This is How to Build the Best Bar with Cheap Spirits

More From This Series

From our Friends

  10 Comments.

Discussion

  • Barmaster posted 3 years ago

    I love the cheap liquor advice, but what am I supposed to use for a bar? The title "How to Build the Best Bar" lead me to believe I'd find something more.

  • biggary4545.f4109c3 posted 3 years ago

    For a Bourbon, I don't think you can beat Bulleit, Maker's Mark, Jim Beam Black, or Beam's Devil's Cut--all under $30 and smooth enough for sipping neat, and bold enough for mixing(for those that prefer it that way, I guess).Or even regular Jim Beam, still a great choice.

    Vodka? Smirnoff Triple Distilled, Ciroq, Skyy, Absolut--all under $30, as well.

    Gin--Tanqueray, Bombay--I think I'm the only one I know that drinks it, occasionally.

    Tequila--Cuervo 1800 Silver mixes well, something a bit more expensive for sipping is preferred.

    Scotch--Walker Black Label works well, but Glenfiddich is better.

    Mescal is for more daring drinkers, I think most drinkers are covered by this list, at least in my blue-collars circles.

    I notice most of these typw of lists are put together with Elijah Craig always in the lists. It's really just "OK" Bourbon as far as anyone I have ever met says, me included. But everyone has their own tastes, so no disrespect intended.

  • jb19821 posted 3 years ago

    interesting, will have to give a couple of these a try

  • alex.orr.733 posted 3 years ago

    I'll back your choices on the bourbon, tequila, rum, and vodka (assuming you want to buy a bottle of vodka), but I've got issues with the others. Plymouth routinely goes for over $30 a bottle in most parts, making it one of the priciest gins you can buy. The majority of gin cocktails call for London Dry, and Boodles is a classic example of the style that also has a nice restraint on the juniper notes. I can buy a half gallon for what it costs to buy a fifth of Plymouth and in drinks where I've subbed the former for the latter, no one has been able to tell a difference. For a rye, Old Overholt is pretty weak, not only in flavor but proof. Rittenhouse is about four bucks more and a far better spirit for sipping and most definitely for mixing. Next, while Glenmorangie is a nice entry level single-malt, it is oceans away from being peaty. Since so few drinks use Scotch, I'd suggest not even buying it for your home bar if you're on a budget, but if you must have some, go with Famous Grouse, which I find to be an excellent choice for most of the common Scotch cocktails, as well as being quite cheap and a decent blended sipper. Finally, if you only can have one sweet vermouth DO NOT make it Carpano. Yes, Carpano is terrific stuff, but it also quite expensive and has a very unique and aggressive flavor profile that certainly enhances some cocktails calling for sweet vermouth, but more often it tends to knock the drink out of balance and introduce flavors that were never accounted for when the drink was created. Your best bet is Dolin for both the sweet and dry vermouth, or Noilly Pratt if they're not available. Personally, I'd drop the bottles of Vodka and Scotch and buy a bottle of Cointreau and Campari instead.

  • TheTimothyBlack posted 3 years ago

    Otherwise a very nice list. I'd only say that since vodka is all the same pretty much, you can't beat a handle of Svedka for $20

  • TheTimothyBlack posted 3 years ago

    Glenmorangie is hardly peaty. C'mon man.

  • owl@comcast.net posted 3 years ago

    There are four types of gin in the world, 90% of which is London Dry Gin. The other three are Old Tom's gin, Dock Strength Gin and Plymouth gin (thus this comment). Dock Strength gin is distinguished by its proof, 115 by British Naval decree, the thought seeming to have been that the boats could carry less but have more! Plymouth gin can only be produced in Devon (by British law) and there is just a single producer of Plymouth Gin. London Dry Gins must be distilled to at least 70% ABV, must not contain any artificial ingredients, can not have any flavors or colorings added after the distillation process and can only include a minute amount of added sugar at the end if required. A sip of an Old Tom-style distillation offers an interesting look into the history of gin. By far the sweetest style of those mentioned, it's often referred to as "the missing link" between old-school Dutch genever (the sweet spirit from which modern gin originated), and the now popular London Gin.

    Originating in Britain during the 18th century, Old Tom was the traditional gin of choice for cocktails like the Tom Collins, Gin Rickey, and Martinez. The spirit all but died out in the middle part of the 20th century, though these days it's enjoying something a revival. The UK's Hayman Distillers today produce an Old Tom gin, which is botanical, full-bodied, and lightly sweetened. Hayman also produces dock strength and london dry gins.

    Thought this might be of interest.

  • dkfd3s posted 3 years ago

    There's a 375mL of Carpano Antica ~$16. That looks like a 375 price on Dolin, too. A home bar doesn't really need the 750s.

  • Hugh McNally posted 3 years ago

    I would like to know where Carpano Antica can be acquired for $16, and move there. Maybe Mr. Katz was thinking of Punt e Mes, though even that will be a little more.

  • chadarobinson posted 3 years ago

    Why no brandy recommendations? No Landy VS or some other brandy? How on earth would you make a Vieux Carre without brandy?


~ all comments loaded ~
Are you smarter than
your bartender?

Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.

Cocktails

Martinis
Bloody Mary
Margarita
Daiquiri
Manhattan
Punch
More Cocktails