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The Ten-Bottle Start-up Home Cocktail Bar


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95 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 02:03 PM

In Paul Harrington and Laura Moorhead's Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, there are four lists for stocking the home bar:
  • three: rum, gin, Cointreau
  • six: above plus whiskey, sweet and dry vermouth
  • nine: above plus vodka, bitters, and Maraschino
  • twelve: above plus bourbon, brandy, rye
Seemed like an interesting question to pose here: what would you select? A fan of the decimal system, I thought I'd suggest ten as a base list -- which I think one could set up with about $200. My own list would look something like this: rum
gin
bourbon
rye
Cointreau
Maraschino
Campari
sweet vermouth
dry vermouth
bitters
You?
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#2 johnder

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 02:14 PM

For me:

Gin (plymouth)
Rye (rittenhouse)
Bourbon (woodford)
Maraschino (luxardo)
Sweet Vermouth (antica)
Dry Vermouth (noilly)
Green Chartreuse
Bitters (angostura)
Applejack (lairds, bonded)
Curacao (brizzard)
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#3 Ktepi

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 02:55 PM

This is practically the position I'm in as it is, because when I moved my bar was practically empty, and I've had other more critical expenses. What I've found is that as I use something up, whether I "reload" it or buy something else instead depends on the time of year. So, right now, in an unseasonably mild November following a toe-numbing October:

1: Prichard's fine rum
2: Some other dark rum
3: Bourbon
4: Campari
5: Starbuck's coffee liqueur
6: Peychaud's bitters (so hard picking just one bitters)
7: Rye
8: Absinthe (I have to be able to make a Sazerac)
9: Cointreau or other triple sec (I've been using a homemade kalamansi-and-orange liqueur so feel odd specifying a brand)
10: Auburn vanilla liqueur

In the spring, sub gin and maraschino for two of those -- in the summer, likewise plus tequila -- and so on.

#4 tkd7

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 05:33 PM

rum
gin
bourbon
rye
Cointreau
Maraschino
Campari
sweet vermouth
dry vermouth
bitters

You?

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My list would look similar to yours, although I would not include bitters as a bottle since it is so inexpensive.

I would replace bitters with Cognac and would be tempted to replace bourbon with Scotch

#5 maggiethecat

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 07:44 PM

Gin
Bourbon
Scotch
Dry Vermouth
Sweet Vermouth
Pernod or similar
Campari
Cognac
Sherry dry
Rum

I too wouldn't include bitters in the bottle count -- it's a household staple in the fridge door, nestling between the Lee and Perrins and the Grey Poupon. As for a citrus digestif, er, we roll our own, so perhaps I should include a utility bottle of brandy or vodka -- never drunk by themselves, but used for preparing other things.

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#6 Shalmanese

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 03:22 AM

Huh, interesting that Vodka doesn't make it onto any of the top 10.

I would say:

Vodka
Gin
Rum
Tequila
Whiskey
Cointreu
Grenadine
Calvados
Chambord
Bitters

I don't like martini's so I dont need vermouth, my tastes aren't very sophisticated and I like fruity drinks. So sue me :raz:.
PS: I am a guy.

#7 Chris Amirault

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 11:47 AM

Bumping this back up. Additions? Edits?

I'm thinking I might swap out the Campari for two bottles of bitters (Angostura and orange)....
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#8 Peter Green

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 11:56 AM

Hmmmm......

Vodka (or everclear, which can give you a good working overproof option here)
White rum (again, with the rums I'd go overproof)
Dark rum
Gin
Vermouth (dry)
Campari
Bourbon
Kahlua
Benedectine
Tequila

Fitting everything into 10 bottles is tough. I'm assuming these can be really big bottles....

#9 jsmeeker

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 11:58 AM

for rum, should you qualify it? White? Gold? Dark? If you are going to hav ONE, which would it be?

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#10 Dave the Cook

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:15 PM

white rum (Flor de Cana)
dark rum (if I can only have one, I'll pick something that's not necessarily the best at anything, but plays well with most everybody -- Bacardi 8)
gin (Beefeater, ditto the dark rum)
rye (Rittenhouse 100)
Applejack (the 80 is a little more versatile, but I'd take either)
Cointreau
Maraschino
sweet vermouth
Angostura bitters
Orange bitters (Regan's)

If you decide that the bitters don't count towards the ten, I'd add:

Herbsaint
Lillet

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#11 mkayahara

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:21 PM

The May/June 2009 Imbibe magazine had a feature on stocking your bar that you might find interesting, Chris, if you haven't already read it.

