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What did you buy at the liquor store today? (2016 - )

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@Smokeydoke It's hard to make recommendations without knowing what you like to drink. This is assuming you are stocking for yourself and not guests. If you're not sure about Scotch, try something at at bar -- maybe a Rob Roy. At the most basic level, there are two main camps -- smokey and not. Given your user name, I'm guessing you like smoke?

You have Campari. If you like bitter things, there are lots of options to explore. Fernet Branca is quite bitter, but also quite minty (more menthol, I'd say). It is used in classic cocktails in very small amounts. Cynar is a wonderful alternative to Campari. Whereas Campari is bright and summery, Cyner is dark and autumnal.

 

You haven't mentioned vermouth. Get 375ml bottles when possible, especially of dry vermouth and keep it in the refrigerator. I like Dolin or Boissiere dry vermouth. For sweet, I love Punt e Mes, which is more bitter -- sort of a amaro / sweet vermouth hybrid. Vermouth and other aromatized wines taste quite different, but they don't last forever. Don't have too many open at once.

And with regard to brand, I find that with liqueurs, better brands are almost always worth it, for example Cointreau or Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao instead of your generic triple sec. With spirits there is a sweet spot. Better brands come through in cocktails, especially simple cocktails. But rougher, less refined brands or expressions sometime cut through the complexity of a cocktail. For example, lots here like Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac -- a higher proof somewhat cheaper alternative that works great in cocktails. For the same reason, I tend to like unaged tequila in cocktails -- the wood makes it taste less of tequila and more of whiskey.

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@EvergreenDan thanks for replying, to be honest, I was stocking for myself, but I'm open to new suggestions. Posting my liquor cabinet made me realize how sorely lacking I am in the whiskey and tequila department, which is ok by me, but not ok for guests, as they're are more likely to ask for whiskey than Creme de Violette. I got the Rittenhouse Rye mainly to round out my collection and it has great reviews everywhere.

 

Campari seems to be the new bourbon, everyone is into it and everyone makes drinks with it. You can't go to a high-end restaurant nowadays without seeing a Negroni on the menu. I'm trying to get used to it and see what the hype is about, but I don't dig Amaros yet. Is it fair to categorize them all as Amaros?

 

I do have a Martini and Rossi Dry Vermouth, unopened, but I might toss it and get a Dolin. But seeing that my vermouth isn't even opened yet, this is further down the list.

 

I'm trying to work through my cabinet (this may take a long time) and get rid of my more commercialized liquors and only buy recommended brands from cocktail books, I'll get there. I can't just throw everything down the sink, it's not my nature.

 

I think my next purchase will be Cointreau 750ml. It's time to upgrade. After that I'll see about getting another Amaro, the Punt e Mes sounds interesting, as does a Mezcal. 

 

Thanks for replying! And Smokey refers to my dog, not some recreational past time, although there's nothing wrong with that. ^_^


Edited by Smokeydoke (log)

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6 hours ago, EvergreenDan said:

If you're not sure about Scotch, try something at at bar -- maybe a Rob Roy. At the most basic level, there are two main camps -- smokey and not. 
 


I wanted so badly for that to be the case... and in truth, I'm sure it is. I'd heard the words "smoky" and "briny" mentioned in regards to Scotch and thought both things sounded like something really nice. But for me, what Scotch people refer to as "smoky" is more reminiscent of "emergency room-y". Like somebody decided infusing the spirit with bandages and iodine would be a good idea. And I still haven't encountered, in my admittedly narrow field of experience, anything I thought of as "briny". There's no way the large number of people who appreciate those qualities in Scotch can all be wrong so I've accepted that I just don't have the proper palate to appreciate it. I've had Scotches that I enjoyed very much but I've never encountered the above mentioned qualities in a manner that my mind associates with those words.

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40 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

But for me, what Scotch people refer to as "smoky" is more reminiscent of "emergency room-y".

 I am so with you. I love Scotch in many forms except the ones that smell and taste like Dettol.  

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On 1/26/2018 at 3:14 PM, FrogPrincesse said:

R&W crème de violette! You are going to have that bottle for a loooong time. :D

I think it's the only thing I have in my home bar that I have never had to restock, and it's still at least 80% full after many years of very active cocktail explorations...

