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Downtown Wine & Spirits

Build Your Home Bar

Need help building your home bar? Look no further; Downtown Wine & Spirits is here to help. If you can’t find something you’re looking for you can email us at call the store at (617) 625-7777, or talk to any of us in the store if you stop by.


If you’re looking to get started making cocktails, whether as a hobbyist or for entertaining, consider putting together a small set of essential barware, as well as spirits and other ingredients that will give you the widest range of options for the price.


  • Shakers (Either a Boston shaker, or a set of weighted tins.)
  • Barspoon
  • Double jigger with inner measurement markings (You’ll get the most use out of a 1oz/2oz jigger.)
  • Hawthorne strainer

The Complete Bar

If you already have some experience with making cocktails, or really want to dive in, a more complete bar set might be right for you. The sky’s the limit here, but I still recommend buying first for versatility, and adding on more specialized tools and ingredients as you go.


  • Shakers (Either a Boston shaker, or a set of weighted tins. I prefer the weighted tins here.)
  • Barspoon
  • Double jiggers with inner measurement markings (I recommend a 1oz/2oz jigger, and a .5oz/.75oz jigger.)
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Julep strainer
  • Mesh cone strainer
  • Press juicer
  • Muddler
  • Mixing glass

Let’s Get Started!

Now that you have your tools, we can get to the fun part. It only takes a handful of bottles to make dozens if not hundreds of cocktails. Here’s what I recommend buying first:

  • London dry gin
  • Rye whiskey
  • Angostura bitters
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Dry vermouth
  • Orange liqueur

While I think that gin and whiskey will give you the widest range off the bat, go with what you like. Love rum, or tequila? Get those. No matter what you pick, you’ll find that it doesn’t take a ton of know-how or experience to make some delicious drinks. Go with mild and iconic flavors, as that will give you less room for error and more versatility for mixing. Here are some suggestions:

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  • Gin: Beefeater or Bombay Sapphire
  • Whiskey: Rittenhouse
  • Tequila: Lunazul
  • Rum: El Dorado 5 year or Rhum Barbancourt White
  • Vodka: Stolichnaya