How to stock your spirits cabinet

Nightingale head bartender Rhett Williams. Dan Toulgoet photo

Every cocktail starts with a base spirit. Every home cocktail bar should do the same. The question is, what spirits do you really need to stock at home? What’s worth spending money on (and what isn’t)? After all, those bright, shiny bottles can be expensive.

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Cocktail books every home bartender should own

Take a note from the experts and decorate your coffee table with this hit list of Cocktail books. Photo courtesy of The Canon Cocktail Book.

Stocking your home bar? Before you invest in spirits, tools and glassware (not to mention that handy bar cart), you should get some expert advice. Luckily, there are plenty of great cocktail books out there to help you make the right choices.

Here are the essential tomes to quench your thirst for both well-made cocktails and the know-how to make them.

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How to build the perfect home bar

Rod Moore, owner of the Modern Bartender and the Shameful Tiki Room, with some essentials for the home bar. Dan Toulgoet photo.

Back in 2012, when Rod Moore was about to open his dream bar, the Shameful Tiki Room, he ran into a problem. “It was a nightmare trying to find stuff – even basic tools and bitters,” he says, remembering running all over town to find shakers, jiggers, strainers and glassware. As for specialty tiki mugs? Not a chance.

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Cheers to Chinese New Year

Kris Girard, bar manager at Torafuku, makes his Quince Royale cocktail. Dan Toulgoet photo.

Gung hay fat choy! This Saturday (Jan. 28) ushers in the Year of the Rooster with bright red packages, shiny gold coins and festively fizzy cocktails.

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Duke of Kidalton

Lauren Mote’s Duke of Kildalton cocktail. Dan Toulgoet photo

This cocktail, created by Lauren Mote, celebrates the region of Kildalton, on the Scottish isle of Islay, home to the elegant but powerfully smoky Lagavulin 16-year single-malt whisky.

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