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Chris Amirault

Organizing That Messed-Up Liquor Cabinet

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(Hope it's okay to bump an old thread.)

A friend from out of state asked me to send pictures of my liquor collection, so I took a few shots, and I thought I'd share them here. I don't think my home bar/liquor "cabinet" is very well organized, but it suits our purposes.

We bought an Ikea shelving system to give us more storage space when we moved into our current apartment (galley kitchen, yuck). We now keep most of our plates, bowls, pots, pans, and specialized cooking equipment on the shelves, and my wife swears that we'll never go back to closed cabinets. I love the open shelving too.

We keep our champagne & wine glasses hanging upside down, and below the bowls and plates (not visible in the pics, sorry) are our cocktail glasses. Most of my bar equipment is in the sink at the moment, so it's not visible either.

in situ.jpg

Those horizontal bars that are holding our pans are actually Ikea towel racks that have been screwed into the shelving top.

As far as organization goes, it's mostly by height and ease of retrieval, rather than by spirit family or by name. My collection is small enough that I don't have much trouble finding what I need quickly. Here's what it looks like all laid out:

collection.jpg

I didn't include the multiple vermouth bottles in the fridge, the limoncello in the freezer, the leftover vodka from making the vermouth, or my eye-dropper bottles of absinthe, maraschino, etc.


Jeff Fox

Aspiring Cocktailian

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It's a blurry shot, but as I'm moving soon my days and nights of bottle clanking and fruitless searching are nearing an end:

4376610709_2dbbe8bc45.jpg

How tall is that upper shelf? I always find my biggest limitation in a shelf set-up is having enough space for the super tall bottles (Luxardo Maraschino, Corralejo Tequilas, etc.)

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The shelf height looks to be adjustable.


 

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I'm in the midst of a dining-room redesign project to add a big built-in buffet/hutch whose purpose in life is to hold liquor and related accouterments, so I've been toying with practical ways to make a three-deep arrangement feasible. Here's the current iteration of the design:

Dining Room Built-In Version C.png

The liquor will go on the lower cabinets, which are designed to be tall enough so that my tallest bottle (the maraschino, I think) will fit on either the upper or the lower shelf. Glassware will go in the glass-front cabinets on top. I have no idea what will go in the drawers, they are only there for aesthetic reasons :smile:. I'm thinking of making the bottom trays pull out, but that will cost me some height and some width, so I'm not sure if it's worth it, to make the more obscure stuff easier to get at. The lower cabinets are only 18" deep at the deepest point, so it can probably hold about four rows of bottles if push came to shove.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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gallery_62365_6728_1267587.jpg

Dealing with limited space while we hunt for the right piece of furniture to go on the other side of the hall from the current bar area. I keep any back-up bottles and in-progress tinctures/bitters in a separate cabinet on the other side of the kitchen. As packed as the cabinet is, I can get at every bottle without having to remove anything else first...looking forward to having more space, though. When installing the shelves, the spacing was determined by the height of the Luxardo Maraschino bottle.

ETA: The drawer contains barspoons, jiggers, measuring cups, strainers and a manual juicer, as well as a channel knife, zester, wine key & microplane. Vermouths and anything that needs to be kept chilled are in the wine fridge...mixing glasses, some old fashioned glasses and more coupes in the freezer.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I hesitate to reveal my OCD. Space constraints necessitated extreme organization.

IMG_0155.JPG

Yes, it is a pain to manage, but it's nice for quickly grabbing an obscure ingredient. And I still have to store the overflow bottles elsewhere.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Can you explain a bit more about what's in those bottles? Are you using them just for various syrups and infusions, or are you transferring some "normal" liquor to them for more compact storage?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Can you explain a bit more about what's in those bottles? Are you using them just for various syrups and infusions, or are you transferring some "normal" liquor to them for more compact storage?

