Help me stock my new bar

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Rambo, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    Hit me with a few from each bracket - Dirt Poor, Poor, Baller, and Ballin Ass Baller.
     


  2. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    Blanco, Reposado, or Anjejo? I assume Blanco given the price, but I want to make sure.

    After the recent price drop, everything is affordable. I love the anejo ($24.20 according to specsonline.com), but know people who prefer the reposado ($19.67). I've never actually tried their plata ($19.67) , but the general consensus is positive. Most, if not all of the reviews I've seen were made when it was still a $50 bottle, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is a top pick for budget silvers.
     


  3. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    This is a very personalized collection. I'm guessing that you drink most liquor straight rather than in cocktails. Are you looking for additions that will appeal to you or to guests? If it's the latter, I recommend the following: Sweet and dry vermouth (for martinis and manhattans) Cointreau/Combier (pretty much a staple in most sours) Silver rum (for dacquiris) Silver tequila (for margaritas) Maraschino liqueur (the creme de violette is looking lonely) A nice blended scotch (for lesser friends) Brandy/cognac (can't live w/o sidecars) Campari (acquired taste that I love) Regan's orange bitters (adds a nice punch to martinis)
    These are great, AC. And since you love Campari, have you ever made a Lucien Gaudin? I use Lillet Blanc in place of dry vermouth, but either will do.
    I'm actually hoping to be doing quite a number of cocktails. Note the Creme de Violette (Hi Huntsman!) so I can make Avations. I've also got to get Chartreuse and Maraschino Liquor so I can make a The Last Word. I was already planning on the Cointreau, JW Black, and Campari. Could definitely use recommendations on the rest of your list. I also need a few good tequilas (blanco, reposado, and anjejo) and any other things you (or anyone else) thinks I might have missed.
    Just stopped by the liquor store and bought Maraschino liquor and Chartreuse. Shit that Chartreuse is expensive. Huntsman that Last Word better be a kick ass drink!
    Good for you!! And yes, I agree that Chartreuse is rather expensive -- I use the green in so few drinks, too (I really should try to grow the list of cocktails I use it in -- just the LW, Songbird, and the Smoke'n'Chartreuse). The Maraschino, however, is far more versatile (and with some Lillet Blanc and that Hendrick's you can make my signature cocktail). I think the Last Word is one of the best cocktails that exist, though I'm not sure I felt that way the first time around. It's really complex -- and complex things are rarely love at first sip. The additions you plan are, I think, right on. Black is, to me, the best blended whisky, Cointreau is a critical part of any bar, and I couldn't live without Campari for my Negronis. My major suggestions would be to get a brandy/cognac, get both vermouths (and a bottle of Lillet Blanc) -- buy the vermouths in tiny $6 bottles unless you plan to drink a lot immediatly. My theory for total bar domination is to (generally) have three of each primary spirit (well, good mixer/premium, super-premium/sipping), add some mixers, a cordial or two, and go from there.That is a more complete bar than most bars, and tuly, for most spirits, two will do, and you only take a deeper dive into those spirits you enjoy the most. So I'll give at least three per category.
    • Gin: I rarely take gin neat, so I'd have a well and mixer/premiums of two styles. Beefeater's is my well, Martin Miller / Plymouth as the London Dry, Hendrick's as your floral gin. Opt: Bombay Sapphire for G&T (Could also do Hayman's Old Tom for weird classic cocktails / neat sipping)
