Congratulations! You've graduated from wine coolers and keggers. Welcome to the sophisticated world of cocktail culture. Classic cocktails, those hard-liquor mixed drinks brandished by stars in Hollywood's heyday, are trendy again. But you don't have to be Cary Grant or Myrna Loy to enjoy a whiskey sour, an old-fashioned, or a martini. The return of the intimate but still casual dinner party also means the return of the predinner cocktail hour, and many hosts are learning to create spirited concoctions.
Stocking your home bar is easy. Mainstream retailers are filling shelves with the tools of the cocktail trade, from highball glasses to jiggers to the ubiquitous shot glass.
If you're not sure you can tell a muddler from a swizzle stick or a sidecar from a Rob Roy, don't worry. With basic supplies and a few quick tips you'll be pouring snifters of silky spirits for your friends in no time.