A Barkeep’s Basics


Ryan Casey editedRyan Casey is the mastermind behind the highly sought after drinks coming across the bar of Charleston’s fine dining mecca, McCrady’s Restaurant. Named Charleston’s Bartender of the Year by Eater.com and among the top 25 in The Daily Meal’s Bartenders in America, Casey makes everything from the classics to his own original concoctions. Here, he shares the essentials you’ll need to have on hand for a proper bar set-up, and some basic recipes to make classic cocktails.

When it comes to setting up your home bar, stick to the classics. These cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason, and almost all new drinks are based on classics like Old-Fashioneds, Negronis and Manhattans. Most modern drinks and “mixology” involves making syrups and extracts that involve added time, space and energy.

The Essentials

For a basic bar set-up, you’ll need the following utensils, all of which are available at cocktailkingdom.com:

1 cobbler shaker

1 mixing glass for stirring

1 bar spoon for stirring

1 Hawthorne or Julep strainer

1 jigger (Measuring is one of the most important steps of making a proper drink)

1 btl Angostura bitters (the standard of the world)

1 muddler

A cocktail book for reference (The Savoy Cocktail Book is the original published in 1930. The PDT Cocktail Book is the best book published since the 30’s.)

The Liquid

1 btl Bourbon or Rye whiskey

1 btl London dry gin

1 btl Sweet Vermouth (recommend Carpano Antica)

1 btl Dry Vermouth (recommend Dolin Dry)

1 btl Campari

The Drinks

French 75

1.25oz Gin

.75oz lemon juice

.5oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, bring to boil, cool, store for up to 1 month)


Combine, shake, rest, strain into coupe. Top with champagne and garnish with lemon twist.


2.5oz Gin

.75oz Dry vermouth

Combine, stir, rest, strain into chilled coupe. Garnish with olives or a lemon twist.

(Note: A martini is a specific drink, as opposed to a type of drink.)


1.5oz bourbon/rye

1.5oz sweet vermouth

1 dash angostura bitters

Combine, stir, rest, strain into coupe. Most people use a maraschino cherry to garnish, however the original recipe calls for a lemon twist, which, in my opinion, is better.


3oz Bourbon

1 sugar cube

2 dash bitters

In a double old-fashioned glass, combine sugar cube with bitters. Muddle until the sugar is very fine and combined with bitters. Add the bourbon and fill with ice. Garnish with orange peel and maraschino cherry.


1oz Gin

1oz Campari

1oz Sweet vermouth

Combine in mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange twist.

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