amateur bartender to create ambitious cocktails at home.

Barolo Chinato

This spicy, wine-based digestif contains quinine, which is what gives tonic water its bitterness.

Carpano Antica Formula

This sweet Italian vermouth is a more robust, full-bodied alternative to standard vermouth like Martini & Rossi.

Chartreuse V.E.P.

A complex French liqueur that’s aged much longer than regular Chartreuse, giving it a mellower, more integrated flavor.

Fernet-Branca Amaro

Mixologists like to add this intensely flavored Italian herbal digestif to drinks in small doses, in place of bitters.

Laird’s Bonded Apple Jack

Bartenders love the intense appley flavor of this pure, 100-proof brandy.

Lucid Absinthe

Now that the U.S. ban on absinthe has been relaxed, this sweet American brand will be key to a resurgence in anise-flavored cocktails.

Rhum Clémont Créole Shrubb

A rum-based, orange liqueur that is a more complex substitute for triple sec.


This elderflower-based liqueur smells like spring and tastes like summer, adding a floral bouquet and tropical flavors to cocktails.

Velvet Falernum

A sweet liqueur from Barbados flavored with lime and spices, it’s great in tropical drinks like the mojito.

Published January 2008
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