    • Bourbon: My well is Woodford because it is both a wheat and rye bourbon, you have the Kirkland which is cool, my "good" is the Black Maple Hill limited (though your Eagle Rare, Blanton's or Rowan's Creek are all good options) and as a sipper, Pappy Van Winkle 20, Eagle Rare 17, or George T Stagg.
    • Rye: Honestly, unless you love it, two ryes will do. Sazerac 6 is my go-to mixer rye -- it replaces Wild Turkey rye which is really quite decent also. Sazerac 18 or Michter's are great sippers.
    • Scotch: Scotch is hard for me because that is my spirit of choice. For blended -- if I wanted to span the spectrum with a peated and an unpeated blended scotch I would have Cutty Sark and Johnnie Black. For Single Malts: Unpeated Highland would be Dalwhinnie (might also stretch it into Speyside and say Cragganmore), sherried Speyside would be Macallan 12 (or Balvenie Doublewood), and if I was easing into peat I'd say Highland Park 12, or if heavy into peat Lagavulin/Caol Ila.
    • Irish: For St. Paddy's at least. Jamie's 12 is cheap and excellent.
    • Tequila: This is the spirit I pretty much know nothing about -- the last spirit frontier for me. I use Tres Generacions as my mixing blanco. I defer to others. Pio, I know, reps Milagro a lot.
    • Rum: Ah, you have Zaya. I don't have a lot of rum, really. Light and dark is enough for most purposes. For white, 10 Cane is fine, as is Cruzan or Appleton. Really not nuts about the light rums. Rhum Agricole could be used in place of any of them as well. I have a mixing grade dark rum -- usually Gosling's (your Meyer's serves well here) -- and a sipper, of which Zaya, Zacapa, Eldorado 15, or the better Appleton's could serve.
    • Brandy/Cognac: People will laugh, but I use Christian Brothers as a mixer most of the time and find it to be just fine. Any VSOP (I usually like Courvoisier) or Pierre Ferrand Ambre is a great step up for sipping or mixing special cocktails. From there....sky's the limit. Ferrand's 1er Cru is a great Cognac, as is Tessaron Lot 53, or you could look to Armagnac, which I actually prefer to Cognac, I think
    • Vodka: I have opinions about vodka that differ from mainstream cocktail culture, but I would be fine with three: Smirnoff Red for mixing (really, most anything will do), Chopin (potato) and Belvidere (rye) for neat.
    • Mixers: Cointreau and Maraschino are essential, as are the Vermouths -- I use Vya for my standard sweet and dry vermouth (If unavail, M&R for sweet, Noilly-Pratt for dry). I, personally, also could not do without Lillet Blanc for the Corpse Reviver #2 alone (but others I can't remember, too). 2nd tier mixers are the two Chartreuses (green far more important than yellow), creme de cacao, Drambuie, Benedictine.
    • Other Weird stuff: Calvados is nice to have -- Busnell Hors d'age is great. Any Grappa from Jacopo Poli. Grand Marnier for sweet-orangie-after-dinner sipping (not so much for cocktails). An Italian bitter amaro -- Averna is common, my favorite is Nonino (basically, a spirit that tastes for all the world like dirt). Some absinthe or anisett -- Kubler bleu absinthe or Pernod would be fine.
    Wow, I feel this could be far better written, but it's been a long day. Basic idea: Get two of every spirit, then more of the spirit you like best. Have Cointreau, maraschino, the two vermouths (and Lillet Blanc!), Campari, and something else (Drambuie, Benedictine, Chartruese) at hand as mixers. Have something for after-dinenr (like Grand Marnier). Have two bitters -- one Angostura and one orange. Have fresh juices and quality tonic water (fever tree or q-tonic). Those alone put you ahead of 95%+ of the bars in the world. By the way, I've never heard of your creme de violette and am very curious about it. ~ H
     


