Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Crusty Bar

Since starting this cocktail adventure a couple of months ago, I have been seeking to fill out my home bar to the point where I had what I would consider all of the "essentials" - basically 90% of the ingredients I would need to make any random cocktail that caught my eye in a magazine, or I saw mentioned on line. That turned out to be a lot more labor, time, space, and funding intensive than I first thought. While you can certainly have what would be considered a fully stocked bar with just a few key bottles (Imbibe magazine recently had a great article suggesting what a good starting "home bar" consists of), creating one which enables you to really experiment with a wide range of classic and new cocktails is no small undertaking. And it can get ridiculous - just to represent the various styles and cross-sections of gin could take up 15 bottles - and that's assuming you skip the gin-n-juice variants (sorry Snoop).

I had a relatively decent stock on hand already - mostly from gifts, or bottles I bought here and there for parties or for my own use (which mostly consisted of bourbon). So filling in around that base was something which took a bit of research (through blogs, magazines, and cocktail books). Here is my current listing of spirits and supporting items on hand, along with a list of things which I have on my "to get" list.

Absolut New Orleans Vodka
Tito's Handmade Vodka
Stoliychnaya Vodka
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
Hendrick's Gin
Bacardi Superior White Rum
Cruzan Black Strap Rum
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Appleton Estate V/X Rum
Sauza Commemorativo Anejo Tequila
Patron Silver Tequila
Whiskey / Whisky
Johnny Walker Red Blended Scotch
Johnny Walker Black Blended Scotch
Wasmund's Red Single Malt Whisky
Wasmund's Silver Single Malt Whisky
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Maker's Mark Bourbon
Jim Beam Rye Whiskey
Others (ok, I got lazy with the labels)
Southern Comfort
Laird's Applejack
Berentzen Apfelkorn Apple Liquer
Drysack Sherry
Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porto
Kelt Tour du Mond VSOP Cognac
Barsol Pisco
Lillet Blanc
Lillet Rouge
Martini & Rossi Vermouth Rosso
Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth
Punt e Mes
Campari Liqueur
Cynar Artichoke Liqueur
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Heering Cherry Liqueur
Stock Maraschino Liqueur
Kirschwasser Cherry Liqueur
Galliano Liqueur
Frangellico Liqueur
Drambuie Liqueur
Benedictine Liqueur
Cointreau Orange Liqueur
Kahlua Liqueur
Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
LeTourment Vert Absinthe
Agua Luca Cachaca
DeKuyper Triple Sec
DeKuyper Creme de Cassis
DeKuyper Blue Curacao
DeKuyper Creme de Cocoa
Bols Blackberry Flavored Brandy (the bottle I have had the longest - no idea why)
Rumple Minze Peppermint Schnapps
Tres Agaves Agave Nectar
Korean Soju
Korean Blueberry Soju
Plum Gekkeikan Plum Wine
Hakushika Sake
Aalborg Akvavit
Angostura Bitters
Regan's Orange Bitters
Peychaud's Bitters
Rose's Grenadine

To Get
Absolut Citron
Chartreuse (Green and Yellow)
Sloe Gin
Fernet Branca

Of course there are others - do I need Ouzo? Are celery bitters really essential to my home imbibing needs? But that's the fun - reading about these spirits, their history, the drinks and personalities behind them - and then trying them out yourself. That's what interests me - that and having a nice drink as a byproduct. For even though a bad drink is (mostly) better than no drink at all, there is no excuse for a bad drink if you have the right ingredients, the right tools, and a willingness to experiment.

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