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Old 07-26-2009, 10:17 PM   #21
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by tobii3 View Post
First things first -

You want to serve most people? Make sure you have the correct glassware! Presentation is EVERYTHING.

As for the liquors, a good rule of thumb is one top shelf, one middle of the road, and one for mixing.

That way you don't go broke by mixing all your good liquor!
What.....you mean I can't use dixie cups no more?
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:36 AM   #22
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by hotreds View Post
The number one selling blended Scotch in Scotland is The Famous Grouse. The number one selling single malt in Scotland is Glenmorangie. FWIW.
The Number One Selling Cigars in the U.S. are Swisher Sweets too.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:14 AM   #23
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Basics includes Gin and Vodkas, Kahluas, Amaretto, different Schnapps.

Basic cocktails involve gins and vodkas and then start to get crazy with flavored vodkas.

You'll go crazy collecting Scotches and Bourbons and whiskey's etc.
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:52 AM   #24
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by jkim05 View Post
Ron, the thing about scotch is there are so many and every scotch drinker has his own favorites.
I couldn't agree more. If I were buying Scotch for a party where I thought non-Scotch drinkers would partake I may opt for a different choice than the Ardbeg, but the snippet of conversation below...

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Keep in mind many of the best liquors are seldom heard names.
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Originally Posted by RGD. View Post
Exactly - which is one of the main purpose of this thread.
...led me to believe that Ron was looking for our personal choices. The liquor store where I shop has a grouping of Scotches that are revered as "The Classic Six". Here's a link describing those six (thanks for the link kayaker!). Depending on the budget, that would be a neat way to stock the bar Scotch-wise.


Damn, now I want to go to the liquor store!
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:13 AM   #25
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Well if you're looking for an ultra peaty scotch look at the Laphgraiog 15 or Ardbeg Uigeadail.


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Old 07-27-2009, 07:24 AM   #26
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by jkim05 View Post
Whatever you do, don't buy Galliano. I don't even know if stores stock it, but I know of only two drinks that I can make off the top of my head that use it (an italian coffee recipe i know of and the harvey wallbanger) and I have never seen it ordered. I always find it hilarious to see at restaurant bars because it makes me wonder how many years it's been sitting there.
Is that the tall, conical bottle with the yellow stuff in it?
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:48 AM   #27
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by yourchoice View Post
...led me to believe that Ron was looking for our personal choices.
And I am. And in doing so, with the diverse members of the Asylum, I believe I will get a great cross section of suggestions in which to choose from. It's not like I am going to run out and buy 20 some bottles this weekend - I plan on building it up over time - so I don't have any limits set at the moment.


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Well if you're looking for an ultra peaty scotch look at the Laphgraiog 15 or Ardbeg Uigeadail.
I wouldn't know an ultra peaty scotch if it slapped me in the face -


Thanks,

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Old 07-27-2009, 09:06 AM   #28
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by RGD. View Post
I wouldn't know an ultra peaty scotch if it slapped me in the face -
Well...I think you would. It tastes like medicine that's been set on fire (if you're not used to it).

Anyways, if you want specific recommendations here's my list, it's got some stuff on it that's not so common in bars, but the best values for the money. This is just one man's recs so YMMV.

Rail-stuff you mix with (it's not like you have people over every night so no need to really get anything too cheap here, but there's also no need to get anything really good that won't be appreciated in a mixed bev.)
Vodka- This is one I'm not sure of because vodka tends to be mixed with ingredients that grossly out flavor the vodka so it's really not as important, imo, what vodka you use unless your making martinis or something. Don't get anything in a plastic bottle, but unless you plan on entertaining serious vodka drinkers, my recommendation is Stoli. Middle of the road, easily obtainable, no objectionable flavours and good enough for a martini.
Gin- Tanqueray. Some people may disagree, but I find this one to not overly herbaceous so it's rather approachable. Drinkable in a Gin and Tonic and in Gin Martinis. Hendrick's is also a great one, but that's kind of a second level purchase, it's a less mainstream and also less approachable.
Rum- You said you've got this covered and you probably know more about it than me. As for recipes, you'll need a decent lower end clear rum and a decent lower end dark rum, what you choose is up to you, but that will give you flexibility. No reason to waste HC Barrel Proof in a mixed drink where you can't really taste the rum.
Tequila-This one I also don't have much experience with. I'm sure someone else here can expound on some good sleeper value hits, but in my experience I can say most tequila based drinks are palatable with Sauza or Cuervo. Once again, with sipping tequila you're getting into the next level of purchases.
Whiskey-Jack Daniels is standard in bars as is Jim Beam. However, seeing that Evan Williams Single Barrel is 17.99 at the liquor store right now near my house, I'd just get that or something comparable. Get a bourbon type whiskey here as that's what most recipes will call for and it will fit the bill for most general whiskey based drinks.
Scotch- This I know a little bit about, at least I think so. Get a blended scotch for mixed drinks, single malt for sipping. Best values out there: White Horse and Old Pulteney. I was fooled once in a blind Scotch tasting by White Horse and I think it's better than almost any other blended scotch, with only a few super high end exceptions, and it's like 10 bucks a bottle. Old Pulteney is a great bottle for the price and delivers a surprisingly nice Scotch profile. Other great scotches to buy at first include Balvenie (it's honey sweetness pleases most scotch drinkers) and Talisker (an Islay that's not as peaty as some).

