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Chris Amirault

The Ten-Bottle Start-up Home Cocktail Bar

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American straight rye whiskey is not 100% rye, by the way, but there is no blending allowed.

You mean "not necessarily 100% rye," don't you? Anchor's Old Potrero line of whiskeys, for instance, all have 100% rye, as I understand it.

Christopher

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The Alberta products would best be described as "Canadian blended whiskies made with 100% rye." They don't have much in common with straight rye whiskey.

Isn't that what I said?

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Ok, so no rye and no maraschino + very limited selections of most other things... I'm lovin' the LCBO. On a brighter note, I ordered a ridiculous selection of bitters!

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Here in BC I had the same problem with the Maraschino drought. Turns out that Luxardo can be had by persuading a non-government liquor store to special order a 6 bottle case [minimum order]. I won't bore you with the tales of hassle involved, but it might be worth some digging. The stuff is wonderful, & not capable of substitution with anything else available here.

I sold a few of the bottles to other local eGulleteers at cost, so that might be an option for you locally.

Want to go halves on a case of rye? :biggrin:

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A reasonable bar might include:

Green Chartreuse

Yellow Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse VEP

Yellow Chartreuse VEP

Elixir Vegetal

Luxardo Maraschino

3 bottles of Junipero Gin

Thomas Handy

And again, that's for starters. We could get into more serious things down the road.

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Here in BC I had the same problem with the Maraschino drought. Turns out that Luxardo can be had by persuading a non-government liquor store to special order a 6 bottle case [minimum order]. I won't bore you with the tales of hassle involved, but it might be worth some digging. The stuff is wonderful, & not capable of substitution with anything else available here.

I sold a few of the bottles to other local eGulleteers at cost, so that might be an option for you locally.

Want to go halves on a case of rye? :biggrin:

There is no such critter as a non-government liquor store here and I can rarely persuade the local LCBO to order in stuff that they do carry in their other stores so something they don't carry isn't going to happen. The rye would be a yes but BC is a long trip for a few bottles of booze so I guess that's out too.

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I had this very problem when I first started getting into cocktails. The wisdom I read at the time was to pick up all the bottles you would need to make a favourite drink, and then start seeing what else you could make with the bottles in that set. Since I didn't have a favourite drink at the time, and I was still young enough to remember when I thought Smirnoff Green Apple Twist was a good thing to keep in the freezer, that didn't help me much. I finally ended up going out and buying the following bottles though:

Appleton Estate Gold Rum

Gosling's Black Seal Rum

Bombay Sapphire Gin

Herradura Añejo Tequila

Southern Comfort (for the all important Alabama Slammer)

Cheap Vodka (run through a Brita filter and then used for infusions)

Gentleman Jack

Campari

Bailey's Irish Cream

Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

I edited this list down, because I went to BevMo! and bought a case full of bottles, but these were the 10 that I ended up using the most to start out with. Of course, now my liquor cabinet fills the hall closet and half of my bedroom closet, but these were the humble beginnings.

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Just want to thank everyone for this thread! I'm throwing a party for my husband and decided to stock an actual selection of choices, rather than whatever we had at hand. We and most of our friends mainly drink beer and wine, but the occasional cocktail should not be neglected.

Here's what we started out with - largely inherited from a relative who was moving:

Bushmills Irish whiskey

Old Forester bourbon

Some random brandy which appears to be Israeli

Tequila

Rums - several, including St. James (and various other old bottles), Myer's and Gosling's

Scotch

Absolut Citron

Blue Curacao (does it taste the same as orange or different?)

Kahlua

Campari

Jack Daniels

Small remaining amount of Grand Marnier

Angostura and other bitters, and Rose's lime and grenadine

I have now added, thanks to your suggestions, the following:

Cognac - Jacques Cardin VSOP I had not heard of this brand, but the liquor store owner recommended it - I'd be interested in your thoughts

Chambord

Cointreau

Domaine de Canton (I got that due to discussion on various blogs)

Gin - Tanqueray

Vermouth - Noilly Prat and a small bottle of cheap sweet vermouth

Here in VA we have state liquor stores, and ours did not have maraschino liquor or falernum. Maybe I'll pick some up in MD at some point. Decided not to get cachaca or rye for now. I will be juicing a lot of citrus before the party, to make a double recipe of Regent's Punch. Do you all have juicers? Or do you just use a manual citrus reamer?

Thanks again!

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I have been filling in my home bar to be more well rounded (Just got back from K&L in Hollywood). The last couple are still open. I admit to mostly sipping straight, although I do love classic cocktails. Maybe not the cheapest list, but I think a value list anyway.

