Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

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watchnerd
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Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

You've got $1,000 to stock the liquors, liqueurs, amari, vermouths, bitters, and mixers.

What do you buy?

I'll start it off with some (not so budget friendly) bottles that I expect to last quite some time:

[Already own these]

Chartreuse: $84
Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac: $53
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao: $25
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur: $40
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
Plymouth Navy Strength Gin: $50
Siete Leguas Blanco: $58
Del Maguey Vida Mescal: $43
Scrappy's Orange Bitters: $21
Jack Rudy Demarara Syrup: $9.50

Total: $606.50

This leaves me $393.50 for base spirits for cocktails (london dry gin, vodka, high proof rye whiskey, high proof bourbon, blended scotch, blanco tequila, silver rum, dark rum), other amari (Camapari), vermouth, bitters, and other mixers.

So what would you buy?

[These are getting depleted]

P.S. Already have diminishing supplies of Bacardi silver, Three Plantations silver, Ketel One, Bulleit Rye, Wild Turkey 101, Arete blanco, Beefeater, Campari, Dolin dry, Cocchi di Torino, Angoustura bitters, and Peychaud's bitters.
Last edited by watchnerd on Tue May 14, 2024 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by MOKA »

Oh, I’m looking forward to this thread. I don’t have much to contribute though.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Just saw some great deals at Costco. I was in the Bourbon aisle.
Woodford reserve comes to mind.
I’m more interested in some unique cocktail recipes ;)
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Clever_Username »

You're planning for martinis and don't have Lillet Blanc? It's worth getting. It's about $25.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Raspberry-503 »

Lagavulin 16 years old $130

Done
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by ClaycordJCA »

This topic is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Clever_Username wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:51 pm You're planning for martinis and don't have Lillet Blanc? It's worth getting. It's about $25.
I don't usually make Vesper martinis.

And if I am going to make a Vesper, Cochi Americano is more similar to the original (no longer produced) Kina Lillet.
Last edited by watchnerd on Tue May 14, 2024 12:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Raspberry-503 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:08 am Lagavulin 16 years old $130

Done
For cocktails?

Seems like a waste for a Rob Roy.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Randolph Mortimer »

Double post
Last edited by Randolph Mortimer on Tue May 14, 2024 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Randolph Mortimer »

A few additional basics I haven't seen mentioned (all unpretentious and affordable):

Martin and Rossi vermouth, both sweet and dry

Campari and/or Aperol

Angostura bitters, both regular and orange

Beefeaters London Dry Gin

Barcardi rum

Any vodka really...we like Costco Kirkland brand French vodka

Old Forester 100 proof Kentucky bourbon

Old Forester 100 proof rye whiskey.

Johnny Walker Black is fine for scotch coctails

Not a big tequila drinker but we have Costco Kirkland Blanco tequila and Grand Marnier for the occasional margarita.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Randolph Mortimer »

Also....not a bottle but Luxardo cherries are a must for any home coctail bar, IMO
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Kosh976 »

I'm not much for cocktails and whiskeys, but Kahlua, Irish Creams and B&B are staples at my house,
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Jrob6 »

If you can track down Luxardo Triplum (their Triple Sec), it's a huge step up from base triple sec without going all the way to Cointreau. Fantastic with a Sidecar - transforms the cocktail. Only worth if for a Margarita if you're using better than average tequila.

I also love Aviations, so Crème de Violette for me.

Also worth investing in some great bitters - Dashfire has a great range. The right bitters can make all the difference between 'meh' and great.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by barnaclebob »

Nearly all Rye's and Bourbons in the $25-60 range will suffice. The best budget bourbon IMO is Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. 100 proof and taste great neat for under $20 a bottle. I prefer it to many more expensive offerings.

By high proof, do you mean ~100 proof or do you mean barrel strength (~120-130 proof)?

Vodka is all marketing once you get more expensive than Smirnoff (which is whats in my bar). I pretty much only drink vodka in bloody mary's though.

Tequila: Espalon

Dark rum: Cruzan. Dont be put off by the sub $20 price, it tastes great.

