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Graduate from the vodka tonic

Vodka tonic. Gin and juice. Whiskey and Coke. All of these are mixed drinks; all are very easy to make. Just two ingredients, right? That’s all well and good, and it always leads to that wonderful tipsiness we all seek out after a hard day of work.

Then there are cocktails. Martinis, Manhattans, Daiquiris, et al. Too difficult to mix together? Too many ingredients? Not so. The martini has two ingredients. The Manhattan has three. With just a little bit of knowledge and shopping for your home bar, your palate would be much happier at the end of the day, and you can cut down on your soft drink intake.

What makes for a good home bar?

1. Lemons and limes, which you presumably already have at home.

2. Dry and sweet vermouth, which are very cheap and last a long time if you store in the fridge.

3. Bitters. There are a variety of bitters out there, but Angostura is sufficient for most purposes.

4. Sugar. I suggest making simple syrup, which is extremely, um, simple. Bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil. Let cool and keep in the fridge.

5. Ice.

That’s it. Armed with those ingredients, you’ll soon “forget” how to make a Vodka Tonic, because you’ll be too busy enjoying your Old Fashioned. Just to bring home the point a bit more, consider that a Daiquiri, a Gimlet and a Margarita are the exact same recipe, just made with different spirits.

Daiquiri: lime juice, simple syrup, rum.

Gimlet: lime juice, simple syrup, vodka (or gin).

Margarita: lime juice, simple syrup, tequila.

Most people will say the margarita is made with triple sec, but that’s just another bottle you need to buy. Simple syrup actually makes for a better drink.

Of course, you’ll want some bar hardware, such as shakers, bar spoons, strainers et al., all of which are easy to find and very affordable.

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