1 Herradura blanco

2 Wild Turkey 101 Rye

3 Ron Zacapa 23

4 Flor de Cana

5 Prunier Liqueur d'Orange

6 Calvados LeCompte

7 Lillet (instead of white vermouth)

8 Dolin Vermouth Rouge

9 Gin * most likly Hendricks, although I'd like to try Junipero

10 Scotch *likly something from bowmore. Legend is a good blended

11 ? I see Maracino liqueur on a lot of list should I pick some up?

Mixers: Citrus, soda, tonic, frozen fruit purees

Am I missing anything major?

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I'd add Campari as my next bottle. It's great by itself (soda or tonic, plus lime), goes into a some classics like a Negroni, Americano, Old Pal, Grapefruit/Campari Kir (Campari, Grapefruit, Orange Liqueur, Fizzy wine), Rosita, Jasmine, Boulevardier, Corpse Reviver #3). It's also great drizzled on a little sorbet (maybe lemon or grapefruit).

It will also expand your palette and open a new bitter world. You may not like it the first few times you try it, though.

If I were to make a bar for my needs, I could live with just:

Gin

Vermouth

Good Scotch

Campari

Plus for guests:

Tequila (or maybe Rum)

Cointreau

From this, I could make Scotch, Martini, Campari & Soda, and Gin & Tonic, plus a Margarita for guests. I can combine Gin or Tequila with Campari and/or Cointreau and/or acid and/or citrus juices and/or soda for more variations. The next two bottles would be bourbon and sweet vermouth, with would give me another neat option and a Manhattan and a bitter Manhattan (with Campari) and a Negroni and an Old Fashioned.

I can make all sorts of girly drinks for guests by mixing with fresh fruit juice (orange, grapefruit, raspberry puree, etc).

This would, of course, take all the fun out of enthusiastic drink-making. There is, I think, a critical mass of ingredients where suddenly you can make (or approximate) most of the drinks you read about on forums and in books -- at least most of the ones that would interest you. I don't have Apple Pucker, so no Appletini for me. I'll sleep OK tonight with that loss. But I do have Maraschino.

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What's Maraschino used for? It seems to be on a lot of lists and I've barely ever heard of it, let alone tasted or used it...

must be pretty versatile in a lot of cocktails...?

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Maraschino is a wonderfully funky liqueur. I've never really thought about it before, but if I were going to list my liqueurs in order of importance to me:

Triple Sec/Curacao (Obviously not the same thing, but we are talking desert island here)

Maraschino

Campari

Green Chartreuse (I don't know if a 110 proof drink is technically a liqueur)

These are the only 4 I probably couldn't do without; the rest I'd list in this order:

Falernum

Benedictine

Cherry Heering

Apry

Peach Brandy (For fish house punch if nothing else)

Cacao

Menthe

Cassis

Fernet (I'm probably a heretic, but not a big lover)

Violette

Allspice Dram (Neither of these last two are crucial, but at least an Aviation is a great drink - I don't reach for the Allspice that often)

All the famous stuff I rarely if ever use (Baileys, Kahlua, Amaretto, etc.)

Anyways, the most striking thing to me was the gulf between the top 4 and everything else.

Interested to hear other people's takes - I'm sure I'm missing something obvious (also, I'm sure I'm butchering a strict definition of liqueur, but that's how I think of most of this category - also I haven't bothered to duplicate categories really - e.g. Campari is standing in for Aperol, Cynar, etc.).


Edited by bmdaniel (log)

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Maraschino is a wonderfully funky liqueur. I've never really thought about it before, but if I were going to list my liqueurs in order of importance to me:

Triple Sec/Curacao (Obviously not the same thing, but we are talking desert island here)

Maraschino

Campari

Green Chartreuse (I don't know if a 110 proof drink is technically a liqueur)

These are the only 4 I probably couldn't do without; the rest I'd list in this order:

...snip...

Anyways, the most striking thing to me was the gulf between the top 4 and everything else.

Interested to hear other people's takes - I'm sure I'm missing something obvious (also, I'm sure I'm butchering a strict definition of liqueur, but that's how I think of most of this category - also I haven't bothered to duplicate categories really - e.g. Campari is standing in for Aperol, Cynar, etc.).

Agree totally about the Campari. As far as the runners-up go, I don't have access to many of them but Cassis is high on my list and I'd add some pastis or absenthe, a coffee liqueur, and probably Drambuie as being good to have. Amaretto, too, if only for making cheesecake.

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Interesting no one's mentioned St. Germaine. I'd sure put it in the Top 10, or at least a close 10.5 or 11.