Sweet Vermouth: Carpano Antica. Expensive ($30/bottle) but easily the best. I wish costco still carried it.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Tue May 14, 2024 1:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Random Musings »

My question to the OP is, what would be your go to cocktail if you were on an island with only one choice? My island is nice, you get two choices.

Are you stocking Baileys, Coole Swan or Saint Brendan's?

I'll just have a Pepsi or Coke (real sugar, not HFCS) on ice. It appears that a lot of major manufacturers are tweaking up the fructose/glucose ratio closer to 65/35. Not that sugar is good for you either.

RM
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Ketawa »

watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
...
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
I would consider cutting these if on a budget for some other selections. Absinthe is only needed for a rinse for a few cocktails, although I've been using the same bottle of Pernod for almost 10 years. Fernet Branca and Amaro Nonino are niche ingredients. I have both and only use them in 1 or 2 drinks each. My home bar is over 60 bottles and I don't own an Old Tom gin.
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Jack Rudy Demarara Syrup: $9.50
You should make your own syrup, with the exception of orgeat. You can also make a great Demerara gum syrup if you have a sous vide machine.

Things I would prioritize, off the top of my head (some you already have):

Rittenhouse Rye
Wild Turkey 101
a "house" bourbon of your choosing for your standard Old Fashioned, I use Bulleit
Monkey Shoulder (or another blended scotch)
Islay whisky (Laphroaig 10 is affordable)
Irish whiskey
Tanqueray or a similar juniper-heavy gin for shaken drinks
another gin for stirred drinks such as Bombay Sapphire or Fords
Bénédictine
Laird's Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy
Campari
Aperol
Cynar
Averna if you like Black Manhattans
Cocchi, Dolin, and/or Carpano sweet vermouth (whichever you like best in taste tests)
Dolin dry vermouth
Grand Marnier
some liqueurs such as St-Germain, crème de violette, apricot liqueur, banana liqueur, crème de mûre
Angostura bitters
Peychaud's bitters

If you have any interest in tiki drinks, these are useful to start:
Appleton Estate Signature
Smith & Cross Navy Strength
El Dorado 8
Flor de Cana Extra Seco 4 (specifically for standard daiquiris)
Goslings Black Seal
Hamilton 151
Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black
John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
Last edited by Ketawa on Wed May 15, 2024 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by MrBobcat »

Ketawa wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:02 pm
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
...
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
I would consider cutting these if on a budget for some other selections. Absinthe is only needed for a rinse for a few cocktails, although I've been using the same bottle of Pernod for almost 10 years. Fernet Branca and Amaro Nonino are niche ingredients. I have both and only use them in 1 or 2 drinks each. My home bar is over 60 bottles and I don't own an Old Tom gin.
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Jack Rudy Demarara Syrup: $9.50
You should make your own syrup, which the exception of orgeat. You can also make a great Demerara gum syrup if you have a sous vide machine.

Things I would prioritize, off the top of my head (some you already have):

Rittenhouse Rye
Wild Turkey 101
a "house" bourbon of your choosing for your standard Old Fashioned, I use Bulleit
Monkey Shoulder (or another blended scotch)
Islay whisky (Laphroaig 10 is affordable)
Irish whiskey
Tanqueray or a similar juniper-heavy gin for shaken drinks
another gin for stirred drinks such as Bombay Sapphire or Fords
Bénédictine
Laird's Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy
Campari
Aperol
Cynar
Averna if you like Black Manhattans
Cocchi, Dolin, and/or Carpano sweet vermouth (whichever you like best in taste tests)
Dolin dry vermouth
Grand Marnier
some liqueurs such as St-Germain, crème de violette, apricot liqueur, banana liqueur, crème de mûre
Angostura bitters
Peychaud's bitters

If you have any interest in tiki drinks, these are useful to start:
Appleton Estate Signature
Smith & Cross Navy Strength
El Dorado 8
Flor de Cana Extra Seco 4 (specifically for standard daiquiris)
Goslings Black Seal
Hamilton 151
Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black
John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
You pretty much nailed my list sans tiki recommendations.

