Liquor List For Home Bar

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Liquor List For Home Bar

Now, stocking a great home bar is really not that hard to do. It is just based on how much you can afford to spend, and how large you want your arsenal to be. If you have a lot of money to blow and want a top notch bar with the finest curated liquors, then by all means, go forth (also, let’s be friends). However, you can also achieve a successful bar at home filled with the components that you’ll need to make a wonderful selection of drinks without costing you an inordinate sum of cash. However much money you have to spend on creating the perfect home bar, you’ll need to start with the basics. We’ve come up with a grocery list of essentials you’ll need to stock your home bar depending on your budget.

Liquor List For Home Bar

We got in touch with some of the best bartenders in the business to walk us through the proverbial liquor aisle: Paul Calvert from Atlanta's Ticonderoga Club, Brooklyn's Grand Army's Damon Boelte, and BA deputy editor Andrew Knowlton (a man who knows his booze). Here are their favorite bottles in each major booze category, for drinking neat or on the rocks, as well as mixing. Some varieties of alcohol aren't great sipped, so you can squeeze buy with a “middle of the road” bottle that's smooth and tasty, but also not too fancy to be mixed. It's also worth seeking out help from your local liquor store—if you can't find these bottles, they can be special-ordered. Additionally, the staff will likely have some great suggestions for their favorite picks (bonus points for local distilleries).

Liquor List For Home Bar

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Vodka. An excellent liquor for doing shots with singing babushkas or for mixing into popular cocktails like Bloody Marys and Cosmopolitans. Vodka doesn’t have a strong color, taste, or aroma, so it makes for a perfect mixing liquor. The differences between vodka brands comes down to what they’re distilled from (potatoes, grains, sugar cane) and their texture in the mouth. Some (like Absolut) have an oily, silky texture while others (like Stolichnaya) have a watery, medicinal finish.

Liquor List For Home Bar

Without going low on the liquor shelf, we’ve assembled a list of fifteen recommendations under $50 that will keep you experimenting and mixing up a variety of classic and modern cocktails at home without completely breaking the bank. While it isn’t a complete list, leaving off a multitude of cordials and even some more basics spirits, it’s a good place for any home bartender to get started with classic recipes.

Liquor List For Home Bar

Home Bar Rule #1: Pick alcohol you actually enjoy imbibing. When I first started my own home bar, I only picked spirits that I thought would impress guests when I had them over. I ended up spending a fortune for alcohol that I hardly ever used. While you’ll use your home bar for entertaining, don’t forget that a home bar’s main customer is you. When you mix yourself a cocktail to sip on the weekends while you sit on the patio with your dog, you want to enjoy it. The dog doesn’t care what your favorite gin is. That is of course if this pooch isn’t your dog. He’s so smug.

Liquor List For Home Bar

Remember Home Bar Rule #2: Start small. If you don’t have room or any place to store your home bar, keep your home bar small. Pick two or three different liquors and stick with those. When I was in an apartment, I kept my small bar in a cabinet above the fridge, and I kept my mixers and garnishes in the fridge.

Liquor List For Home Bar

Sure, we love a good cocktail bar. But we've got to be honest: Sometimes, there's nothing better than coming home after a long day of work, pulling on pajamas, and knocking back a stiff drink in the privacy of your own living room. But at-home happy hour doesn't have to mean that same bottle of Pinot you always buy or yet another six-pack of Oktoberfest. Sometimes, nothing less than hard liquor will do. But with so many bottles of booze out there, how can you tell what's worth the investment?

Liquor List For Home Bar

You’re gonna need more than just an arsenal of liquor to have a truly perfect home bar. However, the extra stuff is easy to acquire and, odds are, you probably have most of this stuff lying around in your kitchen already! Here are some surefire ingredient basics you’ll want to keep around to make an impressive array of drinks.

See? A not too shabby price tag for a pretty sweet (and very well-stocked!) home bar. We’d call that a win-win situation in our book. And, once you’ve got all your glassware and bar tools together, the cost of stocking your bar only gets cheaper from there on out. Now all you need to do is get shopping, learn some bar terms and signature cocktail recipes (Google can seriously be your best friend here), and invite over all your friends to show off your inner bartender.

Whiskey: Ah, whiskey. A good whiskey can soothe any man’s soul and is necessary when musing over deep, manly thoughts that only a strong liquor can assuage. For a solid bar, you’ll want to have both bourbon (the sweeter variety of whiskey) and rye (a little spicier) whiskey in your arsenal. A scotch whiskey wouldn’t be too bad to keep around, either.

If you do move into a bigger place and you’ve really enjoyed being a home mixologist, then I can’t recommend installing a permanent home bar in your home enough. Many homes today come with wet bars and storage space for a home bar. If you don’t have that, with a little initiative and sweat, you can install your own bar in an unused room in the house.

If you’d like something a bit more distinguished than your kitchen cabinet to serve as the home for your home bar, consider getting a cocktail cabinet or mini bar. They’re small pieces of handsome furniture that you can usually put up against the wall. They’re nice because they can serve as a gathering point without having a huge bar installed in your home. Cocktail cabinets take up very little space, but can hold quite a bit of alcohol and glassware. I have friend who picked up a vintage cocktail cabinet at the antique store. It was a bit rough, but with a bit of elbow grease he was able to spruce it up. Here’s a nice example of a retro cocktail cabinet from the 50s:

There are few things more enjoyable than having a properly stocked bar in the comfort of your own home. We’re not talking about having one go-to bottle stashed away in the back of your freezer and a 6-pack of beer that you picked up on your way home from work. What you need, friends, is a solid bar stocked with the basics so you can entertain (and impress) guests, as well as treat yourself to the gift of a properly mixed drink. Starting a home bar may seem daunting or superfluous, but when your lady friend (or your boss or anyone else that needs to be impressed) comes over and you can artfully craft for her a cocktail of her choosing, you’ll surely be glad you took our advice. We’re not saying that procuring the perfect Moscow Mule or Gimlet for your lady or your boss is guaranteed to help you score that second date or that promotion… but we’re not not saying that, either.

There are many pre-bottled mixes that allow you add a base spirit to like Bloody Mary Mix and Pina Colada Mix that are available at any store that stocks liquor. These are alternatives to mixing your own cocktails from scratch and, while they are okay, they tend to leave something to be desired in the taste department.

All the supplies you just dropped a dime on don't matter if you don't know how to use them. Most drinks just require following instructions, though, and the good thing about liquor is it's pretty forgiving. You can always add more booze if it's too weak, or stop being a baby about the strong ones and just kick it back. You know what I mean.

4 & 5. Tequila (Silver & Gold)The good folks at 12 Bottle Bar have based an entire cocktail blog on the idea that a good bar can be complete with only 12 bottles. Tequila, however, was left off the list. Their justification? The only classic cocktail you can make with tequila is a margarita. Right – but where would we be without margaritas? (Look for bottles labeled “100 percent de agave” – anything else contains ‘fillers’ made from tequila-flavored grain alcohol. Gross.)

Rum: Make sure you have a white rum in your home bar, which is quintessential for mixing many cocktails. For punches, dark rum is key. If this home bar is for your personal use, white rum will do you just fine. If you plan to throw a party, add a dark rum into the mix.

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