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Hassouni

Essential liqueurs?

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The only thing I'd add to your list is a good bottle of Cachaça. If you enjoy drinks that aren't too sweet and that allow their base spirits to shine, and you haven't had a Caipirinha (2 oz of spirit, over two limes sliced and muddled with a teensy dash of panela or raw sugar), you're missing out.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Although given the historical place of genever compared to gin perhaps it should be called The First Word!

Hah, or a "Let There Be Light"

I may use that actually.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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... - my half bottle of Cointreau has lasted about 2 years....

...Also what is the consensus on Cointreau vs other triple sec/Curaçao? Cointreau is great, but God it's expensive...

If that half bottle of Cointreau that's lasted you 2 years is too pricey, you should probably stay away from the Chartreuse :laugh: !

That said, I've found Chartreuse a most worthwhile investment. I bought it to try my hand at a Last Word as recommended above. I found that very tasty but I really, really like the Final Ward.

In fairness, It was mostly full at the start of the summer and I've really gone through most of it in the space of a few months...

Of course, the Last Word! A cocktail I've heard much about but never had. I'm sure the better mixology bars in DC can whip me up a good one. I have no issue with it being a powerful drink :smile: I couldn't imagine a full ounce of maraschino though..

That's because it doesn't. A Last Word is equal parts gin, maraschino, Green Chartreuse and lime juice. The usual going rate is .75 oz. of each.

Since you're in DC, I suggest you check out Ace Beverage on New Mexico Ave. up near American University. Great selection and you'll have no trouble finding splits of dry vermouth. As well as practically any rye you might be interested in trying.

Yep, already an Ace customer, great store.

The only thing I'd add to your list is a good bottle of Cachaça. If you enjoy drinks that aren't too sweet and that allow their base spirits to shine, and you haven't had a Caipirinha (2 oz of spirit, over two limes sliced and muddled with a teensy dash of panela or raw sugar), you're missing out.

I forgot to mention I have about a litre and a half of cachaça, and I make caipirinhas all the time when it's hot out.

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Hassouni, I can't add much besides hearty agreement to what others have said, but if you have that many rums you'll probably get into tiki drinks at some point, so a good quality orgeat (or homemade, for the hardcore, check out the orgeat thread

here) will be useful, and not at all expensive.

Much more expensive, but worth it in the long run, is a good quality absinthe. Like Chartreause, a little goes a long way and there's not easy substitute for the flavor, although people in the U.S. made do with Herbsaint for years. I assume you can get quite a selection of arak in Lebanon, but I have no idea how the flavor profile compares to Herbsaint or other pastis-type liquors.

Enjoy!


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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Me, I certainly lean heavily on Chartreuse (always have both yellow and green, but tend to use the green more), apricot liqueur (Rothman and Winter), but even moreso, Cynar is a major ingredient for me. Probably due more than anything to Rogue Beta Cocktails, which features a few absolute knockout cocktails featuring Cynar. (Favorite being "Growing Old and Dying Happy Is A Hope, Not an Inevitability", which as a cocktail, certainly earns it's long, long name.)

Christopher

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Yojimbo,

Orgeat is definitely on my list, and if I can't find a good all-natural source then I'm going to follow the homemade recipe on the 7-page orgeat thread. I really want to make a good Mai Tai, though as for other Tiki drinks, I'm not sure, as I'm not a big fan of anything juicy other than a small splash of lemon or lime.

I have a nearly full bottle of Lucid, which I deem to be "OK" (I've had several others at bars), but it works fine in Sazeracs and the occasionally times I do an absinthe drip. Arak really is no substitute, it's straight anise.

I also want to ask, although it deviates from the liqueur question, what's a decent, affordable brandy for making sidecars and numerous other drinks? Would a $20 VS Cognac typically work well? I've been making my sidecars with rum, which Robert Hess dubs an Outrigger.

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Some of this will depend on what you consider a "liqueur" and what you consider "essential." Things like Campari and absinthe are not, in my opinion, liqueurs.

The essentials:

  • Cointreau - this is the single most important liqueur in cocktails
  • Maraschino liqueur - Luxardo is the brand to have

After that come these, which will get plenty of of use:

  • Apricot liqueur - I prefer Apry but others prefer the Rothman & Winter product
  • Chartreuse - green is more important than yellow, but it's good to have both
  • Cherry brandy (sweet) - Cherry Heering is the classic, but I prefer Luxardo's Sangue Morlacco

Others for an expanded selection:

  • Amaretto - DiSaronno is the most well known brand, but Luxardo's is better
  • Barenschlager - good for tiki
  • Benedictine
  • Coffee liqueur - Kahlua is the most well know, but there are many brands out there
  • Creme de cacao - the Brizard bottling is best, IMO. Useful for the Twentieth Century cocktail and its derivatives
  • Creme de violette - when the R&W product first came out, everyone and their dog was making violet-flavored cocktails. That wore thin pretty quickly
  • Creme Yvette
  • Drambuie
  • Grand Marnier
  • Kummel
  • Orange curacao - both Senior Curacao of Curacao and the Brizard bottlings are good
  • St. Germaine - aptly described as "bartender's ketchup" but, like ketchup it has its uses
  • Vanilla liqueur - Cuarenta y Tres is a good one


Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I like to have:

Cointreau (side car, margarita)

Gran Marnier, Gran Galla, or other brandy based orange (fits better than Cointreau in a lot of rum drinks IMO. sub for Curaco)

Campari (americano, negroni and variations)

Fernet Branca (straight, in ginger beer, bitter,bitter,bitter,bitter)

Stones Ginger Wine (Whisky Mac, ginger envelope - a sidecar subbing the ginger for Cointreau, and a sub for Canton)

Sweet vermouth (when I open a new bottle I fill a clean beer bottle and cap it for later use)

Green Chartreuse (Widow's kiss - if you can live with the regrets the next day, and a dash of it or Benedictine is good in a Whisky Mac)

Benedictine (just because. and it's good for a sweet sip)

Pimento Dram (home made)

Maraschino (aviation)

absinthe (need my sazeracs and variations)

Cynar (on my first bottle and just starting to explore it)

I have others but those are most useful unless I've forgotten something. Note no dry vermouth. I'm not that big on it but would probably keep a bottle around if it didn't go off so fast. Besides Noily Pratt is insanely expensive here.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Oh man, I tried a Last Word last night at Tryst in DC, and man, what a superb cocktail. Chartreuse is definitely on my to-buy list now. Any similar recommendations for Benedictine?

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Oh man, I tried a Last Word last night at Tryst in DC, and man, what a superb cocktail. Chartreuse is definitely on my to-buy list now. Any similar recommendations for Benedictine?

You said you have some St Germain. Try this after you get the Green Chartreuse:

Elder Monk

by Dan Chadwick, Kindred Cocktrails

1/2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain

1/2 oz Bénédictine

1/2 oz Green Chartreuse

1 oz Lemon juice

1 twst Lemon peel (as garnish)

Shake, strain, rocks, low-ball

Or this:

Life Sentence

by Brian Vollmer at Roast in Detroit.

2 oz Rye

1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain

1/2 oz Bénédictine

1/2 oz Lemon juice

4 ds Rhubarb bitters

1 ds Angostura bitters

Shake, strain, serve straight up. Garnish with an orange peel

I thought the 4 dashes of Fee Rhubarb bitters was 1-2 too many. If you don't have Rhubarb Bitters, I think orange bitters would be a good sub.

There are a bunch of Benedictine recipes on Kindred Cocktails.


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

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You said you have some St Germain. Try this after you get the Green Chartreuse:

Elder Monk

by Dan Chadwick, Kindred Cocktrails

Or this:

Life Sentence

by Brian Vollmer at Roast in Detroit.

Dammit... I've managed to not worry too much over not having benedictine. The local store doesn't carry it, only B&B, and there always seems to be something else I want more when someone picks something up from out of town for me. Now I'll be worrying over not having it. Those sound tasty.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Katie Loeb subs B&B for Benedictine (when Benedictine is unavailable to her). If that's good enough for her, I bet it's good enough for the rest of us.

Also, here is a chowhound benedictine thread about this. Fred Yarm's postings look tempting, as does the Frisco Sour would be easy to make (Rye, Benedictine, Lemon).


Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

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

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Katie Loeb subs B&B for Benedictine (when Benedictine is unavailable to her). If that's good enough for her, I bet it's good enough for the rest of us...

That was because the PLCB, in their infinite wisdom, weren't carrying Benedictine in PA for several years. We could get B&B, but not Benedictine. Why, you ask? I still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer to that to this day. Benedictine has been back on the shelves in PA for almost a year now. I do prefer the genuine article when I am able to get it. If you're forced to sub B&B you may have to go a little lighter because the brandy gives it a heavier taste and a goodly dose of wood. It'll work in a pinch, but the real deal balances more easily.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Oh man, I tried a Last Word last night at Tryst in DC, and man, what a superb cocktail. Chartreuse is definitely on my to-buy list now. Any similar recommendations for Benedictine?

I recently played around with the Chrysanthemum cocktail which can be found in the Savoy Cocktail thread.

The Drinkboy website and many other sites have a similar recipe:

1 1/2 ounce dry vermouth

3/4 ounce Benedictine

3 dash absinthe

Garnish: Orange twist.

Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

But this recipe from CocktailDB is a good bit different and says:

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

1 oz dry vermouth (3 cl, 1/4 gills) - I used NP dry

1 oz Benedictine (3 cl, 1/4 gills)

1/2 oz pastis (1.5 cl, 1/8 gills) - I used Herbsaint

Add orange peel

Not sure where exactly that recipe comes from but they are pretty different!

