Libation Library


6 Essential Bottles for Every Bar Cart
Posted on April 20, 2019 by in Spirits

It all starts at the bar cart with craft cocktails. Whether you feel like playing bartender or allowing your guests to mix their own drinks, the bar cart is a perfect opportunity for people to mingle. Customize your own menu from this list of 10 classic cocktails. All you need are six spirits and mixers to make a whole host of libations. Our timeless recipes featuring whiskey, vodka, gin and must-have liqueurs for any amateur mixologist.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks of the trade, check out our article on How to Build Your Own Bar Cart. We break down everything you need to entertain—from the most important spirits, mixers and liqueurs to the bar tools and accessories.

For more cocktail recipes and seasonal inspiration, check out our libation library at

Whiskey & BittersIt’s one of the most revered cocktail combinations in the history of mixology. Use aromatic bitters to evoke the smokiness of Scotch. Add Peychaud’s Bitters to complement the complexity rye whiskey. And try citrus or chocolate bitters to balance out the boldness of bourbon.

Old Fashioned

  • 1-1/2 parts whiskey (2 oz)
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Maraschino cherries


  • Muddle sugar and bitters in a rocks glass.
  • Add bourbon and ice, then stir.
  • Top with a cherry as garnish.



  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • Dash of bitters
  • Maraschino cherries


  • Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  • Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with maraschino cherries.



  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Peychaud’s bitters
  • Absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube


  • Combine sugar and bitters in a mixing glass and add a few drops of water
  • When sugars dissolves, add whiskey and stir half a minute
  • In a separate chilled glass, add teaspoon of absinthe and swish to coat glass. Discard excess!
  • Add mixing glass ingredients to chilled glass
  • Garnish with lemon twist


Whiskey Sour

  • 1.5 oz whiskey
  • 4 oz sour mix (or make your own*)
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  • Combine whiskey and sour mix into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass
  • Stir gentlye
  • Garnish with a cherry and enjoy!/li>


Vodka & CointreauDue to its neutral character and clear color, vodka is one of the most popular and versatile base spirits in the world. Vodka goes well with any number of fruit juices and mixers, but if you want to make the classics, you’ll need some orange liqueur. Cointreau, France’s favorite triple sec since 1875, is a must-have for any home bartender.

These three crowd favorites deliver a little sweetness and a whole lot of sass:


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz Cointreaur
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau


  • Add ingredients to cocktail shaker half filled with ice and shake well.
  • AStrain into cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with lime wheel.



  • 2 oz vodka
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 0.5 oz agave syrup
  • Lime wedge


  • Run lime wedge along rim of glass, then dip into salt plate
  • Shake ingredients together in an ice-filled shaker until chillede
  • Strain into cocktail glass
  • Garnish with lime wheel


Lemon Drop

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Mix the vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice & sugar in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice
  • Shake well and pour strained into sugar-rimmed martini glass
  • Garnish with lemon peel


Gin & VermouthGin is a traditional elderflower spirit that’s been enjoying a big comeback. On its own, gin packs a punch with floral and herbal flavor attributes, so it can be an acquired taste. The beauty is that the earthy flavors of gin are balanced by the soft dryness of vermouth.

Gin and vermouth are the building blocks of many classic cocktails:


  • 2.5 oz. gin
  • 0.5 oz dry vermouth
  • Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)


  • Combine gin and vermouth in a glass filled with ice and stir 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Add splash of orange or Angostura bitters.
  • Garnish with olives or lemon twist


  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth


  • Combine gin and vermouth in a glass filled with ice and stir 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Add splash of orange or Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with olives or lemon twist


The Martinez

  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • Orange bitters


  • Shake together gin, vermouth and liqueur into cocktail shaker with ice
  • Strain into glass
  • Add a few dashes of orange bitters
  • Garnish with orange twist

Be the host with most! Here are 20 other cocktails that combine our 6 essential bottles for every bar cart.

  • Pink Gin (gin & bitters)
  • The Fitzgerald (gin & bitters)
  • The Casino (gin & bitters)
  • Corpse Reviver No. 2 (gin & Cointreau)
  • White Lady (gin & Cointreau)
  • The Pegu Club (gin & Cointreau)
  • Bulldog Smash (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Escape from Alcatraz (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Whiskey Cobbler (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Lynchburg Lemonade (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Tennessee Tea (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Burnt Orange Cocktail (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Scotch Fizz (whiskey & Cointreau)
  • Headless Horseman (vodka & bitters)
  • Bitter Widow (vodka & bitters)
  • Viking Vacation (vodka & bitters)
  • Bitter Widow (vodka & vermouth)
  • Drunken Gummy Bears (vodka & vermouth)
  • April Rain Cocktail (vodka & vermouth)
  • Eight-Six Benevolent Street (vodka & vermouth)