Having a selection of alcohol around the house for the sake of company, or even just your own personal consumption, is no small task. Suffice it to say that today there are more varieties of liquor then you could shake a stick at. This may seem daunting at first but remember: the quality of your bar, large or small, will only get better over time as you refine your palate and experiment.
When starting a bar of any size at home we must ask ourselves a few questions. Is this for sharing with company? Will I only be using this for mixing? Does my cat like gin or tequila? For me personally there are three bottles I would never want to bewithout: whiskey, vodka and rum. In my little world whiskey is for drinking neat, vodka is for making Cesars or martinis and rum is for all sorts of things.
For a bottle of scotch that is not going to break the bank, but is going to go down surprisingly smooth, I recommend Tamdhu.
As far as vodka goes I sometimes have trouble choosing based on anything except the price tag. However one that has been consistently smooth and affordable is Russian Standard Vodka.
Finally as far as rum goes at the moment I like mine dark and on the sweet side. So far my rum of choice it Kraken, and no it is not just because of the cool bottle.