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Old 07-26-2009, 01:17 AM   #1
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Default Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

I don't really have a bar - more less just a bunch of bottles scattered here and there over my shelves and bookcase(s). But anyway - looking around I'm pretty lacking in general offerings outside of the Rum category. So looking for some help/suggestions in what I should stock to keep most people happy. I've started the list below - but don't have a clue as to name brands that in general I should have.

Here my pitiful list of what I currently have - no laughing now - Click Here

So if you have a suggestion, name brand or something else I should stock - I'd like to see it. I am not trying to set up a professional bar mind you - just want to be able to serve most people.

Brandy
Bourbon
Gin
Vodka
Flavored Vodka(s)?
Whiskey
Scotch
Rum (Have this one covered )
Sherry
Tequila


Thanks,

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Old 07-26-2009, 03:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

I'll bite.

Raspberry Absolut with 7-Up, mix with anything other than 7-Up and it's not quite right. It will mess you up in a hurry though so be careful.

As for other vodkas, to me Gray Goose is alright. I'm partial to Absolut though however only mixed with Squirt, yummy.

There are a couple of others that I have had that are quite nice, can't remember them though, sorry. Effen vodka to me not so good, Shakers and Skyy bleh. Stoli, yup, good stuff.

I'll probably get back to this post, a year ago I was on a vodka kick, killed too many brain cells, not that I had too many to start with, can't remember all the names.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Vodka - Chopin is by far my favorite
Bourbon - Old Foresters at the low end, Woodford Reserve in the middle, Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B in the upper middle, and Pappy Van Winkle at the high end
Scotch - I'd grab a talisker, laphroiag quarter cask, or ardbeg 10 if you're not a scotch drinker, just to have good scotch on hand
Tequila - Herradura Anejo
Gin - Hendricks
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

I always kept Tangueray Gin and Lots of different Tequila, and some kind of crazy expensive Scotch that my exmil used to drink. Can't rememeber what it was called.
I always had Chi Chi's Marguerita mix and De Kuyper's Cactus Juice, too.
A marguerita party could break out at any moment.
I haven't drank in six or seven years, so the details are pretty much lost.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Originally Posted by RGD. View Post
I am not trying to set up a professional bar mind you - just want to be able to serve most people.
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!
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Brandy - Cardinal Mendoza is a great popular Spanish brandy. Should be just for sipping though; I don't know much about brandy, but I don't want to know anything other than this one! J&M would be an idea for a cheap selection to add.

Bourbon - Woodford Reserve will please anyone from the bourbon drinker to the occasional or inexperienced imbiber. Not too expensive either. Good old Wild Turkey is a must on a shelf too - mixing, sipping, whatever; it's good, inexpensive, recognizable bourbon. I would suggest Jim Beam if I didn't hate it.

Gin - Bombay Sapphire and Plymouth are excellent gins for most if not all gin cocktails. A bottle of Beefeater's is an icon on a bar shelf though if you want a 'generic' one.

Vodka - Not much experience here, but the Russians drink Russian Standard. Very decent and well-priced. Tito's and Chopin are great too. Stoli is cheap and good for mixing.

Flavored Vodka(s) - Really whatever works. Anything but Absolut.

Whiskey - Most people are easily satisfied with Crown Royal and Jack Daniel's. No bar should be without a good rye for Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc., and Rittenhouse Rye is an excellent, cheap rye. Wild Turkey makes a good rye at a fair price as well.

Scotch - Not a lot of experience here, but The Balvenie Doublewood is good for beginners and experienced drinkers in the single-malt area. Johnny Walker Black is a bar staple, really, and the Red would be good for mixing.

Rum (Have this one covered )

Sherry - Don't know much about sherry. Go for Spanish.

Tequila - El Jimador and Herradura. The end Patron seems to be pretty popular these days too, so that would be a crowd-pleaser. 1800 is good for mixing. I would never be seen with Cuervo or Sauza in my house, haha.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Brandy
Bourbon
Gin
Vodka
Flavored Vodka(s)?
Whiskey
Scotch
Sherry
Tequila

What kind of money are you looking to spend for 9 bottles? That pretty much decides what types of suggestions to give. And you might think about scratching flavored vodka, or sherry in favor of getting at least two types of tequila.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Vodka - Grey Goose and throw the rest away!