My reprinted copy of the Savoy Cocktail book is basically the same as the first one except it says to shake instead of strain. I think most sites use the first ratio and suggest stirring rather than shaking. I tried it both ways. For the pastis 3 dashes for me was about 2/5 teaspoon (2.1 ml) as compared to 15 ml for 1/2 oz. I used Herbsaint but absinthe or most any pastis would probably do although it can certainly have an impact on the drink. That plus the 2:1 ration versus a 1:1 ratio make them different drinks. The 1:1 ratio makes the Benedictine stand out a good deal more and if I had to choose I would probably lean towards that one. The other version is a little lighter in taste to me and less "herbal".


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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I can be patient when I want to. :biggrin: I'll just wait until I or someone I know goes to the Store That Carries (almost) Everything LCBO, which is about 5 hours away but in a city frequently visited by people where I live, and get the Benedictine.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Everyone with state- or province-run alcohol monopolies really gets my sympathy. I live in Virginia, where the state-controlled stores SUCK. They have a ton of whisky and vodka, and I'm positive they have Chartreuse, Benedictine, and the like, but their gin and rum selection is terrible, their liqueur selection not great, and their prices are ghastly. Thankfully, I live a few minutes from DC and Maryland, which offer a lot more choice and much better prices. Strangely, the Montgomery County (Maryland) liquor monopoly is the cheapest place anywhere, with a much better selection than VA.


Edited by Hassouni (log)

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The main problem for me is the "essentials" list never stops growing. A couple years ago, my alcohol-related essentials were beer, gin and more beer. Now every time I think I'm almost happy with what I have, I find several drinks that sound great and require something I don't have.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Like any academic foray into sciences, it's the lab work that's the hardest part with the biggest payoffs. Think of it as stocking the laboratory. :biggrin:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The main problem for me is the "essentials" list never stops growing. A couple years ago, my alcohol-related essentials were beer, gin and more beer. Now every time I think I'm almost happy with what I have, I find several drinks that sound great and require something I don't have.

Boy, do I know that problem! And it can quickly become an obsession if one is not careful.

2-3 years ago or so I had a very limited liquor cabinet. Kind of one of every base liquor to satisfy guests and a handful of Bols/DeKuyper type liqueurs. Never owned or even knew much about bitters for example. Then I got interested in all things tequila. That was followed by gin and classic cocktails in general.

I just cleaned up my liquor cabinet inventory list and was surprised to see that I have over 150 different bottles of "stuff" to include more than 50 different liqueurs alone!

I am also now the proud owner, and regular user, of 9 different bitters.

And that doesn't even include beer and wine. Or Romulan Ale...

I was not careful.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Also what is the consensus on Cointreau vs other triple sec/Curaçao? Cointreau is great, but God it's expensive...

Worth every penny.

The more recently available Combier is equally excellent in every way and a few bucks cheaper. Nothing wrong with Cointreau of course but more than a few bar folks I know and work with have found reason enough to switch to Combier and 86 the Cointreau.

I was out doing errands yesterday and thought I'd pick up some Combier to compare but Combier was $39.99 for 750ml while Cointreau was $31.99 for a liter so I went with the old familiar.

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That's an incredible price! The only time I've gotten it cheaper was at the frat boy liquor store that was mistakenly ringing up their 750s at the 375ml price.


 

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It seems like Cointreau has come down a bit in price recently for whatever reason at least locally while Combier has drifted up a bit. I last bought Cointreau for about $30 for 750ml on sale while the Combier was $31 for 750ml.

Made it an easy choice for me.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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The Luxardo Triplum is usually about $8 less per bottle than the Cointreau and I consistently choose it over Cointreau in blind taste comparisons. It's very much a Cointreau-alike and substitutes seamlessly. I love the Combier too, but I find it a bit less laser beam orange-y and quite a bit more orange blossom floral, which is fine for certain applications.


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I wonder if Combier is trying to position itself as a more premium product at retail while being cost-competitive to bars. I haven't actually bought any at retail but from a cost perspective, at least locally, the Combier wins. And we like it a lot down here.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I also want to ask, although it deviates from the liqueur question, what's a decent, affordable brandy for making sidecars and numerous other drinks? Would a $20 VS Cognac typically work well? I've been making my sidecars with rum, which Robert Hess dubs an Outrigger.

Hassouni,

Spliflicator and others have recommended Paul Mason VSOP, which I believe is a mix of French cognac and California brandy, Chalfonte also gets mentioned. Of course, it won't be the same as a true VSOP; but whether one considers a fine cognac a luxury or a necessity is, of course, a matter of personal conviction!

And just to keep the thread going, while I wouldn't call applejack or calvados as essential as a lot of what's been mentioned so far, it's hard to imagine fall and winter without something apple-ish in the liquor cabinet, and I think of Laird's BIB as almost in the same category as Rittenhouse BIB regarding the price/quality ratio.


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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