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post #13051 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post


Might want to start with mixed drinks to get yourself up to drinking liquor, especially if you're at the price point of the bottle you pictured.

There's not really a linear tier for quality liquor. Brandy and cognac can just every bit as nice (and expensive) as single malts.

 

Living in a small town in western PA keeps out a lot of good liquor, so I reckoned I was being prudent with a VSOP and avoiding the price tags of the big brands.  I'd hate to shell out big bucks for a drink I truly hate.  Ah well, time to stock up on ginger ale.

 

Also, Gibonius, if you were to choose one representative each for the various liquors out there (please avoid entry-level starters - I want to sample "the good stuff), what would your examples be?  Others are free to comment as well.

post #13052 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchwererGustav View Post

  I'd hate to shell out big bucks for a drink I truly hate.  Ah well, time to stock up on ginger ale.

I don't think he meant that kind of cocktail. More along the lines of classic drinks made from any combination of liquors, liqueurs, bitters, and citrus. Think an old fashioned.

Some recommendations. These are serious spirits that meet "the good stuff" category, though not necessarily the absolute top end.

Bourbon: Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare. Between those two (and Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage), you're going to get the best values in Whiskey.
Smoky Scotch: Laphroig 10y (I actually prefer it over their older expressions). Some people love this stuff, some hate it, and there are few in between. If you like it, you'll love it. If you don't, you'll hate it.
Boring Scotch: GlenAnything. (Can you tell where I stand on the previous question?)
Don't know enough about brandy to comment. Seems like you're already doing alright on the Cognac front. Basically, any of the well known brands should be good.
Gin: Basically with Gin, since it's not aged, once you're above a certain base level in quality, it's all about the flavor profile, and everything is about equally good. I'm a fan of Brokers at the moment. Beefeater is a classic, as are both Bombays (regular and Sapphire). There are a lot of craft gins these days, both in traditional and unorthodox camps. Death's Door, out of Madison, is a very good one in the traditional camp. Bluecoat out of Philly is another traditional craft one that should be easy enough for you to find. Sidenote: Most people don't drink gin straight, it's usually used in cocktails, since the sharpness of the flavors seems to be best contrasted against other things. Then again, a lot of people drink "Martinis" that are nothing but chilled gin with an olive, so...
Vodka: High end vodka is a marketer's wet dream. It's really no different from the stuff at the $15 pricepoint. Stay away.
Tequila: I know nothing. Just make sure it's 100% agave, you should do alright. Silver or Reposado for mixing, Anjeos for sipping.
Rum: Barbancourt is a favorite. The older, the better, though the 8y is probably the minimum I would go for nice sipping. But there are lots of nice sipping rums out there for reasonable prices.
post #13053 of 14334

Thanks, cptjeff.  This list is what I was looking for.  Prices seem right too.  (I was half-joking about the ginger ale - a Sidecar is easy enough.)

 

Gentlemen, you may return to your drinks.

post #13054 of 14334
First sight of snow today, so I decided to bust out the scotch. A couple glasses of Johnny Walker Double Black tonight.
post #13055 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

I don't think he meant that kind of cocktail. More along the lines of classic drinks made from any combination of liquors, liqueurs, bitters, and citrus. Think an old fashioned.

Some recommendations. These are serious spirits that meet "the good stuff" category, though not necessarily the absolute top end.

Bourbon: Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare. Between those two (and Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage), you're going to get the best values in Whiskey.
Smoky Scotch: Laphroig 10y (I actually prefer it over their older expressions). Some people love this stuff, some hate it, and there are few in between. If you like it, you'll love it. If you don't, you'll hate it.
Boring Scotch: GlenAnything. (Can you tell where I stand on the previous question?)
Don't know enough about brandy to comment. Seems like you're already doing alright on the Cognac front. Basically, any of the well known brands should be good.
Gin: Basically with Gin, since it's not aged, once you're above a certain base level in quality, it's all about the flavor profile, and everything is about equally good. I'm a fan of Brokers at the moment. Beefeater is a classic, as are both Bombays (regular and Sapphire). There are a lot of craft gins these days, both in traditional and unorthodox camps. Death's Door, out of Madison, is a very good one in the traditional camp. Bluecoat out of Philly is another traditional craft one that should be easy enough for you to find. Sidenote: Most people don't drink gin straight, it's usually used in cocktails, since the sharpness of the flavors seems to be best contrasted against other things. Then again, a lot of people drink "Martinis" that are nothing but chilled gin with an olive, so...
Vodka: High end vodka is a marketer's wet dream. It's really no different from the stuff at the $15 pricepoint. Stay away.
Tequila: I know nothing. Just make sure it's 100% agave, you should do alright. Silver or Reposado for mixing, Anjeos for sipping.
Rum: Barbancourt is a favorite. The older, the better, though the 8y is probably the minimum I would go for nice sipping. But there are lots of nice sipping rums out there for reasonable prices.

i agree with a lot of this except the vodka part. tito's vodka is a pretty good value and actually is quite flavorful
post #13056 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by indesertum View Post

i agree with a lot of this except the vodka part. tito's vodka is a pretty good value and actually is quite flavorful

Agreed. That was a really quality post.
post #13057 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchwererGustav View Post

Living in a small town in western PA keeps out a lot of good liquor, so I reckoned I was being prudent with a VSOP and avoiding the price tags of the big brands.  I'd hate to shell out big bucks for a drink I truly hate.  Ah well, time to stock up on ginger ale.

