What bartenders keep in the well has changed dramatically over the past 15-plus years or so, not only in terms of the brands and quality of the more traditional staple spirits, but in the range of products that make up what’s kept in the well. So, what does the modern “rail” look like today? We asked 25 bar professionals to reveal (and defend) their go-to well spirits. Here are their top picks.


From orange to ginger to maraschino, liqueurs are carving out spots in the well since they play a role in so many (now frequently called-for) classic cocktails. Evan Charest keeps a bottle of Clément Créole Shrubb, an orange liqueur, in his well, while Morgan Schick opts for Mandarine Napoléon, which he says pairs well with gin and rum—a rare feat. And Chad Michael George calls Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, a fixture of the well at The Way Back, “the new bartender’s ketchup.”