I also love Black Manhattan and go through a ridiculous amount of Averna, not to mention the Rittenhouse and WT 101.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

barnaclebob wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:57 pm Nearly all Rye's and Bourbons in the $25-60 range will suffice. The best budget bourbon IMO is Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. 100 proof and taste great neat for under $20 a bottle. I prefer it to many more expensive offerings.

By high proof, do you mean ~100 proof or do you mean barrel strength (~120-130 proof)?
~100 proof
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Ketawa wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:02 pm
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
...
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
I would consider cutting these if on a budget for some other selections. Absinthe is only needed for a rinse for a few cocktails, although I've been using the same bottle of Pernod for almost 10 years. Fernet Branca and Amaro Nonino are niche ingredients. I have both and only use them in 1 or 2 drinks each. My home bar is over 60 bottles and I don't own an Old Tom gin.
Oh, I already own all of those, so can't cut them.

I use Absinthe regularly in Sazeracs, Fernet in Hanky Panky, Amaro Nino in Black Manhattan, and Old Tom in a Martinez.

All part of my regular cocktail rotation, making at least once a month.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by BoilerOH »

Get a big bottle of Evan Williams Bottled in Bond (white label with green stripe).

In my opinion, the best mixing bourbon for the price on the market.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by elcadarj »

White Creme de Menthe for stingers.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Random Musings wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:57 pm My question to the OP is, what would be your go to cocktail if you were on an island with only one choice? My island is nice, you get two choices.

Are you stocking Baileys, Coole Swan or Saint Brendan's?

I'll just have a Pepsi or Coke (real sugar, not HFCS) on ice. It appears that a lot of major manufacturers are tweaking up the fructose/glucose ratio closer to 65/35. Not that sugar is good for you either.

RM
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Randolph Mortimer »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:24 pm
Random Musings wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:57 pm My question to the OP is, what would be your go to cocktail if you were on an island with only one choice? My island is nice, you get two choices.

Are you stocking Baileys, Coole Swan or Saint Brendan's?

I'll just have a Pepsi or Coke (real sugar, not HFCS) on ice. It appears that a lot of major manufacturers are tweaking up the fructose/glucose ratio closer to 65/35. Not that sugar is good for you either.

RM
Negroni
Me too! Have you ever had a Contessa? I admit I just discovered it: a Negroni but subbing Aperol for Campari and dry vermouth for sweet. I enjoy it for a nice change of pace
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Randolph Mortimer wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:28 pm
watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:24 pm
Random Musings wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:57 pm My question to the OP is, what would be your go to cocktail if you were on an island with only one choice? My island is nice, you get two choices.

Are you stocking Baileys, Coole Swan or Saint Brendan's?

I'll just have a Pepsi or Coke (real sugar, not HFCS) on ice. It appears that a lot of major manufacturers are tweaking up the fructose/glucose ratio closer to 65/35. Not that sugar is good for you either.

RM
Negroni
Me too! Have you ever had a Contessa? I admit I just discovered it: a Negroni but subbing Aperol for Campari and dry vermouth for sweet. I enjoy it for a nice change of pace
I haven't.

Among Negroni variants, I like Boulevardier and the mezcal Negroni.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Rittenhouse for a 100 proof rye. Great in a manhattan with Carpano Antica.

My go-to absinthe is Leopold Bros, plus they sell it in 375ml bottles. Their gin is also excellent.

Torres 10 is a great brandy for mixing.

Monkey Shoulder for blended whiskey for mixing. Laphroaig 10 for penicillins.

Appleton Signature and Flor de Cana are my standby gold and silver rums.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by lazydavid »

Randolph Mortimer wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:39 pm Also....not a bottle but Luxardo cherries are a must for any home coctail bar, IMO
I actually very slightly prefer Amarena cherries, but both are excellent. Tipping the scale strongly in Amarena's favor is that you can get a giant 1kg jar of them for $19 at Costco, or around 11 cents per cherry. Luxardos are $25 for the little 400ml jar, which contains about 30 cherries, so roughly 83 cents each.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by JayDee37 »

My favorite gin is The Botanist, Islay from Scotland.

