How To Stock A Home Bar: For Gin Lovers

Words by Jane Ryan

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If you like making gin cocktails, this is the most useful article you’ll ever have clicked on. In a way, you’ve just won the juniper lottery of mixed drinks – congratulations. Here we’re going to run through how to stock your home bar with just nine bottles, enabling you to make any of the following 15 classic gin cocktails.

Pick Your Gin

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Stocking your home bar full of the spirit you love does seem like the best way to go about building a booze collection to entertain with, or simply to make a single cocktail come Friday night. It is, however, one of the biggest mistakes people make when building their home bar. Unfortunately many bottles of gin means you can make neat gin, and that’s about it. Perhaps a gin on ice. Personally, we prefer a Negroni or a Southside at the end of the day.

STEP ONE: First of all you’ll need your gin. We’ve based the following selection of cocktails on a classic London dry, namely Ford’s Gin. Made in London, Ford’s was designed for cocktails by an ex-bartender (Simon Ford) and has a botanical makeup that complements our 15 drinks – you’ll find juniper, lemon, grapefruit, jasmine, cassia, orange, orris, coriander and angelica. This ingredient line up breaks down into an aromatic citrusy and floral nose, with classic juniper and bright citrus on the palate – and there’s just enough spice lingering there too, exactly what we need to mix well without overpowering our cocktails.

Remember, when basing a home bar around one gin, we’d strongly caution against a liquid that’s flavoured – lavender gin might be fine in an Earl Grey Martini but it’ll destroy your Pegu Club. Instead reach for a quality allrounder, not a one trick pony.

Hit The Shops

STEP TWO: Head to your local booze shop and stock up on the following:
- Rosso (sweet) vermouth
- Dry vermouth
- Triple sec
- Maraschino liqueur
- Campari
- Angostura bitters
- Orange bitters

Lastly, you’ll need some sugar syrup. Make it at home by mixing equal parts sugar to water in a saucepan over heat, or grab a bottle along with the list above. You should be looking at approximately $180. With the gin and pantry staples included, your home bar should never cost more than $300 to set up. After that the gin and vermouth will need replacing the most frequently – the gin because you’ll be drinking it, and vermouth because it lasts about two months – with all the other ingredients lasting for a much longer time.

These bottles, alongside your gin, will form your bar, but before you start enjoying the drinks you’ll also need a few fresh staples. These are mostly lemons and limes but a few of our 15 drinks use egg whites or aqua faba, honey, mint leaves or raspberries. Pick these up as and when you want to make drinks.

Cocktails

We’re into the fun part now. Here’s your 15 cocktails to shake, stir and enjoy whenever you fancy – that’s the beauty of having a home bar that’s already set up. Never again will you be left with half a bottle of gin, and nothing to drink it with. Told you this was going to be the most useful thing you clicked on.

NEGRONI

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With: Fords London dry gin, Campari, rosso vermouth.
We say: Bitter and dry, but very tasty. This no namby-pamby drink is traditionally assembled and mixed directly in the glass. There is something about a Negroni that does not suit fussing about with mixing glasses and strainers. To garnish with a lemon slice is a heinous crime but we are quite partial to a fat orange wedge.
Botanical tie-in: Orange, grapefruit and orris.

AVIATION

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With: Fords London dry gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice.
We say: This is a fantastic, tangy cocktail and dangerously easy to drink - too many of these and you really will be flying.
Botanical tie-in: Cassia and jasmine.

GIN RICKEY
With: Fords London dry gin, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda.
We say: Clean, sharp and refreshing. It should be "a short drink served long" in a 10oz Highball or Fizz glass.
Botanical tie-in: Grapefruit and cassia.

BEE'S KNEES

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With: Fords London dry gin, lemon juice, orange juice and honey.
We say: The beneficial addition of a splash of orange juice to a Bee's Knees (classically it's just gin, lemon and honey) comes from David Embury's 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
Botanical tie-in: Jasmine.

WHITE LADY

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With: Fords London dry gin, triple sec lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.
We say: A simple, silky and delicious gin-laced classic with a sour finish.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper.

DRY MARTINI

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With: Fords London dry gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters.
We say: The proportion of gin to vermouth is a matter of taste; some say 5 to 1, others that one drop is sufficient. I recommend you ask the drinker how they would like their Martini, in the same manner that you might ask how they have their steak.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper, angelica and orange.

GIN FIZZ

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With: Fords London dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda. Add an egg white and this becomes a Silver Fizz, or an egg yolk to make it a Golden Fizz.
We say: Everyone has heard of this clean, refreshing, long drink but few have actually tried it.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper.

SOUTHSIDE

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With: Fords London dry gin, lime juice, sugar syrup and mint.
We say: Gin and mint with a splash of lime. If you like Mojitos and you like gin, then you'll also like this cocktail.
Botanical tie-in: Cassia and jasmine.

EASTSIDE GIMLET
With: Fords London dry gin, lime juice, sugar syrup, mint, cucumber and soda.
We say: A riff on the Southside using cucumber
Botanical tie-in: Cassia and jasmine.

TOM COLLINS

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With: Fords London dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda.
We say: A refreshing balance of sour lemon and sugar, laced with gin and lengthened with soda.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper.

PEGU CLUB
With: Fords London dry gin, triple sec, lime juice, sugar syrup, orange bitters and Angostura bitters.
We say: Citrusy and refreshing with the gin base providing backbone. Rich zesty orange triple sec is accentuated by tart lime.
Botanical tie-in: Cassia, jasmine and grapefruit.

EARL GREY MARTINI

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With: Fords London dry gin (tea infused), lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.
We say: A fantastic and very English drink created by a New Yorker. The gin botanicals combine wonderfully with the flavours and tannins of the tea.
Botanical tie-in: Jasmine.

RAMOS GIN FIZZ

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With: Fords London dry gin, lime juice, lemon juice, orange flower water, egg white, cream, sugar syrup and soda.
We say: One of the great classic cocktails. The perfect balance of sweet and sour is enhanced by the incredibly smooth, almost fluffy mouthfeel.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper.

RED SNAPPER

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With: Fords London dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, tomato juice Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and celery salt.
We say: Looks like a Bloody Mary, and tastes a lot like a Bloody Mary, but features gin's aromatic botanicals.
Botanical tie-in: Angelica and coriander.

CLOVER CLUB

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With: Fords London dry gin, raspberries, dry vermouth, rosso vermouth, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.
We say: Easy drinking and creamy in texture – with notes of raspberry, gin, citrus and delicate spice.
Botanical tie-in: Juniper, lemon and angelica.

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