How To Stock A Bar For Under $200

Just seven bottles of booze will have you ready for any request.

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Assortment of cocktails on a grey marble counter
Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Ready to mix, shake and stir your way through the holidays with ease? All you need are seven bottles of booze to get you there.

To start, take stock of the liquor cabinet, and think about what you need. To mix up classic cocktails — like gin martinis or Manhattans — $200 and a few pieces of glassware will easily set up the bar cart for the holiday season. (Just add add oranges, lemons, limes, bitters, cocktail cherries, soda and tonic water when you’re ready to start the party.)

Technique: How to make a citrus twist

Use a channel knife, paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove a thin strip of zest from a well-washed lemon, orange or lime. Twist the zest over the cocktail glass to release its fragrant oils into the drink. (Tip: To make a long ribbon-twist, wrap your strip of zest around a chop stick / swizzle stick and hold for 30 seconds.)

Oxo Good Grips Channel Knife, $10, Amazon.
Oxo Good Grips Channel Knife, $10, Amazon.

Cocktail Glasses: What to have on hand

Lowball glass
Also called a rocks glass, it’s ideal for drinks served over ice.

Martini glass
The choice for stirred or shaken cocktails served without ice.

Tall glass
Also called a Collins glass, it’s perfect for drinks that are topped with soda or tonic.

Watch: Three easy ways to garnish your cocktails