- The most expensive alcohol out there isn't always the best for cocktails. You'll want good quality spirits, but not premium, which are meant to be sipped solo. Castro stresses that a "bar stocked with good spirits doesn't have to be expensive."
- Here are the spirits you'll need: a London-dry gin (like Beefeater) and a Western-style gin (like Plymouth), rye whiskey ("Wild Turkey is the best bang for your buck"), a tequila blanco that's made from 100 percent blue agave, bourbon, light rum (like Flor de Caña), dark rum (like Appleton), and a single malt for mixing.
- What about vodka? According to Castro, you don't need it: "vodka is for people who don't know how to make drinks."
- You'll also need three kinds of bitters: Angostura, orange, and Peychaud's.
- Fresh citrus, like lemons, limes, and oranges, are a must, as is homemade simple syrup for sweetening.
- In terms of liqueurs, Castro says get Cointreau, dry and sweet vermouth (Noilly Pratt is a great brand), and Cognac.
- Don't get it all at once. Build your bar over the course of a year. "When you make a certain drink and it calls for a liqueur you don't have, that's when you go get a bottle of it."
Do you have a stocked home bar? What's in it?