Scotch - Lagavulin, Talisker, Laphroaig, and The Glenlevit

Brown Whiskey - George Dickel (Black), Fighting **** 103 (better than Wild Turkey and cheaper, if you are not in the South you want find it though), Woodford Reserve (smooth and good value) and probably some Crown Royal for the name recognition and some Makers Mark for a lower priced smooth drink.

Keep in mind many of the best liquors are seldom heard names.
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

I think you're in good hands here Ron
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

The number one selling blended Scotch in Scotland is The Famous Grouse. The number one selling single malt in Scotland is Glenmorangie. FWIW.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassjapan View Post
What kind of money are you looking to spend for 9 bottles? That pretty much decides what types of suggestions to give. And you might think about scratching flavored vodka, or sherry in favor of getting at least two types of tequila.
The list is not set at 9 bottles or even what I listed. Nor do I need to buy all of them at once. So I'm not limited to just one bottle of each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain53 View Post
. . .

Keep in mind many of the best liquors are seldom heard names.
Exactly - which is one of the main purpose of this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkinCA View Post
I think you're in good hands here Ron
I think so!

Quote:
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.
And my local ABC store carries both of those brands -
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shilala View Post
I . . .
A marguerita party could break out at any moment.
I haven't drank in six or seven years, so the details are pretty much lost.
My wife does that Margarita thing - she has her own little cabinet in the kitchen so she has that covered!

Quote:
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!
Ummm yep - currently they can have a small glass or a large glass -

Seriously though - once I actually get around to remodeling the basement and get an actual bar area set up - I'll work on the glassware then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake Hips View Post
. . . and Rittenhouse Rye is an excellent, cheap rye. Wild Turkey makes a good rye at a fair price as well. . . .
Rye huh - people actually drink that stuff??? Added to the list!



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Old 07-26-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Gin - Hendricks. Love it!
Scotch - sooo many good ones. Ardbeg 10yo has a great $/ ratio for me.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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. . .
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.
I actually have a book and an app on my iPod Touch. I'll show you both of them Saturday and you can let me know if they will suffice.


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Old 07-26-2009, 09:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. I'm building my lists - so keep them coming!


Thanks -


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Old 07-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #17
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

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Gin - Hendricks. Love it!
Scotch - sooo many good ones. Ardbeg 10yo has a great $/ ratio for me.
Thanks Joel. And the ABC does carry the Ardbeg 10 year. 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.


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Old 07-26-2009, 09:36 PM   #18
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Quote:
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Thanks Joel. And the ABC does carry the Ardbeg 10 year. 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.


Ron
That's correct Ron. The only thing most people would mix Scotch with would be ice or a tiny bit (wee bit ) of water to open it up.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:46 PM   #19
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Ron, the thing about scotch is there are so many and every scotch drinker has his own favorites. If you want to pick up some, it's a good idea to get ones that will please new scotch drinkers and experienced ones. A couple recs are the Balvenie 12 and the Talisker 10, both reasonably priced and flavorful. For a scotch that might be mixed a blended Scotch such as Johnnie Walker would suffice. Let me know if you want any more specific recommendations. Most of what I'm going by is how I've stocked bars in the past both at restaurants and personally.

Are you looking for a specific stock list with recommendations? I can give you one if you'd like, I was just giving general guidelines, but I can also tell you exactly what I'd buy. I'd also say that a lot of the liquor recommendations you might get that might be sleeper hits might be a bit of an acquired taste. For instance, I love Hendrick's gin, but I've met more people who didn't like it than did. However, many people who enjoy gin enjoy Hendricks, it's the ones who don't drink gin often who really disliked it. Same with Scotch, Laphroiag is a great Scotch, imo, but the average drinker will not like it's smoky/peaty flavor profile. Let me know what you want and I can put a list together and pm you.

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.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Home Bar Liquor List - What To Buy?

Keep us posted with the results, please.
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