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Putting together my bar...(long)

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I'm in the process of putting together a bar in my house, planning to have four beers on tap and a well-stocked assortment of wines and spirits. However, my tastes run to Vodkas and Scotches, and almost exclusively red wine. I could use some assistance in choices for other spirits/wines. Here's what I have in mind... Beer: Pilsner Urquell (Pilsner) Newcastle (Dark Ale) Paulaner (Hefeweizen) What would be a good choice for a fourth beer? Spirits: Vodka: (this is pretty much all set) "Well" Skyy, Finlandia, Grey Goose, Ketel One, Rain, Danzka, Stoli, Ketel One Citroen "Top Shelf" Hangar One (all flavors), Youri Dogoulski, Charodei, Red Army, Three Olives Whisky: "Well" Jack Daniels, Macallan, Glenlivet, Jim Beam, Bushmills, Johnny Black, Abelour, Southern Comfort "Top Shelf" Highland Park, Dalwhinnie, Johnny Blue, Johnny Gold, Compass Box Hedonism Rum: "Well" Bacardi Silver, Malibu, Parrot Bay, Captain: "Top Shelf" I could use some help here. Amaretto: "Well" Dekupyers "Top Shelf" Disaranno Gin: "Well" Beefeaters, Tanqueray "Top Shelf" Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray 10 Tequila: "Well" Jose Cuervo Gold, Sauza Silver "Top Shelf" Sauza Tres Generationes, Patron Gold, Don Julio, 1800 reposado What else should I stock for spirits?
post #2 of 48
A few suggestions: Beer: By Newcastle do you mean Newcastle Brown? If so, I would get rid of it - gassy chemical concoction that it is, and go for 'real' beer such as Theakston's Old Peculier (which I beleive is available in the US). Guinness would be a good choice for the fourth beer. For something different, Belgian Leffe is excellent, if you can get it. In terms of whisky, single malts are definitely an individual taste, but I like Laphroaig and Glenmorangie. Bushmills Blackbush is the best single malt whiskey. Blended whisky is for cooking or guests. Rum: Pusser's Rum, as drunk by the Royal Navy Rum Do consider adding Plymouth Gin to the top shelf. Traditionally distilled, it has a distinctive flavour, 41.2% proof and is excellent for cocktails. Gin You should have some cognac; not something I drink, but single estate cognac is the one to go for. Port should definately feature. Taylor's is excellent and there are several varieties. A glass of their Ten Year Old after a meal is a pleasure indeed. A few bottles of champagne, possibly.
post #3 of 48
A few suggestions: Kirsch Cointreau Vermouth (sweet, dry) Drambuie (Sp?) Sherry Dessert wines, such as a sauternes Sparkling wines (including some cheap Cava)
post #4 of 48
I'm not an expert on beer, but for the fourth selection, may I suggest a local microbrew? Or perhaps even a rotating selection of microbrews....either from the same brewery, or perhaps the same style of beer from 3-4 local breweries. Whisky, why not add a "top shelf" bourbon, perhaps Knob Creek, Baker's, Booker's, etc. I recently had Old Rip Van Winkle 15 year old, one of the smoothest I've ever had, with a deep, long finish. Park Ave. Liqours in Manhattan has a great selection of whisky, but it sounds like you might know them if you're already getting Compass Box. I'll weigh in on the wines later...
post #5 of 48
A couple of suggestions: For rum, I would get some Gosling's or another good dark rum. It's not really top shelf or well, but good for making cocktails. If you have access to them "” and if you're stocking Compass Box, you probably have discerning tastse in spirits "” try getting some Anchor Old Potrero rye whiskey. Very good spirit, very good conversation piece. On the beer front, I would recommend ditching the Newcastle "” while it's not bad, there's much better available. If you're looking for a more interesting brown ale based on where you live, try Smuttynose, Dogfish Head (Indian Brown is superb), or even Brooklyn Brewery. For your fourth beer, I would recommend either a local ale, a seasonal, or a stout. For example, you could stock Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout for the winter.
post #6 of 48
Why you all gotta be hatin on Newc Brown? Drizzt, when you say on tap, I assume you mean you'll actually have kegs, and some of the suggestions here, while outstanding beers, will be difficult to keep in stock and fresh unless you're doing business. Maybe you have a better supplier than I've been able to find. If you mean having bottles in a nice bar fridge, make the fourth beer seasonal and look to the other suggestions people have made, not a bad beer among them. I might suggest a light beer, actually, depending on who you're planning on entertaining. I know macrobrew lights are looked down upon, but what do you offer the people who don't like dark, strong beers (Urquell is light in color, but strong)? For Rum, I second Gosling's and Navy Rum, might add Myer's or Appleton - though none of these is truly top-shelf in the sense you're talking. I actually like a dry white rum once in awhile, Mount Gay makes a good basic one. Some overproof is also a good thing, like bacardi 151. I think rum is somewhat underrated because its sweetness is considered unsophisticated. Of course, you'll need vermouth etc., some Cointreau, Drambuie, etc. Some schnapps for when you host sorority parties. Also, if your original post was stream of consciusness, you are officially a more organized thinker than most of us.