I see Allspice Dram and Pernod. The % on the label for the Allspice Dram matches that of St. Elizabeth, so I'm assuming there's at least some re-bottling of commercial products going on in that picture. I do the same thing, though not to this level. Mostly just droppers of various absinthes or other liqueurs that I might not reach for very often except at a drop/dash level.


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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Right, I do the same thing with bitters (just ordered another batch of droppers yesterday, in fact), but I had never thought to do it with "normal" stuff as a way of addressing a space constraint. I don't think I could do it, but the idea is quite clever, if you ask me.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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It was also a cost-cutting decision for me. I saw the amount of $80/bottle absinthe I was frequently pouring down the sink while rinsing glasses to make Sazeracs and realized I needed a better way to control the amount that was going into the glass, so I just mimicked what I saw done at the fancier cocktailing establishments.


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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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For "rinsing" the inside of a glass, it's hard to beat an atomizer.


--

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For "rinsing" the inside of a glass, it's hard to beat an atomizer.

I was about to say the same thing - I always keep an atomizer of absinthe handy.

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Ditto on the atomizer.


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

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Yeah, that's a good point. Hate to be pouring ANY Marteau down the drain!

At home, I consider the few drops of Marteau to be the "angel's share" -- me being, in this rare case, the angel in question.

Evergreen, where'd you get those bottles?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Evergreen, where'd you get those bottles?

They look like they could have come from SpecialtyBottle.com.


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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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My spirits collection is mostly packed away for the week as we're having new floors installed (did you know that you can fit 60-odd bottles into the bathtub in a seldom-used bathroom? Too bad that's only about half of them) but I'm actively on the hunt for a decent piece of furniture to serve as its home. The Howard Miller pieces are hopelessly inadequate (and hopelessly wine-focused -- who other than NYC studio-dwellers keeps wine in their living room?) and repurposing old bookshelves (my current less-than-adequate solution) runs into The Maraschino Problem.

Now, I could stash the Luxardo in the kitchen, but that still leaves me a hundred-plus bottles I'd like to put in a particular corner between kitchen and dining room, ideally in a cabinet of some sort. Has anyone seen a decent freestanding piece of furniture that could accommodate the kinds of collections being discussed in this thread, or will I have to give up and have something built?


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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These particular bottles did come from Specialty Bottles. It is known as a "Quadra" bottle, and I've found it in 250ml and 500ml. Obviously 750ml would be handy, but I haven't found it. Similar bottles may be found elsewhere. They are cheap, but the shipping is expensive.

I would never do this if I had unlimited storage, but I don't. I also hosted a "liquor swap" with some local like-minded folks. The idea was to be able to obtain small quantities of ingredients that would either take you a long time to finish on your own (e.g. Creme de Violette, Pimento Dram), or go bad (e.g. Vermouth), or are hard to obtain (e.g. Fleur de Thym). It was fun, and the end result was a bunch of these bottles.

I had been constantly fighting to fit the round bottles into my cabinet space. The square bottles are incredibly space efficient. Plus you can see over the small ones to read the larger ones. It requires some juggling and relabeling as I buy new things, and have some partial bottles stored remotely. It is convenient for making drinks, however, because I can quickly get to a large number of ingredients, stored in a small space.

Another thing that I don't like is that some bottles are beautiful to look at, and you obviously lose that. Still, this method beats my previous struggles. I also tend to drink stuff up before buying a different bottle, which isn't a bad thing at this point. (Finish the Luxardo Bitter before opening another Campari -- do you really need both open at the same time?)

I also use the bottles for infusions. There's gin / Campari / Maraschino / Pineapple in that photo, but I'm pretty sure it won't last long. :)

I did a similar thing with squeeze bottles in the fridge for grenadine(s), shrub (the fruit/vinegar kind), simple, and other syrups.

As for rinsing and overpours -- if the drink is for me or my wife, I just drink it. Kind of like licking the beaters, but for adults.


Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Dudes, really, this is an opportunity for someone to go into business with the Acme Mini Rolling Bar.

Which will spawn the Acme Maxi Stationary Bar.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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