I'd for SURE put it before Cherry Herring or Benadictine, although I love both of them, in their places.

St. Germaine, for me, comes right after Cointreau/Grand Marnier and Maraschino. Couldn't stock my bar without it.

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I wonder if Cherry Heering were released in 2007 and St Germain in 1818, we'd all be oohing and aahing over Cherry Heering Sidecars and the like and letting St Germain cocktails slip into oblivion. I just tasted the two and St Germain has a very pure flavor and Cherry Heering is quite complex.

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This has been one of the most helpful threads on egullet for me. I've learned quite a lot in the cooking and pastry forums but I'm comfy in those departments anyway, this cocktail stuff is a new venture for me. This thread has made me completely rethink my approach to building my home cocktail bar. Things that I thought I needed/wanted have been re-thought, brands marketing made me think I needed/wanted have been re-evaluated. To make things even better, I may possibly be getting my hands on a couple bottles of maraschino. It's currently showing in stock in some of the vintages stores and the local store has agreed to try to get some sent in for me.

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And just to prove that miracles can happen, I now have two bottles of Luxardo Maraschino in my cabinet here in remote, small-town northern Ontario thanks to the persistence of an employee at the local LCBO. He located the vintages stores down south that have a few bottles in stock and kept at them with emails until one agreed to send a couple bottles of the very limited stock available. I have a slightly guilty feeling that I won't be very generous about breaking it out when friends are over for drinks. :biggrin:

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I have a slightly guilty feeling that I won't be very generous about breaking it out when friends are over for drinks. :biggrin:

Oh, a little maraschino goes a long way...you'll be having Aviation parties in no time, trying to get rid of that extra bottle to make space in your liquor cabinet.

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Just joined egullet. I've had a blog for the past year to this very end, although my list includes twelve bottles. It's not that dissimilar from the original post. I was unaware of that list until I came here, having taken more inspiration from H.i. William's "3 Bottle Bar" of yore. Here's what I came up with -- some of which I included to make the bar more interesting.

Kubler Absinthe

Remy Martin VSOP

Bols Genever

Leopold's Gin

Orange Liqueur

Pusser's Rum

Rittenhouse BiB Rye

Redbreast Irish Whiskey

Bitters - Angostura

Bitters - Peychaud's

Vermouth - Dry

Vermouth - Sweet

So far, I'm far from running out of drinks to make. When asked, both Ted Haigh and Gaz Regan have said they'd replace the Irish Whiskey, but it's one of the more popular bottles among the readers.

If I had to pair it down to ten, I'd probably lose the Bols and the Peychaud's (tough choices).

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Welcome to eGullet 12BB. I think your list fits because IMO the bitters shouldn't count. Not sure I could live without Campari but, hey, it's your list not mine.

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Haresfur, I've gotten that comment a lot on the bitters. I count them only because my the focus of my list and my site is on non-cocktailian. I have a lot of friends who, when given a proper drink, love it but are completely baffled by the concept of making it. Their home bars typically consist of a good bottle of vodka (which someone gave them at Christmas), a bottle of Cointreau or Gran Marnier (which they bought for cooking), cheap dry vermouth (also for cooking), and a Costco-sized bottle of Cuervo Gold. So, I counted the bitters (and vermouths) because they were items I felt that people might need to go out and buy and learn about.

And, thanks for the welcome. As for the Campari, not being able to do a Negroni is a sore sport for me. I am going to try a Negroni-esque highball with Sanbitter instead, though. Anyone tried that yet?


Edited by 12BottleBar (log)

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Bar Cali...

Gin

Midori

Light Rum

Limoncello

Shouchuu (non-potato or it'd just be like vodka)

Tequila

Triple sec

Vermouth

Vodka

Whisky

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Oh, a little maraschino goes a long way...you'll be having Aviation parties in no time, trying to get rid of that extra bottle to make space in your liquor cabinet.

Sounds fun... unfortunately creme de violette is still on my unavailable-where-I-live list.

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Bar Cali...

Gin

Midori

Light Rum

Limoncello

Shouchuu (non-potato or it'd just be like vodka)

Tequila

Triple sec

Vermouth

Vodka

Whisky

Why Midori?

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Bar Cali...

Gin

Midori

Light Rum

Limoncello

Shouchuu (non-potato or it'd just be like vodka)

Tequila

Triple sec

Vermouth

Vodka

Whisky

Why Midori?

And while we're on the subject, I'd be curious to hear more about the shouchuu. I had several imo-jouchuu when I was in Kagoshima in May, and none of them tasted anything like vodka! Which is to say, they all had a flavour.

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