One of my favorite ingredients for gin cocktails (when I make up my own) is an elderflower liqueur--I use St. Germaine.

I agree with a prior poster that Luxardo cherries are a must, and with a different prior poster that Benedictine is also a must. Benedictine is one of my favorite ingredients for making up my own whiskey or bourbon cocktails.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by finite_difference »

I think you should include some liquids from different places in the world for the challenge/fun:

-Akvavit
-Malort
-Jägermeister
-Baijiu
-Sake/shochu
Last edited by finite_difference on Tue May 14, 2024 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by bertilak »

JayDee37 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:45 pm My favorite gin is The Botanist, Islay from Scotland.
A recent find of mine. Good stuff.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by zeeke42 »

Ketawa wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:02 pm You should make your own syrup, which the exception of orgeat. You can also make a great Demerara gum syrup if you have a sous vide machine.

Things I would prioritize, off the top of my head (some you already have):

Rittenhouse Rye
Wild Turkey 101
a "house" bourbon of your choosing for your standard Old Fashioned, I use Bulleit
Monkey Shoulder (or another blended scotch)
Islay whisky (Laphroaig 10 is affordable)
Irish whiskey
Tanqueray or a similar juniper-heavy gin for shaken drinks
another gin for stirred drinks such as Bombay Sapphire or Fords
Bénédictine
Laird's Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy
Campari
Aperol
Cynar
Averna if you like Black Manhattans
Cocchi, Dolin, and/or Carpano sweet vermouth (whichever you like best in taste tests)
Dolin dry vermouth
Grand Marnier
some liqueurs such as St-Germain, crème de violette, apricot liqueur, banana liqueur, crème de mûre
Angostura bitters
Peychaud's bitters

If you have any interest in tiki drinks, these are useful to start:
Appleton Estate Signature
Smith & Cross Navy Strength
El Dorado 8
Flor de Cana Extra Seco 4 (specifically for standard daiquiris)
Goslings Black Seal
Hamilton 151
Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black
John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
I'm glad I hit refresh before posting as you saved me a lot of typing! On the tiki side, I'd add a rhum agricole. My preferred Mai Tai is a split base of Smith and Cross and Clement Select Barrel. Also the Clement Creole Shrubb orange liquer is awesome but can be hard to find. Bittermens' Elamakule Tiki Bitters are another favorite, very cinnamon+allspice forward.

You don't mention tequila, I'm a big fan of La Gritona when you want that grassy note. I reallly should do a taste-off tequila for margarita variants with other flavors; I usually buy whichever 100% agave reposado is on sale.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by TSR »

I don't think Amaro Nonino is "essential," though I do enjoy it. I agree with a poster above that Averna is much more essential. You could get rid of the Fernet if you wanted to as well, although a half ounce of that added to a black manhattan is really nice. Aperol and Campari are pretty important as well.

For main spirits, I generally purchase whatever I can find in a 1.5 liter bottle just for the value proposition. This means a few things:

Large-brand gin of choice (I go with Beefeater, but you have a lot of choices here)
Bulleit Rye for Manhattans (my somewhat more preferred choices are hard to find in 1.5L - I agree that Rittenhouse is slightly better)
Johnny Walker Black for Scotch cocktails

Agree with the Luxardo cherries.

I think the Vida mezcal is a little smoke-forward for a lot of mezcal cocktails. I really like Bozal if you can find it.

Also, some bad news about chartreuse: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/14/dini ... rtage.html
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by MrBobcat »

TSR wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 2:00 pm I don't think Amaro Nonino is "essential," though I do enjoy it. I agree with a poster above that Averna is much more essential. You could get rid of the Fernet if you wanted to as well, although a half ounce of that added to a black manhattan is really nice. Aperol and Campari are pretty important as well.

