How to build a bar, from expert Atlanta bartender Adam Fox

The cofounder of the Dogwood Table supper club shares his list of essentials
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Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Tequila
Excellia Reposado ($34) is aged in Sauterne and cognac barrels for nine months and later blended for a balanced and complex finish. Perfect for Palomas.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Gin
Even if gin isn’t your thing, you’ll warm up to G’Vine Floraison ($37), a clean, floral variety from France. Try it in a White Negroni.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Vermouth
For a sweet Manhattan or martini, try the rich Punt e Mes ($24). For dry versions, use the light Dolin Dry ($18). Both can also hold their own solo over ice.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Rum
You’ll need white rum for tropical drinks like Mojitos and daiquiris. Try aged rum for a twist on an old-fashioned. Aged for 12 years, Diplomático’s Reserva Exclusiva ($46) gives off light, fruity notes of banana and coconut.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Whiskey
The base for an old-fashioned and Southern favorites like the mint julep and Sazerac. Try Buffalo Trace bourbon ($27) for a sweet touch or Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whiskey ($30) for spice.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Other liqueurs
To add more dimension. Green Chartreuse ($76) is herbaceous in the Last Word. Suze (rhymes with “booze,” $30) adds a quirky bitterness to a Suze and Tonic. Varnelli Amaro ($57) gives a mild honey sweetness in a Little Italy.

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Bitters
The salt and pepper of cocktails. A dash of Angostura (for a hint of baking spice) or Regans’ (for citrus and heat) will perk up a Manhattan or old-fashioned; Peychaud’s adds a black cherry vibe to a Sazerac. (All available from $11 to $16.)

Online exclusive: Three classic cocktail recipes from Fox

Old-fashioned
2 ounces aged spirits (whiskey, rum, or even brandy)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1 bar spoon simple syrup

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 15 to 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with a large twist of both lemon and orange (or lime if using rum).

Daiquiri
2 ounces Diplomático Blanco
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime
3/4 ounce simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

White Negroni
1 ounce G’Vine Floraison
1 ounce Suze
1 ounce Cocchi Americano vermouth

Combine ingredients over ice. Stir and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

All bottles available at H&F Bottle Shop. 

This article originally appeared in our April 2015 issue.