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Organizing That Messed-Up Liquor Cabinet


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#61 EvergreenDan

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:30 AM

Janet - how varied are the drinks you make? For example, if you have a "usual" few drinks, you could keep those ingredients in the kitchen (sort of as Jaz suggests, but prioritizing what you use a lot).

For myself, I intentionally make varied drinks. I open the cabinet (or browse my cocktail database) looking for an idea that I haven't tried yet, or something I haven't made in a long time. Therefore, the bottles that I use are almost always completely different from those I used yesterday. Finding space in the kitchen, at the expense of the hassle of re-bottling into smaller bottles works for me. It's less working than constantly walking to a distant bar. I do sometimes have to step up on the rung of a bar stool to see/reach the bottles on the upper shelf. I keep "top shelf" bottles a bit farther away, because they are usually served neat, and go straight into the dining or living room, without need for ice or mixing. And overstock goes in a sort-of pantry cabinet at the entrance to the kitchen.

If you have a bar with a sink (or could add a sink), how about putting an icemaker there and really making it a full cocktail-making station?

Then there's the issue of the glass storage...

Like a well-designed kitchen, a well-designed drink making station makes preparing drinks a joy. I have never understood the "bar in the basement" thing, unless you move your guests down there too. Running up and down steps every time someone wants a drink is a huge hassle (unless the bar is self-serve).

Edited by EvergreenDan, 18 May 2010 - 04:25 AM.

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#62 JAZ

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:00 AM

Dan, I wish my bar had a sink, but it's just a small stand-alone.

kitchen 001.jpg
Not a very good picture, but it gives the idea. It's in my dining nook, which is next to the kitchen (more convenient than in my last place, where it was across the apartment). I store glasses in the freezer, and cocktail equipment in the cabinet next to it, so that's where I mix and pour drinks. I don't have room to store bottles anywhere near that area, hence the inefficiency of having to bring bottles from the bar into the kitchen. I keep thinking that it would make more sense to take the shaker and jigger over to the bar and pour there, then return to the kitchen to finish. I should try to develop that habit to see how it works.

Mostly, I was just curious about the set-up other people have to actually make drinks.

#63 kathryn

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 11:55 AM

DONE! Rebottled all liquors into 500 mL bottles. Added shelves with spacers, metallic tape to the edges of shelves, and metal tags with labels.

Posted Image
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

#64 bmdaniel

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 11:59 AM

What did you do with the other 250ml?

#65 kathryn

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 01:12 PM

Gifted or poured into a 2nd bottle. That row you see on the bottom with the bottoms facing out is the "overflow" row.
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

#66 EvergreenDan

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 05:12 PM

The disease is, apparently, contagious. :smile: Careful with those caps. I cleaned up a sizable pile of crystallized Pimento Dram after the cap let me down on my overflow bottle stored on its side.
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#67 kathryn

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 07:58 PM

Duly noted! We shall be very careful. Any other learnings? Would you ever go back?

It's nice to have our floor back!
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#68 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:24 PM

At the start of the topic, you saw my dilemma in my old place. http://forums.egulle...1950s-kitchen/'>We've moved into a vitage 1950s house, and, well, they thought about entertaining and liquor cabinets. Forgive the crappy photos:

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There are also drawers for tools, towels, and coasters, as well as additional shelving below for extra glassware, punch bowls, etc.
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#69 weinoo

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:29 PM

What I want to know is if you're making white negronis with that Suze?
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#70 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 08:01 PM

Oh yeah.
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#71 slkinsey

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:32 AM

Pretty cool. You're not worried about sunlight on all those bottles? It's always something I've wondered about in my dream designs for a home bar.
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#72 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:05 AM

It's a good question, and I don't have an answer. It does face north windows, though, so there's never direct sunlight. In addition, few items last for years in there, if you get my drift.
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#73 weinoo

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:26 AM

That is one cool looking "entertainment" center. They knew had to do it back in mid-century; I guess one reason is that they didn't really have to worry about where to put the flat screen and all of its associated electronics.
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#74 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:29 AM

I have found that, if I drink enough and stare for an hour or so, the tiki glasses start dancing in a very entertaining manner.
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#75 KD1191

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:14 PM

Recently added this item to my bar setup...I'm lead to believe that it is a Punch Cart.

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True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#76 J_Ozzy

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

Pardon the necromancy, I think I've got something worth sharing.

