We’d all love to have a fully stocked bar, but a fully stocked bar is expensive. Hosting a cocktail party can seem like an impossible task if you’re strapped for cash, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not.
You don’t need three kinds of rum and a well-aged scotch in order to create cocktails to fit any taste. In fact, we’ve rounded up a list of 30 libations you can make using just four base spirits and a few essential ingredients. Done right and your cocktail party might even cost less than last weekend’s bar bill.
• Vodka: Don’t risk a serious hangover by settling for a bottle of $6 Monarch. Go mid-shelf with Smirnoff, New Amsterdam, or Svedka.
• Gin: The packaging may look cheap, but Seagram’s Extra Dry is classic for a reason. If you’re looking to upgrade, the company also has a Distiller’s Reserve for a few bucks more.
• Rum: If you’re only buying one kind of rum, we recommend keeping it light for the most flexibility. Try Captain Morgan White, Bacardi Superior, or Cruzan Light.
• Whiskey: No, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a palatable whiskey. Evan Williams, Rebel Yell, and Old Overholt all taste more expensive than they really are.
The Essential Ingredients
These ingredients are necessary to make a variety of cocktails. The list may look a bit long, but chances are you already have some of these at home – if you don’t, here’s where to pick these up:
From Your Neighborhood Grocery Store:
• Club soda
• Tonic water
• Ginger ale
• Orange juice
• Cranberry juice
• Lemons and limes
• Acapulco: White rum, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar
• The Ace: Gin, grenadine, cream, lemon juice, egg white, and nutmeg
• Bourbon Rose: Whiskey, triple sec, orange juice, and grenadine
• Bourbon Sidecar: Whiskey, triple sec, and lemon juice
• Bronx Cocktail: Gin, vermouth, and orange juice
• Brown Cocktail: Gin, white rum, and vermouth
• Cape Cod: Vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and club soda
• Cosmopolitan: Vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and lime juice
• Daiquiri: White rum, lime juice, and sugar
• Gibson Martini: Gin and vermouth
• Gimlet: Gin and lime juice
• The Gilbert: Vodka, club soda, and orange juice
• Gin and Tonic: Gin, tonic water, and lime
• Hole in One: Vodka, cranberry juice, and orange juice
• Horse’s Neck: Whiskey, ginger ale, and lemon
• Hula-Hula: Gin, orange juice, and triple sec
• Kamikaze: Vodka, triple sec, and lime juice
• Lady’s Gentleman: Whiskey, triple sec, and orange juice
• Opal Cocktail: Gin, triple sec, orange juice, and sugar
• Orange Buck: Gin, orange juice, lime juice, and ginger ale
• Paisley Martini: Gin, whiskey, and vermouth
• Pink Polar Bear: Vodka, grenadine, and milk
• Quicky: Whiskey, white rum, and triple sec
• Rum Rickey: White rum, lime juice, and club soda
• Screwdriver: Vodka and orange juice
• Snakebite: Whiskey and lime juice
• Vodka Martini: Vodka and vermouth
• Vodka Tonic: Vodka, tonic water, and lime
• Whiskey Ginger: Whiskey, ginger ale, and lime
• Zentini: White rum, lime juice, and triple sec
Looking for more ways to have fun without breaking the bank? Pick up Clinton Kelly’s book Freakin’ Fabulous on a Budget for money-smart ideas for your next soiree.