A great ready-to-serve punch and plenty of wine or beer will keep your guests happy when you throw a big party, but there are occasions – usually smaller gatherings – when you should take drink requests. To do so, you'll need more than a half handle of cheap vodka and a bottle of your favorite scotch. That's why you should stock up on ingredients for classic cocktails: an old-fashioned, a martini, a mojito. Draw the line at green apple schnapps – no one needs an appletini – but make sure your home bar has enough booze, bitters, and garnish to keep your company satisfied.
Here is a simplified shopping list.
Buy the 10-ounce bottles of tonic, club soda, and ginger ale so you open one fresh every time – and be sure to read the label and avoid options with high fructose corn syrup. Try one of the new, intensely flavored mixers like Fever-Tree's outstanding tonic, or ginger beer.