Introducing The 9-Bottle Bar: A Guide to Building a Small Yet Mighty Home Bar

The 9-Bottle Bar

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Note from the Editor: Please welcome Roger, our new cocktail columnist! He's bringing us a project I've been dreaming of for quite a while: The 9-Bottle Bar, designed for those of us with limited space and budget but a thirst for great cocktails. I would be remiss not to mention David Solmonson's 12 Bottle Bar, which we discovered while researching this column and is another great resource for building a smaller bar. We're going to push the envelope and see what we can do with just nine bottles and a repertoire of classic drinks. Enjoy! — Faith

Brace yourself for the following: you can craft a dizzying array of cocktails from a surprisingly small number of spirits and mixers. It's just a matter of owning the right bottles (that, and a little know-how).

Welcome to The 9-Bottle Bar, a new column dedicated to helping you amass an efficient, versatile, reliable-in-a-pinch home bar, without spending a fortune and ending up saddled with ingredients you'll seldom use. Here's a look at what we're going to bring you over the next nine months.

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Over the coming weeks, I'll cover each of the nine recommended bottles in detail, offer some advice on which brands to consider stocking depending on your budget, and arm you with a solid repertoire of classic-cocktail recipes that derive almost entirely from those nine bottles. (Here and there you'll need additional ingredients like sugar and fresh-squeezed citrus juice. We'll talk about those too.)

Here's a peek at the line-up.

The 9-Bottle Bar

1. Rye Whiskey

2. London Dry Gin

3. Light Rum

4. Sweet Vermouth

5. Dry Vermouth

6. Maraschino Liqueur

7. Orange Liqueur

8. Aromatic Bitters

9. Orange Bitters

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Stay tuned for future installments The 9-Bottle Bar. Next week, I'll be diving right in with an introduction to the ultimate second-act spirit, rye whiskey. Before you know it, you'll be slinging drinks like a pro.

More posts in this series

The 9-Bottle Bar

(Image credits: Roger Kamholz)