post #7 of 48
I'll weigh in on the beer selection as well. Looks like you are in southern California. My suggestions would be to go local. I am not sure if the east coast breweries make their may out their, but if not, you have some of the best beer in your own state. Here's one option: Instead of buying six-packs, get 22 oz bombers. They're usually around 4-5 (Boston prices). Try different beers from breweries like Stone (unbelievable), Pizza Port, Anchor, Bear Republic, Anderson Valley, Lagunitas, Mendocino, Sierra Nevada. Most or all of these breweries I am sure have a couple offerings in 22s. These are a great way to try different beers without going for a full six-pack. Also, you should try some barleywines. Sierra makes a great one called Big Foot, Anchor has Old Foghorn, Stone - Double Bastard, and so on. High alcohol content, hoppy, fruity, malty all rolled into one. They also cellar very well just like wine. If I was going to stock my bar with 4-5 beers only, excluding draughts, and I lived in CA, I would go with this lineup. Dark = Brooklyn Brown, Bert Grant's Perfect Porter, or Anchor - Anchor Steam Beer Hoppy = Stone - Stone IPA Light = Franziskaner or Weihenstephaner Hefe, you can't go wrong with Paulaner though (good choice.). 4th would be seasonal and exclusive to CA or Pacfic Northwest. For this time of year I like, Anderson Valley = Winter Solstice, Sierra Nevada = Celebration, Anchor Christmas Ale. Rogue Morimoto Soba (made for Masaharu Morimoto's restaurnat.
post #8 of 48
You should consider subscribing to the Wine Spectator.... Here are some of my favs/regular wines: Pinot Noir: Saintsbury Siduri Flowers Merlot: Pride Paloma Chateau St. Michelle Shafer Duckhorn Chardonnay: Chateau St. Michelle Chateau Montelena Pride Ramey
post #9 of 48
Ok, here's some comments (mind that I haven't read the replys). ~ Didn't see any Canadian whisky there. Add Canadian Club (so many people drink it that its de riguer). Maybe Crown Royal or Crown Royal Reserve for your better Canadian. ~ Brandy and Cognac. Hennesy and Remy Martin VSOP, perhaps. I wouldn't reccomend falling for any of those cut crystal, velvet-wrapped affairs for the good stuff. Go for Pierre Ferrand -- there's a selection from $70 and up for the good stuff. ~ Vermouth. What if someone wants a martini? ~ Definitely Drambuie. With that much scotch you need Drambuie. Have you had a Rusty Nail? I make em with JW Black... ~ Cordials. I didn't see any. Cointreau, Galliano (Harvey Wallbanger, anyone? ;-) ), Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Sambvuca. ~ I know you said scotch was pretty much set, but I didn't see an Islay. A token peaty one might be considered. Lagavulin 16. ~ Fortified wine. Port and Sherry. ~ Brief, brief, wine comments. Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Riesling, Chianti, Barolo, Champagne(.). I stock all this stuff myself. Have fun shopping... Regards, Huntsman
post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. I did forget to mention my champagne collection, which is rather extensive, I currently have: 88 Dom Rose 96 Dom Perignon 85 Bollinger RD 93 Cristal 88 Cristal Rose 95 Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame 94 Krug and about 15-20 other bottles of lesser vintage including a bunch more Krug (it's my favorite brand) Cognac: This is a good suggestion, I just have a bottle of Hennessey VSOP and Remy XO, I will stock a bit more of this. I should definitely pick up some ports/sherries, as well. For Beer, I'm putting in taps (kegs), so I don't want to get something too esoteric, as often this will be for guests, I like Newcastle quite alot, it may be my favorite beer, thus it's addition. Shoreman, you bring up a good point about the lighter beer, but I figured hefeweizen is fairly easy to drink. I may just add a local micro like Steelhead, Newport Brewing Company, or Karl Strauss (easy to get in kegs) Rums: I will probably add Gosling and Myers, and probably pick up one of the single estate rums as well as the 151. Sake: I need to get a few bottles of this, any suggestions? Whisky: I will add a couple Canadian whiskys, and some Drambuie, Lagavulin is a good idea. I will add some cordials, I have a bunch of the flavored ones already (but didn't mention them all) and some of the DeKupyers stuff for flavored martinis as well. I will look into the wine choices that people have recommended. Any recommendations of specific vintages or should I just pick up all current wines?
post #11 of 48
Drizzt3117, I have a question for you. How long are you going to keep the 3 bottles of champagne from the 80s before drinking? I was under the impression that champagne shouldn't be cellared for more than 15 years? Or, am I way off base here?
post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 
Yeah, my fourth beer will likely be a blonde or something fairly pedestrian from one of the microbrews, I think I'll be OK with that, alternatively, I may try to get an Ottakringer beer from Vienna, I love that stuff (not sure how easy it would be to get kegs though) or a Spaten. Pete, You can store champagne for about 20-25 years if it is stored correctly (cool temperature (53-59 degrees), dark, humid)
post #13 of 48
How about a keg of The Beast for reliving days gone by . . .
post #14 of 48
drrzt, I actually was hoping to see an answer to the question somebody asked about freshness of the beer - won't it be difficult to manage 4 kegs of beer in the house? my understanding was that beer on tap was difficult to maintain, no?
post #15 of 48
drrzt, I actually was hoping to see an answer to the question somebody asked about freshness of the beer - won't it be difficult to manage 4 kegs of beer in the house? my understanding was that beer on tap was difficult to maintain, no?
This is the why brewers produce these ghastly keg beers, because they keep longer than real ale. The difference is that real ales are 'live' whilst keg beers are most definitely dead. The brewery which churns out the dreadful Newcastle Brown is to close soon, so it won't even be brewed in Newcastle any more. Still, as it's mostly chemicals and gas no-one will notice. Even keg beer will give up the ghost eventually, and the pipes and so forth need regular cleaning and maintenance - bottled real beer is the way to go. Some interesting information on UK beers may be found here: CAMRA
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