How to Stock Your Home Bar

Cocktail experts Greg and Shelley Lindgren, co-owners of San Francisco's A16 and Rye, share the best spirits you need to always be ready for a celebration. Cheers!


Greg Lindgren recommends having a quality mix of liquor on-hand. The good news? You don't always have to spring for top-shelf.

Spring for a good-sipping single malt. Lindgren's pick: Bruichladdich 12-year Second Edition.

Opt for the budget-friendly choice to save a few dollars since you can barely taste the difference. Greg suggests the
affordable Four Roses.

This is the most popular alcohols, but the least likely to be consumed straight.
Translation: You'll want lots of it at a not-too-fancy grade. Greg recommends the budget-friendly, but reliable Polish brand, Sobieski.

Margaritas benefit from pricier tequila so this alcohol is worth the splurge. Try
one made from 100-percent blue agave, like Tequila Ocho Añejo.

Though cheap gin can be awful, top-shelf isn't exquisite. The best tip is to go for Plymouth, a premium option at a midrange price.

For Cuba libres, Greg prefers, "a dry white rum, since cola's already so sweet." He opts for Flor de Caña.

Plus: Get pricing & sourcing info for all these recommended liquors »


Buying in bulk is your best option, says Shelley Lindgren. "You get the best quality for the money, since wine shops often discount cases. Plus, you'll always have an extra bottle at the ready." Here are her must-haves:

Didier Champalou Vouvray Sec appeals to drinkers who like a full-bodied Chablis, as well as those who enjoy a crisp Pinot Grigio.

Shelley recommends Emilio Moro Finca Resalso, "a Spanish cross between Cabernet and Syrah."

An affordable alternative to champagne, Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Crede Brut shines with hints of apple and pear.

Plus: See pricing & sourcing info for all these wines »


The absolute musts: tonic water, club soda, and cola. From there, add juices-cranberry (for vodka), orange (for screwdrivers), lemon (for Tom Collins), and lime (for margaritas). A couple of extras worth including: aromatic bitters, a key ingredient in classic cocktails, and dry vermouth, a martini necessity. Don't forget the garnishes: limes, lemons, olives, cherries, and mint.


Greet guests with an assortment of light nibbles that keep well: pistachios, a wasabi mix, and crackers to serve with goat cheese. Bright idea:
Erasable chalkboard labels make it easy to keep track of snacks.

Get the recipe for Shelley Lindgren's Spiced Nuts »

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.