I recently moved across the country and moved my cocktail ingredient library with me. I used Matthew Rowley's Teflon tape trick to seal the open bottles, packed them in cases and carefully drove the car (containing more ethanol than gasoline) to my destination.

Note the cargo netting, a key component in preventing head trauma from second layer cases during deceleration.
Packed.jpg

Traveller's Tip: relatives can often provide a useful intermediate storage space, though judgments may ensue as stored case quantities increase.
Boxed.jpg

Note to self: do not knock over any edge bottles.
Unboxed.jpg


I decided to shop for some furniture specifically for the task of bottle storage. Up until now, I'd had a basement with a couple of industrial storage lockers. This was not going to be an option in a 1-bedroom apartment. I looked at IKEA kitchen solutions and checked with a customizable closet storage designer, but anything substantial had to be wall anchored. I was really hoping for something free standing that could accommodate a maraschino bottle.

Ultimately I settled on two pieces, a teak roadie case / coffee table that can handle up to Galliano height (which turned out to cover, surprisingly, all but six bottles) and a replica ice box with nice tall shelves. While I didn't set out with the intention for them to be mobile, both pieces are on wheels (though I wouldn't risk pushing the ice box while laden).

Come to think of it, a wooden roadie case is basically a treasure chest.
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A treasure of of rum, brandy, tequila and whisk(e)y
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The walk-in fridge handle really clinched the ice box for me.
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Bitters on the roof, (mostly) liqueurs on the top shelf, vermouth/aperitif/vodka/gin on the middle shelf, vermouth/amaro/tall bottles/mezcal on the bottom.
Icebox_open.jpg

Edited by J_Ozzy, 02 December 2012 - 11:57 PM.


#77 Creola

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:19 AM

J_Ozzy -that ice box is beautiful and both pieces look to hold a large volume of bottles. Now how are you storing the glassware ?

#78 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:20 AM

Brilliant - and a lovely piece of furniture.

I was just thinking this morning as I was driving to work that I need something to hold all my bottles. Mine chronically looks like the picture of all your stuff on the floor. I was thinking of something where the bottles would be one deep though so I could see each and every one of them when I pull it open - perhaps pullout pantry style.

#79 EvergreenDan

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

I shall not covet thy neighbor's bottles. I shall not ...
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#80 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Nice collection (I like how you call it your "cocktail ingredient library"). I can see that you made every effort to ensure that you would not run out of LH151 or Rittenhouse rye!
250 bottles or so?

#81 J_Ozzy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

J_Ozzy -that ice box is beautiful and both pieces look to hold a large volume of bottles. Now how are you storing the glassware ?


The apartment's kitchen has a surprising amount of cabinetry given its small footprint. I've got a few shelves set aside for glassware, a drawer for bar tools and some space set aside for bar equipment; no photos yet as the counter tops are still being redone. I'm not sure I'll able to swing a dedicated bar station surface, though the wine fridge top does provide a little real estate if I keep it out in the open.


Nice collection (I like how you call it your "cocktail ingredient library"). I can see that you made every effort to ensure that you would not run out of LH151 or Rittenhouse rye!
250 bottles or so?


Yes, despite all indications to the contrary, I'm not a very prodigious imbiber. Some of the bottles were acquired in college 10+ years ago (the Galliano, among others). I just enjoy having the ability to make any drink I read about (and I read a lot of cocktail literature) at close to original spec; hence ingredient library. This has admittedly become more difficult since the selection of amaro and bitters has taken off. The duplicate (triplicate) bottles were for products that had no real hope of local availability at the time. The tally works out to somewhere around 220-ish 750ml bottle equivalents, running the gamut from a 15ml Torres brandy atomiser to a duty-free magnum of cognac.


Brilliant - and a lovely piece of furniture.

I was just thinking this morning as I was driving to work that I need something to hold all my bottles. Mine chronically looks like the picture of all your stuff on the floor. I was thinking of something where the bottles would be one deep though so I could see each and every one of them when I pull it open - perhaps pullout pantry style.


One of my parent's neighbors has something like that; it works pretty well (the IKEA Akurum tall cabinet w/ heavy duty drawer kits is a similar design).

Edited by J_Ozzy, 03 December 2012 - 04:23 PM.


#82 Creola

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:19 PM

Call me crazy,won't be the first, but what about a fold down shelf for a bar counter with a picture on the backside, sort of like the ironing boards that fold down.