As a child growing up, I learned a lot about what I should and should not like to drink at a very young age. No, my parents were not filling my sippy cup with Scotch instead of juice, but my father was certainly educating me on the basic principles of a “must-have.” As you’re about to see, his list was pretty straight-forward:

“Bourbon, Scotch, Rum.”

“But dad, what about all the other liquors you can drink?”

“What other liquors?”

Needless to say, my father is a pretty easy-going drinker. His must-have spirit essentials are the ones he grew up with, and from him I learned I should have a few must-haves of my own as well. Having a collection of essential spirits at your disposal is more important than you think. Coming home from a long day at the office, I want nothing more than a dry, dirty gin martini. What happens if I don’t have my favorite brand of gin on hand? Devastation, that’s what.