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.
Scotch will be your biggest investment (figure on $50 or more), but a single malt is essential for moments of quiet celebration. While there are many rare one-off Scotches for sale, there's no reason to pay top-dollar for a bottle. Lagavulin ($50) is a classic Islay scotch, full of that typical smoky flavor. Here are 8 more top-quality scotches for under $100.