Peated & unpeated single malt Scotch whiskies – Ideally you should have two single malt Scotch whiskies, peated and unseated. The reason is fairly straightforward—you’ll have a higher chance of making your guests happy. In the essential spirits page I’ve suggested the Aberlour 10 to start. If you wish to step up with your Scotch game, I suggest the Dalmore 12 as your home unpeated single malt, and one among Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg 10, and Caol Ila 12 as your peated supply. Laphroaig 10 is a good choice too, but it’s a either-you-love-it-or-hate-it kind of dram (I do love it).
Aged rum – Another nice upgrade. Keep a bottle of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva in your cabinet, lovely rum to sip.
Orange liqueurs – Cointreau is the most popular, and can be used both neat and in cocktails.
Lemon liqueur – Take Limoncello as the perfect example: lemon peel, sugar, and a neutral spirit for the perfect lemony flavoured after-dinner pleasure.
Crème de menthe – A peppermint-flavoured liqueur.
Coffee liqueur – for example Kahlúa from Mexico, and Caffè Borghetti from Italy.
Frangelico – An Italian liqueur with hazelnuts, berries and flowers.
Sambuca – Anise-flavoured liqueur, colourless or black (liquorice-flavoured).
Blue Curação – A distinctively blue liqueur, orange-flavoured, great for mixed drinks and cocktails.
Grappa – Italian pomace brandy from Italy. Can be white or aged in barriques.
Ouzo – Greek licorice-flavoured liqueur.
Southern Comfort – Bourbon-based peach-flavoured American liqueur.
Maraschino Liqueur – Sour cherry liqueur.
Sake – Japanese rice wine made by fermenting refined rice.
Absinthe – It’s an anise-flavoured spirit derived from several botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium, together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs.
Pimm’s No. 1 – Gin-based liqueur-like drink, notably served in summer with lemonade and various garnishes, particularly apples, citruses, berries, and mint.
Campari – Italy’s most famous bitter aperitivo, from Milan. Crucial ingredient for several cocktails such as Negroni, Americano, and Boulevardier.
Aperol – An Italian low-alcohol bitter with herbs, lighter and sweeter than Campari. It’s the crucial ingredient for the Aperol Spritz, one of the most trendy cocktails.
Vermouth – It’s an aromatised, fortified wine, flavoured with roots, flowers, seeds, herbs, and spices. Mix it with Campari and Gin for a Negroni, with whisky for a Manhattan, and other spirits/mixers. My favourite is the Carpano Antica Formula.
Amari and Digestifs
Amaro Lucano – It’s a herbal liqueur from Basilicata, a Southern Italian region.
Vecchio Amaro del Capo – An amaro from Calabria, the Southernmost region of continental Italy.
Amaro Averna – Sicilian amaro, sweet, thick, and with a gentle herbal bitterness.
Amaro Ramazzotti – Amaro from Milan, with at least 33 herbs, spices, and roots.
Amaro Montenegro – Italian digestif, made with 40 herbs, including vanilla and orange peels.
Cynar – Delicious artichoke-flavoured bitter.
Fernet Branca – Peppermint bitter with more than 40 herbs and spices.
Jägermeister – A complex bitter liqueur, typically consumed after dinner, with 56 herbs, roots and fruits.
Amaretto DiSaronno – Almond and apricot-flavoured amaro.
Sherry – Fortified wine made from white grapes grown near Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain.
Port – Produced in the Douro Valley (Northern Portugal), it’s a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine.
Marsala – From the Italian city of Marsala, in Sicily, this fortified wine can be dry or sweet.