For what it's worth, my list would be:
Gin
Bourbon (but only because American rye is unavailable in Ontario)
White rum
Cognac
Sweet vermouth
Dry vermouth
Cointreau
Maraschino
Campari
Absinthe (or pastis, in a pinch)

Angostura bitters are certainly a must, but the bottle is so small it doesn't count toward the 10. :wink:
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#12 weinoo

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:30 PM

white rum (Flor de Cana)
dark rum (if I can only have one, I'll pick something that's not necessarily the best at anything, but plays well with most everybody -- Bacardi 8)
gin (Beefeater, ditto the dark rum)
rye (Rittenhouse 100)
Applejack (the 80 is a little more versatile, but I'd take either)
Cointreau
Maraschino
sweet vermouth
Angostura bitters
Orange bitters (Regan's)

If you decide that the bitters don't count towards the ten, I'd add:

Herbsaint
Lillet

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I can't imagine not having Campari (so one of the bitters has to go, if the bitters count, but they shouldn't).

And the Applejack would be bonded.
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#13 BittermensAG

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:40 PM

Gin - Beefeater
Rye - Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond
Applejack - Laird's Bonded
Rum - Ron Mulata Anejo (or Flor de Cana 7)
Luzardo Maraschino
Campari
Siembra Azul Tequila Blanco
Angostura Bitters
La Guita Manzanilla Sherry
Punt e Mes

The sherry and Punt e Mes may seem a little strange - but unless you're going through alot of vermouth, I like using these as they're a bit more shelf stable. I use the Manzanilla in place of dry vermouth with very interesting results, and the Punt e Mes is a nice replacement for sweet vermouth.

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#14 Splificator

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:30 PM

Okay, I'll play.

Rittenhouse bonded rye
Havana club 3-year-old rum
Tanqueray gin
Bols genever
Martell Cordon Bleu cognac
Batavia Arrack van Oosten
Fee's Whiskey Barrel bitters
Noilly Prat dry vermouth
Carpano Antica vermouth
Grand Marnier

Okay, not optimized for versatility, but optimized for deliciousness. If I could add two bottles (I'm sure I'd find a way of smuggling them in; I generally do), I'd add Inner Circle Green Dot rum and Vieux Pontarlier absinthe.
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#15 DaleJ

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:36 PM

Mine?

Nine .75L bottles of Beefeater.
One .375L bottle dry vermouth

#16 nikkib

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 03:09 PM

Beefeater gin
Campari
Carpano Antica formula
luxardo maraschino
absinthe
Cointreu
Lillet Blanc
Cognac
Arrete reposado tequila
havana club 5yr
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#17 mbanu

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:04 PM

Tanqueray gin
Bacardi 151 rum
Wild Turkey rye
Cointreau
Pernod
Vya sweet vermouth
Vya dry vermouth
Angostura bitters
creme de menthe
orange bitters

#18 haresfur

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:20 PM

Rum
Brandy
Bourbon
Tequila
Cointreau
Sweet vermouth
Campari
Fee's Aromatic Bitters
Orange Bitters (Regan's if I can only chose one)
and I suppose gin for guests although I drink far more Fernet Branca

... good thing limes don't come in bottles :wink:
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#19 Dave the Cook

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:49 PM

Despite the fact that this:

. . . not optimized for versatility, but optimized for deliciousness . . .

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has been my personal motto for many years, I didn't pick my ten bottles in that way.

I based my choices on the largest number of cocktails I like that could be made from the list of ingredients. Mr. Wondrich (and now I) have stated our criteria. The options haven't been more clear since freshman philosophy class (or maybe Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan).

How did the rest of you decide?

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#20 aidan

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 07:33 AM

Gin (Plymouth)
Rye
Scotch (Oban)
Vya (sweet vermouth)
Laird's Applejack
Cointreau
Lillet Blanc
Appleton Rum
Tequila
Angostura

#21 MikeHartnett

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:37 AM

I think this is all very interesting. The objective of the initial article, I believe, is to give an amateur a base to begin. What it appears has happened in this thread, though, is an analysis of what each individual would keep if they could only pick ten bottles. If the objective is to help an amateur get a handle on what he/she likes, I think the selection would skew quite differently. For example, when I developed an interest in cocktails, I would say that with my first ten purchases, I tried to obtain a broad base of spirits to gain a sense of what I enjoyed. Now, though, if I were to choose ten bottles to keep, they would likely skew very differently.

