Simplicity is key when making cocktails at home. Though it’s hard not to love a basic whiskey and ginger ale, sometimes it’s exactly that: basic. Then again, more than three or four ingredients in one glass can spell disaster for your kitchen and your drinks. But when armed with a small arsenal of mixing supplies, your at-home bourbon cocktail–drinking experience improves ten-fold. And what you need beyond the basic kitchen supplies is surprisingly limited.
The six ingredients you need at the ready:
First things first. From your cupboard, you’ll need sugar (combine it with water for a batch of simple syrup), fresh lemon juice (save the peel!) and soda water. Next up: Buy bottles of sweet vermouth and Campari—and don’t forget the dropper of Angostura Bitters, which you may even be able to pick up at the grocery store.
This piece originally appeared on Liquor.com.