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The basic ingredients
For those of you just starting up mixing drinks, here's a suggestions of few bottles you need to have. These will get you started at a reasonable price. From there, any additional bottle will get you a few more possible drinks!
Absolut Vodka. Vodka mixes very well with just about anything, you'll find a lot of drinks made with vodka and juices for example. Since you'll be mixing it, you don't need to go for the priciest bottle. Don't go with cheap vodka either: on top of giving you a headache, cheaper vodka leaves you with a burning feeling and a bad taste.
White rum. Just like vodka, white rum mixes very well and is used in a lot of drinks. Havana Club and Bacardi are popular choices.
Gin. London Dry Gin is the classic choice for gin. Gordon's Dry Gin is cheap and taste great for mixed drinks. For Martinis, you'll need a higher quality brand like Bombay Saphire and Tanqueray No. Ten
Tequila. This spirit doesn't mix that well except for a few exceptions: it does magic with lime juice and orange liqueur in the Margarita recipe for example. If you're short on budget, keep this bottle for your next run as good quality tequilas are quite expensive. Even for mixed drinks, don't go with the cheaper brands. Go at least with Sauza Silver or Jose Cuervo Clasico Silver, they are a bit rough for shots but great for mixing.
Triple Sec. This orange liqueur is not expensive and is used in a lot of tropical drinks. You can use it as a replacement to Cointreau, Grand Marnier and Curacao.
Mixers. Coke, Sprite, 7UP, Canada Dry, etc.
Juices. Cranberry, orange, fresh lime and lemon juices.
What you can do with these ingredients
A more alcoholic version of the "Matador". Light, strong and sharp.
Easy to make as the title, Splendid, simple drink.
Light and breezy, not too much of anything.
A very great relaxing dinner beverage for non-alcoholic drinkers.
The famous shooter, as a cocktail, that uses lemon instead of lime. Clean and brisk.
A variant of the Bloody Mary ordered at the Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas by crooner Tony Bennett.
Saltiness, sweetness and sharpness all at once. A sweetened version of one of the most classic cocktails.
A great classic recipe I rediscovered when I ran out of limes for my daiquiri
One of the simplest cocktails you can do using white rum. Cuban Rum (ex: Havana Club) really turns an average cocktails into a great one!
The official Cuban drink. Excellent and refreshing!
A great refreshing summer drink
Another variation of this excellent tropical drink
Refreshing and made with style. Perfect for pregnant women on a party.
A quick and easy shooter for any Margarita Fan.