I have a 20 year old bottle of Chambourd that's 3/4 full -- I think I bought it to flavor buttercream for a friend's wedding cake.  Color has rusted a bit and the fake gold is chipping off the cap, but it smells the same as always so I assume it's fine. 

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I swear I bought that Chambourd because I wanted the champagne corker, it came free with the liqueur, I use it all the time, the Chambourd isn't  even opened yet.

 

And not to be a Debby-know-it-all but I love my Creme de Violette, I think it'll get more use than a lot of other liqueurs in my cabinet.

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1 hour ago, PassionateAmateur said:

Very curious about the aloe liqueur. New experiments this weekend--woot!

 

Very interesting selection of bottles!  Please do keep us updated on your experiments!

 

9 minutes ago, Smokeydoke said:

And not to be a Debby-know-it-all but I love my Creme de Violette, I think it'll get more use than a lot of other liqueurs in my cabinet.

You, too!  Either in Drinks! or the Creme de Violette thread.  I would welcome new ideas for using some of my Creme de Violette.

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On 2/2/2018 at 10:34 AM, blue_dolphin said:

Very interesting selection of bottles!  Please do keep us updated on your experiments!

 

Some winners, some ok, no real losers in there.  Dorothy Parker gin is lovely but quite delicate -- easily lost in any cocktail more complex than a dry martini.  Tepache -- I loved the flavor profile, but there's a definite harsh quality to it that I would generally expect from cheaper bottles.  The Escubac, Skinos and Chareau were each amazing in their own ways, alone for sipping, and also standing tall in cocktails.  Particularly the Chareau -- who would have thought that aloe would make such a fantastic booze?  I think that is going to turn out to be one of those odd bottles that, when creating a new drink that just needs....SOMETHING to pull it together and make the other ingredients play like friends, a barspoon of aloe might be the answer.

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I've been really into Moscow Mules lately, (vodka, lime, and ginger beer) so the last thing I bought at the liquor store wasn't liquor but ginger beer. Fever Tree ginger beer is by far the most gingery of any brand I've tried.

fevertree.jpg

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I had to hop over the Tasman for a funeral this week, so took advantage:

 

Canberra.png

 

The two Jack Daniel's single barrel are duty-free and new to me, although I've had and enjoyed the lower proof single barrel bourbon before.  Before I got to the airport I didn't even know there was a single barrel rye.

 

The Chita is a restock, also from the duty free store.  Quite unwarranted really; we're nowhere near through our current bottle (but it's so good ...).

 

The Meletti is the newest addition to my amaro collection.  Not available in New Zealand, at least that I've found, but there's a company in Aussie (onlybitters.com) that has all manner of interesting things.  I'm still lacking at least one ingredient of this drink I want to try, but I'm getting close.

 

And finally, gin from a distillery in Canberra, where I was. A number of local botanicals; tastes good if a little alcoholically 'hot' from being bottled at 47%.  But it and the Meletti made an excellent Nerina this evening after I got back.

 

Big disappointment?  There's an Aussie gin distillery called Four Pillars who make a 'breakfast Negroni' marmalade from the gin-soaked oranges they have at the end of a distilling run, plus a slosh of Campari.  I got a jar and, thinking to make it easier for the agricultural inspectors when I got home, put it in my hand luggage.  Turns out, according to the Australian authorities, marmalade is classed as a gel so couldn't be taken on the plane.  Damn!

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That’s tragic about the gin marmalade. The same thing happened to me a few years ago with a collection of Hawaiian jams. And with French grainy mustard. I never considered these as “liquids”.

 

I have a bottle of Chita as well and really like it! I first tried it in a Japanese whisky advent calendar and decided to get a bottle.

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Smith & Cross and Beefeater are restocks. The Beam Pre-Prohibition rye I bought on impulse, based on how it did in the NY Times blind test discussed around here a while back. The Strega, Velvet Falernum, and Batavia Arrack are all new to me (though I've been using my homemade falernum for a while). I'm bringing cocktails to a dinner party tonight and the theme is Vietnamese food, so I'm taking the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity about the spirit from Southeast Asia. Planning to make Eulogies.

