Starting off Drinks

This is a list of the various liquids you’ll need to get started making cocktails. I’ve broken the list down into how much you’ll need each of the drinks. Most cocktails are based around a spirit of some kind with flavor added by means of a fruit juice or another type of alcohol. In this list I’ve tried to keep things ordered from most to least important, but it really depends on what flavors you like and what sort of cocktails you want to make. I don’t aim for this to be an exhaustive list, just a hint of the sort of things you’ll want to buy when starting out.


These form the base of almost all cocktails.

  • White Rum – keep this in the freezer and buy good quality
  • Vodka – keep this in the freezer and avoid buying to cheap (expensive vodka will be a waste though)
  • Dark / Blended Rum – this can be fairly cheap stuff unless you’re a rum person wot
  • Gin – keep this in the freezer and like the Vodka avoid buying the really cheap stuff
  • Brandy – great for warm drinks buy cheap to middle quality
  • Whiskey – buy a blended whiskey of middling quality
Flavoring Alcoholic Drinks:
This list is less sorted than the last one, because it’s far more dependent on the type of cocktails you want to make. With most of these you can just buy whatever is cheapest as they are fairly specialized drinks in the first place. I personally find these drinks generally come in around the same price as the whiskey and vodka I buy to mix with.
  • Tripple Sec – a replacement for Cointreau which is really expensive – has a bitter citrus taste
  • Cherry Kirsch – a sweet cherry flavor drink – bright pink
  • White Cacao – a white chocolate drink – works well when mixed with citrus flavors
  • Schnapps – available in various fruity flavors
  • Sparkling Wine – used for various fizzy cocktails
  • Drambuie – really great for warm winter cocktails
  • Cinnamon Liqueur
  • Ginger Liqueur
Non Alcoholic Substances:
This list is of the various things you’ll want to keep in the fridge or pantry that don’t have any alcohol in them. This list is once again sorted by priority with the most important stuff at the top.
  • Sugar Syrup – make this yourself by dissolving equal parts white sugar and water – store in a glass bottle in the fridge
  • Lemon Juice – a general cooking essential for when fresh lemons aren’t available
  • Cordials – these make great mixers get one or two of your favorite flavors
  • Soda Water – or a soda machine to make your own
  • Fresh Lemons / Limes / Oranges – citrus fruit flavors are common in summer and winter drinks
  • Fruit Juices – for the more fruity cocktails and less strong
  • Cola – I have a soda machine and just buy cola syrup
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