  4. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    You are a god amongst men Hunts! That's an awesome list. Q's:

    What would I mix the Brandy in? I've never been much of a brandy guy (admittedly though I've never tried the REALLY good stuff) so if its nothing but a really obscure drink I think I can save some cash on this one.

    For the maraschino I picked up something other than Luxardo. Can't remember the name off the top of my head. Should I go with Luxardo instead? A number of online reviews say it really is the best of the bunch.

    I can't get Fever Tree or Q-Tonic waters. Any other recommendations on tonics?

    Same with bitters - I got Angostura and Peychauds. Do I need anything else?

    Lastly, I could really use a good bartending bible/mixed drink recipe book. Recommendations?


    P.S. - I have no idea about what CdV tastes like, since I've never had it before, so I'm not sure how good a reference I can give you. If there is something specific you want to know about it, let me know and I'll try and figure it out.
     


  5. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Having a Ball

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    FWIW Rambo, Fever Tree is worth the extra cost of shipping.
     


  6. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    Just the regular tonic water? They have several varieties. How about their other drinks? Any good?

    Amazon only sells a 24 pack so I'll have to see about getting some from Whole Foods. They're listed as a distributor on Fever Tree's website.
     


  7. sinnedk

    sinnedk Senior member

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  8. Warren G.

    Warren G. Senior member

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  9. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Hibiki 12 year

    rather off-beat choice for what is a less exciting tasting blended whisky - it's just Yamazaki and Hakushu with a bit of foreign stock. Johnny Walker black, if you need to fill in your bar with a blend.
     


  10. Mr. White

    Mr. White Senior member

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    Can't add much to the above but to insist on Grand Marnier as irreplaceable. Maybe Kahlua if you entertain younger guests.

    Port and Sherry are taken as if liquors -- but I'm guessing you have the wine rack well stocked.
     


  11. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I'd take the Illy liqueur over Kahlua.

    Rambo, I think you need an orange bitters. Grapefruit if you're into that kinda thing; if so you could pick up the whole Fee Brothers pack on amazon for like 30 bucks and be done with that.

    +1 to the Campari, and I'd pick up a cheap Cachaca for summer if you're ever to find yourself making caiprinhas or mojitos; cachaca is pretty cheap and therefore good for entertaining...
     


  12. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    You are a god amongst men Hunts! That's an awesome list. Q's: What would I mix the Brandy in? I've never been much of a brandy guy (admittedly though I've never tried the REALLY good stuff) so if its nothing but a really obscure drink I think I can save some cash on this one. For the maraschino I picked up something other than Luxardo. Can't remember the name off the top of my head. Should I go with Luxardo instead? A number of online reviews say it really is the best of the bunch. I can't get Fever Tree or Q-Tonic waters. Any other recommendations on tonics? Same with bitters - I got Angostura and Peychauds. Do I need anything else? Lastly, I could really use a good bartending bible/mixed drink recipe book. Recommendations? P.S. - I have no idea about what CdV tastes like, since I've never had it before, so I'm not sure how good a reference I can give you. If there is something specific you want to know about it, let me know and I'll try and figure it out.
    Mixing of Brandy: My favorite brandy drink is the Alabazam: 2 oz Brandy 1/2 oz. Cointreau 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Simple syrup Lots of Bitters (six dashes here) It's all orange-and-spicey wonderfulness. Other drinks that feature brandy are the classic, classic, classic Sidecar (the cocktail that introduced me to cocktails), the Vieux Carre, some versions of the Sazerac. Really all I can think of right off. Christian Brothers is like $20 for a big bottle. Maraschino: I really only know of three -- Luxardo, Stock, and Maraska (commonly available in that order). I've never had the Stock, but the Maraska and Lux get the best reviews generally. Tonic: I adore Fever Tree (much more than Q-tonic, even). The only other suggestion I would have would be try to find some 'natural' tonic at some kind of health food store (long shot, I suppose). Schwepps/Seagrams/Everyone else puts literally more sugar in their tonic than in Coke. It's ridiculous! They'll be fine in a G&T, so don't be dissuaded, just pick the one with the least sugar. Might be worth trying to get Fever Tree if you find you really like G&Ts though (this feature of my suggestions, is, I hope out there -- concentrate on stuff you like, as your tastes change you'll suddenly find yourself having....everything). Bitters: I like to have an orange bitters, too, as several have mentioned. Nice in gin drinks. I'm not a bitters nut yet, and get by with those three. Books: From an old post:
    My first book was DeGroff's "Craft of the Cocktail," but I think his followup "The Essential Cocktail" is better. Again, he has hangups and modifies things in accordance. Haigh's "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails" IS a favorite of mine, but he uses really obscure ingredients. Other websites I often use are ohgo and cocktailnerd. When I want to make a cocktail (if I know of it), I usually Google and compare recipes. ~ H
     


  13. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    What would I mix the Brandy in? I've never been much of a brandy guy (admittedly though I've never tried the REALLY good stuff) so if its nothing but a really obscure drink I think I can save some cash on this one.