If I think of any others as I go through the day, I'll post those up too.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:20 AM   #29
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by jkim05 View Post
Well...I think you would. It tastes like medicine that's been set on fire (if you're not used to it).

.....

Whiskey-Jack Daniels is standard in bars as is Jim Beam. However, seeing that Evan Williams Single Barrel is 17.99 at the liquor store right now near my house, I'd just get that or something comparable. Get a bourbon type whiskey here as that's what most recipes will call for and it will fit the bill for most general whiskey based drinks.
....
If I think of any others as I go through the day, I'll post those up too.
Wow! That is an outstanding price. Here is has been climbing through the roof the past 3 years. Running $23 - $25 a bottle. As many have noted, lot's of personal taste can lead you to so seldom tried liquor, but the EVSB has been liked by almost anyone I have servered it to. Much less bite than most bourbons.
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:09 PM   #30
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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There are some good recs here, but I don't think for what you're looking for you're trying open a restaurant so three of each alcohol is kind of unreasonable. In my experience with bartending and entertaining, here's my take on what you need in a home bar:
The first thing you're gonna wanna stock are the five basic liquors: Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey and Tequila. These are gonna be the bottles you use to make most of your mixed drinks. Just go middle of the road with these, no need to spend a lot of money on alcohol that's gonna be mixed with sodas and whatnot so a good level to go with might be Stoli, Tanqueray, Bacardi, Jack Daniels and Sauza/Cuervo. These are just suggestions, and I know some purists may complain about some of my recommendations, keep in mind these are not for sipping, they're for making mixed drinks.

You've got good stuff in your bar already, so if you don't want to purchase additional stuff, you can just use what you've got, but I'd think most of what you have is more high end then stuff you would normally stock your bar with.

The next stage of alcohols you would need are a dark rum, brandy, irish cream, a coffee liqueur, triple sec and sweet and dry vermouth. With these in hand and a few non-alcoholic mixers, you can mix almost any of the traditional mixed drinks and coffee drinks. Here's my rec on what to spend on these: spend enough but not too much. Go one step above generic, but there's no need to go high end on any of these. They won't get used enough at a home bar and unless you're having a themed party, the people who order drinks with these as ingredients shouldn't be too picky as to what alcohol you're using. It is nice to be able to provide the exact drink a guest is looking for though.

From there you can start stocking different types of cordials and liqueurs if you'd like, but there are so many, I suggest just picking them up as a drink recipe you might want to try calls for them. Odds are you won't use the whole bottle and there will be plenty left over. This includes ports, sherries as well, unless you want to specifically stock those.

Now for sipping beverages...you're list is basically pretty well stocked in this department. Everyone has their own favorite scotches/whiskeys/tequilas/bourbons/rums/etc., so you can't have everything. Just pick up things a bottle at a time as something you want to try comes up.

When it comes to things like infused vodkas and what not, I used them when I worked in a professional bar, but unless there is a specific drink you want to make using a specific flavored vodka, or unless you drink that flavor a lot, it tends to just sit there...forever.

Now for mixers, etc: My recommendation is to get some of those small individually sealed bottles or cans, you can keep a couple near the bar and they don't take up too much space and have some extras in the garage or basement just in case. You'll probably want cranberry juice, orange and pineapple juice is not a must but it does give you a lot of versatility, lime juice (get the sweetened syrup like Rose's), tonic water, club soda, Coke/diet, 7up, ginger ale, simple syrup, sour mix and bitters. Other than fresh ingredients and garnishes, this should be about all anyone could ever ask for in a home bar.

Oh and one last thing. Get a nice drink recipe book, it makes bartending a whole lot more fun when you can actually use some of the different bottles to make a delicious concoction.
You have gotten some good recommendations. I particularly thought Ji gave a very well thought out plan. Beyond the basics of Rum, Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Tequila Sweet and Dry Vermouth, an Orange Liquor like Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier or Cointreau if you like rich drinks). I like Bacardi Anejo rum, Luksusowa Vodka, Gordons Gin, and Evan Williams Bourbon for very good cost per value staples. The basics can be combined in an infinite variety of ways and are always good to have on hand the rest should have a specific purpose or they don't get used.

I would cater the rest of your liquor cabinet to the tastes of your most frequent guests rather than trying to be prepared for any possibility. Otherwise you will invest a lot of money on stuff that just sits on the shelf for years. For example I have a six year old bottle of Ouzo with two shots gone.

