Brun, the author of Libations of Life: A Girl's Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, suggests starting your collection with basic whites: vodka, gin, rum and tequila. "There will always be one person at the party who asks for rye, but that person can bring their own!" Consider it your fifth basic, if you have space.
MIXES AND GARNISHES
"You can never have too many hot men or too much ice at a party, in my opinion," says Brun. Besides plenty of ice, other mixing musts include: fresh lemons and limes, club soda, tonic water, white grape or white cranberry juice and another tropical blend of fruit juices.
"With glasses, the most important thing is to have enough," says Brun. "The glass doesn't make the drink, your ingredients do." Think outside the bottle and use an eclectic mix of vessels. Whether highball, rocks glasses, margarita glasses or mason jars, it doesn't matter if they match—as long as they're not plastic. "It's the quickest way to ruin a good cocktail," says Brun.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Stock your bar with Brun's must-have tools: metal shaker, shot glass and muddler.
MASTER A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL
In movies, the suave host always knows how to make a stellar martini. But the truth is, most people won't come over and ask for that. Perfect one recipe and wow guests with a signature cocktail, like Brun's raspberry cucumber mojito.
COCKTAIL DEEVA'S RASPBERRY CUCUMBER MOJITO
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. simple syrup made with raw sugar
1 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cucumber, minced
2 mint sprigs (1 for garnish)
4 oz. club soda
Muddle cucumber, mint and raspberries with a fresh squeeze of lime. Add to shaker with vodka and simple syrup and shake well. Strain into a large glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint and a fresh raspberry.
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