IMG_3641 1.png

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This Fall I bought some Wild Turkey Rye to use in my hot drinks.

When I went back for more the clerk at the liquor store informed me that they're no longer stocking it.

I really liked it andwonder what I should get instead. Suggestions?

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33 minutes ago, Craig E said:

The Strega, Velvet Falernum, and Batavia Arrack are all new to me (though I've been using my homemade falernum for a while).

 

Most likely, that is going to be a downgrade from the falernum you have been making. I know that Martin Cate recommends using it in his book, but for me I'd have a really hard time going back to that after making my own for years. I am curious to read your thoughts!

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16 minutes ago, lindag said:

This Fall I bought some Wild Turkey Rye to use in my hot drinks.

When I went back for more the clerk at the liquor store informed me that they're no longer stocking it.

I really liked it andwonder what I should get instead. Suggestions?

Rittenhouse or Bulleit rye are two reasonably-priced options, if they stock these.

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Strega has become almost an addiction for us. Go through the list of cocktails on Kindred that use it - you'll find much to like, I predict.

 

I'm jealous about the arrack. Can't get it here.

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On 4/13/2018 at 1:42 PM, FrogPrincesse said:

Most likely, that is going to be a downgrade from the falernum you have been making. I know that Martin Cate recommends using it in his book, but for me I'd have a really hard time going back to that after making my own for years. I am curious to read your thoughts!

 

Yes, I mostly bought the bottle because of this little secret: the falernum I made is about 4 years old. It shows no signs of degradation, but when making drinks for others I thought it prudent to get some fresher stuff. 

 

Tasted them against each other tonight. The Velvet Falernum is sweeter; there's lime if you look for it but mostly flavors of soda-pop syrup, and a sugary finish. The homemade, made from this recipe if memory serves, is a "rounder" and deeper flavor, definitely preferable but some of those subtleties may well evaporate in the context of complicated fruity drinks which are the usual setting for falernum. 

 

@lesliec you're right, the Strega is pretty wonderful. Since it's herbaceous and honeyish, I just tasted it next to Drambuie, but the latter is far more generic and boring. I think it might be fun to try in some recipes that call for Drambuie, as well as Yellow Chartreuse. 

 

Happy to play with the Batavia Arrack too!

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Strega is definitely a fun sub in for yellow chartreuse.  

 

I'm going to have to try making my own falernum as well... though the bottle on my shelf has not been seeing much use, so I wonder if it is worth the bother... but the joy of homemade is that I control the batch size.

 

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Oh, and Smokeydoke-  Your thoughts back in January about scotch and mezcal brought to mind the observation that those two spirits are very much alike in their intensity and potential to be very smokey.  Both are stuff you'd need to try in small portions before dropping the dough on a full bottle of something you might not like... some scotches are very polarizing... Some people love Ardbeg ... but I find it has a disturbing undertone of low tide to it that I just don't like.  Probably gets it from being aged in a coastal warehouse rather than inland.  There are lots of categories of scotch, so make sure not to give up on the whole scotch thing just because one of the categories doesn't make your taste buds dance.  Mezcal is similarly differentiated, though more uniformly smokey, I think... 

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Posted (edited)

@cdh I bought a bottle of mezcal earlier this year, I forgot the brand (I'm at work) and I enjoyed it, much more than tequila or scotch, which I do not have an appreciation for. But I do like bourbon. A lot.


Edited by Smokeydoke (log)
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Posted (edited)

Good pick, Del Maguey makes good stuff.  I've had the drink at D&Co.... it's nice.  I've never tried the Crema de Mezcal... did you also add the agave syrup?


Edited by cdh (log)
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Posted (edited)

image.thumb.png.b7d886afa6ba4471bcbeabdb91ddce6f.png

 

Everything except the Dillon and La Favorite were bought in the last week, along with Paranubes Oaxacan cane juice rum (54%, dirty AF in the best way possible) and Two James Doctor Bird Jamaican rum (Worthy Park, good, 50% ABV).

 

Can you tell I'm doing research for 'ti punch?

 


Edited by Hassouni (log)
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