Gin & tonics are great and all, but they take a very little amount of skills (and ingredients) to recreate. You may have gotten the essential bartending tools for your home bar, so now it’s time to up the ante by getting a few staple liqueurs to start making some serious cocktails.

For the average person, the world of liqueurs is an uncharted one. How is a liqueur different from the average liquor that we know and love such as gin, vodka, whisky, and tequila? The general consensus is this: liquor refers to unsweetened distilled alcoholic beverages, while liqueur refers to sweetened distilled alcoholic beverages. The sweetness comes from other ingredients such as fruits, herbs, flowers, and more. Liqueurs and liquors are used together in cocktails to complement each other and balance out the flavour profiles. Just like how you might sip on liquor neat or on the rocks, you can also have liqueurs on their own instead of in a cocktail.

While it may seem like there are way too many different types of liqueurs to explore, you really only need these few staple liqueurs to make some of the basic and classic cocktails such as a Dark and Stormy, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Negroni. Let us take your hand and guide you through six staple liqueurs to add to your bar cart at home.