I would also say for sipping drinks particularly things like single malt and other Artisanal liquors buy what you enjoy. It is the hosts prerogative. Keeping a full range and variety of styles of single malts for instance on hand just in case someone may like one specific style at some point seems unnecessary. Now if you want to experiment on a peaty scotch like Laphroaig and you don't like it, you will eventually have a guest thrilled you have it on the shelf. If you are going expand your range experiment with things you are interested in not only for potential guests. With the explosion of brands and styles and flavors a home bar just can't cover everything any more.

As for flavored Vodkas or other unusual liquors like Pama which I really like BTW. I would research a one or two interesting drinks you can use as signature drinks that you can offer to people who don't know what they like and want something tasty. Then you can just stock up on the flavored liquors that work for that drink. I use the Pama for a banging Cosmopolitan. I also tend to keep and Irish Creme on hand and Godiva Chocolate liquor to make a Chocolate Martini for the sweet drink crowd.

Last thought. Someone mentioned having good glassware is nice and can help make a drink. Another key is appropriate garnishes be it maraschino cherries, fresh citrus wedges, olives etc... I have a small grater and grate dark chocolate to go on my chocolate martinis which makes a good drink memorable.

It is better to be prepared to cover the basics (which goes a long way) and a few special things well than overextending yourself trying to cover every eventually.
Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:29 PM   #31
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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You have gotten some good recommendations. I particularly thought Ji gave a very well thought out plan. Beyond the basics of Rum, Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Tequila Sweet and Dry Vermouth, an Orange Liquor like Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier or Cointreau if you like rich drinks). I like Bacardi Anejo rum, Luksusowa Vodka, Gordons Gin, and Evan Williams Bourbon for very good cost per value staples. The basics can be combined in an infinite variety of ways and are always good to have on hand the rest should have a specific purpose or they don't get used.
...
Some nice thoughts here. Just wanted to add my name is Jeremy.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:23 PM   #32
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Well...I think you would. It tastes like medicine that's been set on fire (if you're not used to it).
Hmmm - must be what I tried back 1978 - which explains why I'm a Rum drinker today -

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Anyways, if you want specific recommendations here's my list, it's got some stuff on it that's not so common in bars, but the best values for the money. This is just one man's recs so YMMV.. . . .

If I think of any others as I go through the day, I'll post those up too.
Your input has been excellent! Thanks!


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Wow! That is an outstanding price. Here is has been climbing through the roof the past 3 years. Running $23 - $25 a bottle. As many have noted, lot's of personal taste can lead you to so seldom tried liquor, but the EVSB has been liked by almost anyone I have servered it to. Much less bite than most bourbons.
Got that one covered already -


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Old 07-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #33
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Rye huh - people actually drink that stuff??? Added to the list!
Yep, it's good stuff. The iconic cocktails like the ones I mentioned already (Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Sazerac...) are rye-based, so it'd be a disservice not to have some

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Correct me here - most people are not going to mix Scotch but sip it? The only Scotch drinker I know is my brother-in-law and I have never seen him mix it.
True, most Scotch drinkers will sip it, but I know my fair share of Scotch n' soda drinkers. There's the odd Scotch sour and Hot Toddy also.
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Old 08-01-2009, 07:28 PM   #34
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

What kind of people are you looking to serve? Younger, older, male, female.. etc.

I tried to put together a well-stocked bar awhile back. I drink rum almost exclusively, but I wanted to serve my friends well. I quickly found out that 99% of the people who came to the house drank either fruity mixed drinks, beer, or wine. My Dad is the only Scotch drinker I know, a few people will drink rum, bourbon or whiskey straight, only an occasional gin and tonic, and tequila was only necessary for margaritas. But vodka is crucial, all the popular mixed drinks seemed to be vodka recipes, the more 'flavor-less' the better. Also high on the list, especially for the women, is coconut rum.

That meant mixers were pretty important, at least for my party crowd. Amaretto, triple sec, blue and orange curacao, peach schnapps, banana liquer, irish creme, chocolate liquer (Godiva is great), blackberry brandy are all well used in my house. I also try to keep lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and cranberry juice in the house. Club soda in the summer time for mojitos (along with fresh mint growing in the backyard), tonic in the winter for gin and tonics. I don't mess with garnishes or fancy glassware, too much trouble, not enough appreciation, at least in my crowd.

I'd suggest take a close look at who you'll end up serving, and try to adjust for their tastes. No sense in stocking single malt scotches if they're just going to sit on a shelf for 3 yrs. If they really do have such a broad and varied taste to cover all the liquors, then I'm envious of your friends!
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:43 PM   #35
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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A marguerita party could break out at any moment..
SO true, SO-O True.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:10 PM   #36
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

I am sucker for Campari, so I would add that. Campari and orange before dinner is a classy and sublime way to start a meal.
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