Spirits should be the staple of every home bar, and not just to serve as a strong foundation of a fruity cocktail the girls will love but to serve as a staple in a man’s drinking repertoire as well. And they should be drunk neat, or on the rocks, otherwise, you are ruining a perfectly good, gentlemanly drink.

Unfortunately, in a world where bubbly, explosive, and shiny cocktails are making all the noise at parties and every other social event, not enough credit is given to the plain, good old spirit. Here is how you can build up your liquor palate, rise from the crowd, become a true gentleman, and sip your drink the way it was meant to be sipped – with pride, and over a meaningful conversation.

Tequila

This spirit, along with vodka, which we’ll get to in a minute, is a party drink. Although not exactly the clearest of spirits such as gin, light rum, or vodka, it can be infused into many a cocktail, creating a wonderfully opulent base for any mixed drink.

There are five distinct types of tequila, each with its own unique aroma, flavour, and colour. First, you have the traditional silver or white tequila, excellent for infusing with cocktails. Next, you have tequila gold, also good for mixing, although it’s typically of lesser quality.

Finally, you have three types of aged tequila, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo, each having a darker hue than the last, with its unique, opulent taste. These should never be mixed with other flavours.

Bourbon bourbon

If there is anything American distilleries are known for, it’s their famous American Bourbon, the semi-sweet, brooding drink portrayed by its signature brown amber hue. Aged at least three years in charred oak barrels where it gets it signature taste and colour, and made out of at least 51% corn, this drink should not contain any added flavours or colours except when infused in cocktails.

This timeless liquor can be drunk in three ways, neat, on the rocks, and with a drop of water. The is no wrong or right way, although purists prefer to drink it neat at room temperature, while some like to “open up” its unique aroma with a drop of water. Others like to add a couple ice cubes, although that can be construed as the “wrong” way to drink bourbon.

Rum

When stocking your home bar, there are two types of rum you need to have – light and dark. This drink can serve many a purpose; from creating cocktail foundations with light rum, to sipping its darkest counterpart and losing yourself in its sweet, opulent aroma.

Light rum is mostly a bitter, neutral spirit, thus great for any type of cocktail; however, you never want to mix dark, aged rum with other flavours, as it is already infused with molasses, burnt sugar and caramel that give it its unique taste.

Vodka vodka

Vodka is one of the most popular, and most diverse spirits in the world. It can be a party animal, and it can be the classiest drink at any event, it depends how you serve it, how you drink it, and which brand you choose.

Vodka is traditionally made from potatoes, it can be found all over the world, and it’s a spirit no home bar should be without. When discovering your vodka palate, be sure to take lessons from the Australians who have a well-developed spirit culture, as their many bottle shops in Sydney CBD and all around the country, including bars and homes, show. Be sure to find two kinds you particularly enjoy: one for mixing with other flavours, and the other for sipping neat.

Scotch

You might have always wondered what Scotch is exactly – it’s whisky, but made in Scotland. A true gentleman’s drink, it is produced from malted barley and aged at least three years in oak barrels. As a novice, you might feel intimidated by the different flavours and types of Scotch, but once you try them all, you will be able to develop your palate easily.

The five distinctive types of Scotch are single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky and blended grain Scotch whisky, and a great way to discover your preferred flavour is to take a sip, swirl around, spit, and repeat.

Having a home bar is not about stocking it with all of the liquor in the world; it’s about handpicking the best and most opulent tastes from each type in order to create a truly unique group of spirits that will make your home bar the talk of the town. Follow these simple tips, and you will have created a home bar worthy of admiration in no time.