I recently read a book written by H.i. Williams (the photographer) in 1943 called 3 Bottle Bar. I wrote a quick review of the book and how it changed my thinking on cocktails at home while entertaining guests.
The three bottles he recommends (aside from bitters (ango, orange), sugar, citrus, ginger ale, soda, and tonic etc.) are gin, whiskey, and a dry white wine. That is it. He uses the white wine in place of vermouth in both a martini and manhattan (with a touch of sugar). Then you have a bottle of wine open for dinner. He also makes a simple sharpener for before or after dinner that is white wine and bitters to whet your appetite. With just those ingredients you can make highballs, collinses, rickeys, sours, bucks, fizzes, juleps, toddys, cobblers, cordials, and coolers as well as a martini and a manhattan variation.
I really enjoyed the book and I would recommend it highly.
What are your thoughts on a three bottle bar like this? This is the simplest one I have ever heard of for cocktails and I think I will be giving it a go for the next month. I will only be making cocktails with a bottle of Tanqueray, Makers Mark, and a budget Bordeaux Blanc. I love the minimalism and the restriction of staying within those parameters.
Anyone want to join me? I am pretty sure all of us have those simple ingredients laying around.