Mixing up a nightly cocktail shouldn't be a chore. Pull out your ingredients and arrange them on a bar cart. This way, not only does it place all the cocktail necessities in reach, but it's pretty to look at too.
1. Cocktail Shaker
Shaking a cocktail is often critical to achieving the perfect outcome. While you can definitely do this with two glasses (one of which should be slightly smaller than the other), a shaker set definitely makes it easier (many come with a strainer to help keep pulp and other bits out of your drink).
You'll need these for measuring. A shot glass works in a pinch too.
3. Whiskey, Gin, and Vodka
These are the foundations for many classic cocktails. But depending on your tastes, you may prefer to swap one or two of these for rum or tequila instead.
4. Simple Syrup
While you can certainly buy it, it's so easy to make. Boil equal parts water and sugar (for example, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water) until reduced and slightly thick. I keep mine in a little plastic squeeze bottle that can be capped, like this one.
No self-respecting cocktail would be caught dead without being made with ice. Having a pretty ice bucket and scoop is nice, but a pretty bowl (or even galvanized bucket) will work too.
6. Tonic Water and Club Soda
Essential mixers for making many basic cocktails (like a Gin and Tonic or Tom Collins).
7. Citrus juices
Because what's a G&T without lime or a French 75 without lemon? Fresh is always best, but the pre-bottled stuff will get the job done in a cocktail emergency.
8. Vegetable Peeler
Like this one so you can make pretty, but essential, garnishes for your master-crafted cocktails.
No bitters? No Old Fashioned.
10. Olives and Cherries (and other garnishes that pique your taste buds)
Because a martini without an olive and a Manhattan without a cherry is just sad.
A necessary component for a martini or Manhattan.
You need something to put your handiwork in! Having a few rocks glasses and martini glasses is a good place to start. If you want to be prepared for most occasions, consider expanding to some highball glasses and champagne saucers.
With a fully stocked bar cart, there's nothing stopping you!
SHARE with your drinking buddies so they can always be prepared!