#22 db_campbell

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:58 AM

Unlike most, I'll choose to not watch my wallet on the base spirits. If I'm limited to 10 bottles, I'm reaching for what's behind the glass case.

Rye (T. Handy)
Gin (Old Raj)
Scotch (Talisker 25)
Rum (Centenario Fundacion XX)
Benedictine
Bual Madeira
Campari
Sweet Vermouth (Antica)
Dry Vermouth (Noilly)
Angostura

I definitely shade more toward the autumnal beverages.

#23 nikkib

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 02:58 PM

I chose mine based on what cocktails i would drink most at home and what could be the most flexible so similar to yours i think Matt - negronis/white ladys/corpse reviver no2/side cars/south sides/margaritas/daiquiris etc
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#24 KD1191

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 04:35 PM

Method: Made my 'desert island' drinks list, and then worked backward to what I'd need to make them.

Tanqueray
Noilly Prat Dry
Punt e Mes
Campari
Rittenhouse BIB
St. George Absinthe
Buffalo Trace
Luxardo Maraschino
Amaro Nonino
A bottle half and half of green/yellow chartreuse (is this cheating?)

I didn't consider bitters to be 'bottles' for the purposes of the experiment. Peychaud would replace the Amaro if I had to.
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#25 MikeInSacto

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:15 PM

Based on what we drink:

Light rum
Dark, overproof rum (Lemon Hart Demerara)
Brandy (nothing fancy)
Sweet Vermouth (Vya or Carpano Antica)
Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
Cointreau
Campari
Tanqueray
Tequila (something in a nice Reposado)
A lighter aperitif - maybe Lillet Blanc

I am considering bitters, grenadine, etc. as separate items.

#26 David Santucci

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 08:43 AM

Okay, I'll play.

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No Orange Bitters?

#27 David Santucci

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:42 AM

This game is way too hard with only 10 bottles!

First off, it seems like there are six bottles that are pretty much indispensible: Gin, Rye, Dry & Sweet Vermouth, Aromatic & Orange Bitters. That leaves 4 slots.

For a beginning bar, aimed at making classic drinks, you probably want to have: Cognac, White Rum, Maraschino and a Curacao. Though Absinthe and a herbal liqueur like Benedictine might be subbed in.

But hey, cocktails are American, right? And we measure our drinks in ounces, our distances in miles -- why use the decimal system to choose a number of bottles? Twelve is a much more noble number, divisible by 3 and 4. And liquor stores have boxes that hold twelve bottles (plus a couple bottles of bitters).

Personally, I would have to include Aged Rum and Cynar. I could live without White Rum, Curacao, Absinthe and Maraschino. If I get 12 give me Tequila and Arrack or Rhum Agricole. If we don't count the bitters, throw in Peychaud's, and I'd have to make a tough choice at the register whether to leave out Scotch, Apry or an Eau de Vie.

Edited by David Santucci, 08 August 2009 - 09:43 AM.


#28 shantytownbrown

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 10:41 AM

I'd have to make a tough choice at the register whether to leave out Scotch, Apry or an Eau de Vie.

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I'm having trouble with this because of the scotch..blended for cocktails and single malt for sipping, but if we are only talking about cocktails, then i'd live without the scotch (I only make three or four mixed drinks with it) as long as my single malt does not count toward the 10 or 12...still musing on the rest...

#29 haresfur

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 08:20 PM

Okay, I'll play.

Rittenhouse bonded rye
Havana club 3-year-old rum
Tanqueray gin
Bols genever
Martell Cordon Bleu cognac
Batavia Arrack van Oosten
Fee's Whiskey Barrel bitters
Noilly Prat dry vermouth
Carpano Antica vermouth
Grand Marnier

Okay, not optimized for versatility, but optimized for deliciousness. If I could add two bottles (I'm sure I'd find a way of smuggling them in; I generally do), I'd add Inner Circle Green Dot rum and Vieux Pontarlier absinthe.

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Only 4 of these are available in Washington State! :angry:
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#30 vice

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:33 AM

Only 4 of these are available in Washington State! :angry:

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i feel your pain. even being in california, a state that presumably should have much available. locally, that isn't always the story. web orders are your friend. there are several vendors that waive shipping over a certain amount (drinkupny.com for one).
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