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Chris Amirault

The Ten-Bottle Start-up Home Cocktail Bar

96 posts in this topic

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?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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)


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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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.

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

You?

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

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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.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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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.

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Bumping this back up. Additions? Edits?

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


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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....

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


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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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


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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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:


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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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

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.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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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.

- Avery


Avery Glasser

Bittermens, Inc. - Producers of Bittermens Bitters & Extracts

Bittermens Spirits, Inc. - Purveyors of Small Batch Bitter Liqueurs

Vendetta Spirits, LLC. - Nano-Importer of Hand-Produced Spirits

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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.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Mine?

Nine .75L bottles of Beefeater.

One .375L bottle dry vermouth

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Beefeater gin

Campari

Carpano Antica formula

luxardo maraschino

absinthe

Cointreu

Lillet Blanc

Cognac

Arrete reposado tequila

havana club 5yr


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Tanqueray gin

Bacardi 151 rum

Wild Turkey rye

Cointreau

Pernod

Vya sweet vermouth

Vya dry vermouth

Angostura bitters

creme de menthe

orange bitters

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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:


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Despite the fact that this:

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

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?


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Gin (Plymouth)

Rye

Scotch (Oban)

Vya (sweet vermouth)

Laird's Applejack

Cointreau

Lillet Blanc

Appleton Rum

Tequila

Angostura

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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.

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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.

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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


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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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.


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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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.

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