Home bars are awesome.
But where to start? We're not all Don Draper. Which booze should we buy first? Do we need a cocktail shaker? IS IT OK TO DRINK STRAIGHT FROM THE BOTTLE?
We asked Richard Godwin, cocktail expert and author of The Spirits (100% recommend this book), for his tips:
1. First, shop strategically for a good combination of bottles – you can make 40+ different cocktails with just six bottles of booze.
2. But at a push, you really only need two bottles to get started.
3. Don't overthink your gin.
4. But do be prepared to spend more on your whiskey.
5. Use Tupperware boxes to make lots and lots of ice. Don't worry about the cloudiness of it – you just need lots of it.
6. Get vermouth that can multitask.
7. Proper barware isn't essential, but a small measuring cup, a tea strainer, and a fruit juicer are very useful to have.
8. Buy your glasses from charity shops.
9. Make your own sugar syrup with two parts sugar and one part boiling water.
10. Expand your bar economically by buying miniatures instead of full sizes.
11. The essential fruit you need are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, and raspberries.
12. Newbie cocktail makers should start with sours.
13. Rum and liqueur is the next step.
"If you want to expand this selection to make even more cocktails, you'll want to get another light spirit and another dark spirit. The obvious omission here is rum, so I'd get a light rum and a dark rum, which opens up the whole world of tropical drinks.
"After that it just depends what you like. Brandy is good for serious, brooding after-dinner-style digestif drinks. The thing I always come back to is Pisco, which I think is really underrated. Then in terms of liqueurs, probably the two that you end up using most are Cointreau (orange liqueur) and maraschino, which are used as sweeteners. What I really like is apricot or peach brandy though, which works in loads of contexts."
14. A good home bar will save you a LOT of money and hangovers.
15. Here's how to make a Boulevardier:
16. A Martini:
17. An Old Fashioned:
18. A Silver Fizz:
19. And the ultimate G&T:
The Mad Men character referred to above is Peggy Olsen. A previous version of this article called her Penny.