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It doesn’t matter how impressive the food is that you serve at home if your cocktail game isn’t up to par. What dinner party would be complete without drinks?

But first things first: You’ll need some basics in order to even assemble a proper cocktail. Fortunately, these five items are inexpensive and easy to find. As long as you’ve got them on hand, after-hours alcohol delivery will be a breeze.

Keeping these essentials stocked means you can mix up something delicious without much fuss or muss. Once you master these five basics, you can start branching out and putting your bartending skills to use.

1) Sugar

As a rule, there’s no such thing as too much sugar. Bartenders use it in everything—to balance out sour or acidic ingredients, to round out the rough edges of spirits with a little sweetness, and to add extra depth to drinks with bitters.

So next time whether you’re mixing up perfectly tart Margaritas or mixed drinks that call for a sweet component like Irish cream, reach for a bottle of simple syrup instead of granulated sugar.

2) Bitters

Bitters are proof of our versatility and adaptability. Once considered too expensive for common consumption, in the 19th century, bartenders began adding these bitters to their drinks, and they’ve been going strong ever since. In fact, today there are countless varieties of bitters with special flavors added to them— oranges, cherries, mint, vanilla beans, etc.

3) Ice

There’s one thing that’s always available: ice. Get an ice bucket or cooler, fill it up with plenty of ice, and keep it close by. Like sugar, this is a key ingredient in nearly every cocktail recipe. Many cocktails require large cubes of ice; others call for crushed ice. Either way, it’s best to err on the side of having too much than not enough.

4) Glassware

Glassware is another basic that you should always have in hand. There are a few different types and styles of glasses—from highball cocktails in tall glasses to short shots in shot glasses—so be sure to stock up so you’re prepared for whatever drink you want to serve your guests. If you don’t yet own any glassware, add some durable, dishwasher-safe sets to your shopping list today!

5) Spirits

It doesn’t matter how many juices and mixers we keep at home if we don’t have any good booze! Whether you prefer vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, or rum—or are just starting out with brands like Absolut, Jack Daniel’s, or Bacardi—choose a few that will be the backbone of your home bar.

These are just five of the essentials that everyone should have on hand. Of course, there are dozens of other spirits to consider keeping around depending on the kind of drinks you want to make. Once you’ve got these basics covered though, it’s time to start experimenting! You might even find yourself with some free time since assembling cocktails is now so easy!

Cheers! Now your friends can drink happily knowing they’ll be well taken care of at your place if they do drop by unexpectedly.

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