    The sidecar is a great, great drink. It's worth stocking brandy just for that one. I've also liked the Harvard (yes, it was invented there). Recipe I have:

    Harvard:
    1.5 measures Brandy
    .5 measure red vermouth
    .25 measure lemon juice
    .25 measure grenadine
    2 dashes Angostura bitters


    The stinger, which is 2:1 Brandy to creme de menthe, is also good for a minty break from normalcy.
     


  14. airportlobby

    airportlobby Senior member

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    I would just think about the 5-10 cocktails that you and your friends drink most often, and stock those liquors to start.

    One tequila that is really good and surprisingly affordable is Cavalino. It's available in Texas, not sure about the rest of the country.

    I love having Rittenhouse in the house. Love it neat.

    Brandy is a necessity for sidecars, french 75s (EDIT - cptjeff posted the same thing while I was typing).

    I like having a bottle of Herbsaint or Pernod for Sazeracs.
     


  15. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    Can't add much to the above but to insist on Grand Marnier as irreplaceable. Maybe Kahlua if you entertain younger guests. Port and Sherry are taken as if liquors -- but I'm guessing you have the wine rack well stocked.
    What do you use the GranMarinier for or in place of?
    I'd take the Illy liqueur over Kahlua. Rambo, I think you need an orange bitters. Grapefruit if you're into that kinda thing; if so you could pick up the whole Fee Brothers pack on amazon for like 30 bucks and be done with that. +1 to the Campari, and I'd pick up a cheap Cachaca for summer if you're ever to find yourself making caiprinhas or mojitos; cachaca is pretty cheap and therefore good for entertaining...
    I just found Angostura Orange Bitters at a local store so I snagged one of those. Are all the bitters similar quality wise or are the Fee Brothers so much better. Similar to the Fever Tree tonic in that regard I mean. I could use a recommendation on a good Cachaca and light rum as well. Open to the fvorm as well.
    Mixing of Brandy: My favorite brandy drink is the Alabazam: 2 oz Brandy 1/2 oz. Cointreau 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Simple syrup Lots of Bitters (six dashes here) It's all orange-and-spicey wonderfulness. Other drinks that feature brandy are the classic, classic, classic Sidecar (the cocktail that introduced me to cocktails), the Vieux Carre, some versions of the Sazerac. Really all I can think of right off. Christian Brothers is like $20 for a big bottle. Maraschino: I really only know of three -- Luxardo, Stock, and Maraska (commonly available in that order). I've never had the Stock, but the Maraska and Lux get the best reviews generally. Tonic: I adore Fever Tree (much more than Q-tonic, even). The only other suggestion I would have would be try to find some 'natural' tonic at some kind of health food store (long shot, I suppose). Schwepps/Seagrams/Everyone else puts literally more sugar in their tonic than in Coke. It's ridiculous! They'll be fine in a G&T, so don't be dissuaded, just pick the one with the least sugar. Might be worth trying to get Fever Tree if you find you really like G&Ts though (this feature of my suggestions, is, I hope out there -- concentrate on stuff you like, as your tastes change you'll suddenly find yourself having....everything). Bitters: I like to have an orange bitters, too, as several have mentioned. Nice in gin drinks. I'm not a bitters nut yet, and get by with those three. Books: From an old post: My first book was DeGroff's "Craft of the Cocktail," but I think his followup "The Essential Cocktail" is better. Again, he has hangups and modifies things in accordance. Haigh's "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails" IS a favorite of mine, but he uses really obscure ingredients. Other websites I often use are ohgo and cocktailnerd. When I want to make a cocktail (if I know of it), I usually Google and compare recipes. ~ H
    Alright, you convinced me. I'll get some Christian Brothers brandy to have on hand. I went back and swapped the maraschino liquer for Luxardo. Fuck it. I'll swing by Whole Foods tomorrow and see if I can't snag some Fever Tree. If not, Amazon it is. How about cherries. I know you're fanatical about them. Any specific ones I should get?
     


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