Also, Gibonius, if you were to choose one representative each for the various liquors out there (please avoid entry-level starters - I want to sample "the good stuff), what would your examples be?  Others are free to comment as well.

The whole VS/VSOP/XO thing is only a very rough guide to quality. Don't get me wrong, I like Masson VSOP (I have a bottle on my shelf right now), but it's one of those "great for the money" things. It's not bad straight, but certainly there's a big step up to the next price tier. E&J XO is also great well liquor brandy, one of those "Wait, this is only $12" kind of things. It doesn't hold up to the higher pricepoint things, but it's quite far from rotgut (which is what you usually get at that level in most liquors). I keep both on my shelf.

Various decent mid-level brandy/cognacs that I've tried: Martell VSOP, Kelt VSOP (overpriced by a bit), Remy Martin 1738, Pierre Ferrand Ambre. You can also just go with any of the big houses, they're huge for a reason.


cptjeff's list is pretty good. Throw Buffalo Trace on there for bourbon. I wouldn't even bother with scotch under ~$40. There's a whole thread just for scotch, but a huge amount of it comes down to preference. Also a lot of the favorites are not exactly, uh, accessible for a newer whiskey drinker.

Couple decent tequila brands also (in rough order of price): Espolon, Millagro, Don Roberto, Avion.
post #13058 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post


cptjeff's list is pretty good. Throw Buffalo Trace on there for bourbon.

Did you notice what I listed first in the bourbon section? biggrin.gif
post #13059 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchwererGustav View Post
 

 

It's my second night with this.  I'm trying to break into classy drinks, and I'm struggling.  I like dry, red wines and sherry, and figured brandy and cognac to be the next step up (with single-malt scotches being my supposed peak).

 

It's funny, there are some days when a spirit neat is something I tremendously enjoy and other days when it just doesn't work with me. I second the suggestion of trying an Old-Fashioned style cocktail, or a Manhattan as a good segue. For the old-fashioned you need nothing more than a spirit (you can use bourbon, rye, scotch, or brandy -- even gin or tequila), a dash or two of bitters, about a 1/4-3/8 oz simple syrup (per 2oz  spirit) and a little bit of orange or lemon peel. The sugar really makes some of the spirits' nuances more accessible to palates, like all of ours, raised on too much sugar. A drop or two of simple in a standard Manhattan also eases it up quite a lot. I started drinking Manhattans with 1/4oz, and still do sometimes, depending on the vermouth.

 

You'll get more than enough spirits recommendations around here to last you forever. Don't think, either, that scotch is your apez -- scotch has a variety of styles, and something like Dalwhinnie is inexpensive and mild. Certain scotches, like those from Islay, are very peaty and less approachable. Some of the reason for their popularity is the idea that they are hard to drink, but that denigrates the other whiskies, all of which have their place.

 

I have suggestions, too, around the $40-50 mark (all should be findable in PA; I have friends in that spirits wasteland):

 

Bourbon: Black Maple Hill Limited. Pretty sweet and smooth.

Rye: Knob Creek

Scotch: Mild = Dalwhinnie (or Cragganmore). Smoky= Caol Ila. Moderate all-arounder=Highland Park

Cognac: You're screwed. Unless you want to special order something, PA has miserable coganc selections. I guess Courvoisier/Hennesy/Remy VSOP is OK. I like Frapin or Delamain better. I think you can order Pierre Ferrand Ambre for like $35 a bottle, which is great.

Vodka: I like vodka quite a lot, being mostly Ukrainian. I think Boyd & Blair (a PA vodka) is phenomenal, so go for that if you want to drink it neat. Otherwise, get Smirnoff's or Tito's.

Tequila: Likewise I know nothing.

Rum: Gosling's if you are going to mix it. Zacapa 23 at $40 is one of the best values in spirits to drink neat, and might be a great segue for you into the world of spirits (that is, so long as you like molassesy flavors)

Gin: Likewise, cpt put it well. Most of the big name gins are actually pretty great. I can't stand normal Bombay, but that's me.

 

~ H

post #13060 of 14334
I am a cunt, I think.
post #13061 of 14334
Some great posts in here over the last couple of days.
post #13062 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

Did you notice what I listed first in the bourbon section? biggrin.gif

Hah! ...I don't even know what I was thinking. I had another addition I wanted to add, but must have filled in Buffalo instead. happy.gif

You even had the Evan Williams Single Barrel, which is my usual default value recommendation.
post #13063 of 14334
Also, exciting news: Wisers is now available where I live, so I can test Piob's long standing recommendation.
post #13064 of 14334
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Also, exciting news: Wisers is now available where I live, so I can test Piob's long standing recommendation.

NP for your vermouth and a dash bitters and you're golden.
post #13065 of 14334

Avondale Brewery, Spring Street Saison.  Just moved to Birmingham, AL and finally a city with a decent craft beer scene.

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