For main spirits, I generally purchase whatever I can find in a 1.5 liter bottle just for the value proposition. This means a few things:

Large-brand gin of choice (I go with Beefeater, but you have a lot of choices here)
Bulleit Rye for Manhattans (my somewhat more preferred choices are hard to find in 1.5L - I agree that Rittenhouse is slightly better)
Johnny Walker Black for Scotch cocktails

Agree with the Luxardo cherries.

I think the Vida mezcal is a little smoke-forward for a lot of mezcal cocktails. I really like Bozal if you can find it.

Also, some bad news about chartreuse: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/14/dini ... rtage.html
I only have Nonino to make my wife Paper Planes, but she loves them (I think they're pretty good too). I have a bottle of Fernet that has been sitting on the shelf forever. Might have to try adding a bit to the Black Manhattans.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Broker's Gin, for martini, negroni, gin and tonic, gin and it, hanky panky
Reykva Vodka, for bloody mary
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, for boulevardier, manhattan, black manhattan
Old Forester 100 Proof Rye, for manhattan, dry manhattan
Campari, for negroni, boulevardier, Ferrari
Aperol, for spritz
Averna, for black manhattan
Fernet Branca, for Toronto, panky panky, Ferrari
Dolin Dry Vermouth, for martini, dry manhattan, bamboo
Dolin Sweet Vermouth, for gin and it, hanky panky, negroni, boulevardier, manhattan, adonis
Segura Viudas Cava, for spritz
Emilio Hidalgo Fino Sherry, for bamboo, adonis

I also have other (mostly more expensive) bottles for sipping neat as opposed to cocktails, but that wasn't the OP's question.
Last edited by UpperNwGuy on Tue May 14, 2024 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Random Musings »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:24 pm
Random Musings wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 12:57 pm My question to the OP is, what would be your go to cocktail if you were on an island with only one choice? My island is nice, you get two choices.

Are you stocking Baileys, Coole Swan or Saint Brendan's?

I'll just have a Pepsi or Coke (real sugar, not HFCS) on ice. It appears that a lot of major manufacturers are tweaking up the fructose/glucose ratio closer to 65/35. Not that sugar is good for you either.

RM
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

TSR wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 2:00 pm Also, some bad news about chartreuse: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/14/dini ... rtage.html
My local upscale grocery market has a case of Chartreuse right now. $90/bottle.
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9Iron
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by 9Iron »

Triple sec
Amaretto
anisette
Crème de cacao
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watchnerd
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

9Iron wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 3:05 pm Triple sec
Amaretto
anisette
Crème de cacao
I one has absinthe, does one need anisette?

And if so, which?

Ouzo? Sambuca?
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by bloom2708 »

Spend $1k on a nice bicycle. A MUCH better hobby. Alkohol is a terrible hobby. I know. I'm da party pooper.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by MrBobcat »

OP you might want to look over this website, I found it really useful when I first started getting started.

How to Build a Bar - Tom Macy, great collection of recipes/variations/history on his website too.

https://www.tommacy.com/howtobuildabar
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:26 pm Spend $1k on a nice bicycle. A MUCH better hobby. Alkohol is a terrible hobby. I know. I'm da party pooper.
Can't really entertain house guests from a bicycle.
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MrBobcat
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by MrBobcat »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:16 pm
Ketawa wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:02 pm
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
...
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
I would consider cutting these if on a budget for some other selections. Absinthe is only needed for a rinse for a few cocktails, although I've been using the same bottle of Pernod for almost 10 years. Fernet Branca and Amaro Nonino are niche ingredients. I have both and only use them in 1 or 2 drinks each. My home bar is over 60 bottles and I don't own an Old Tom gin.
Oh, I already own all of those, so can't cut them.

I use Absinthe regularly in Sazeracs, Fernet in Hanky Panky, Amaro Nino in Black Manhattan, and Old Tom in a Martinez.

All part of my regular cocktail rotation, making at least once a month.
If you haven't already tried it, use Averna in your Black Manhattans.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

MrBobcat wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:35 pm
watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:16 pm
Ketawa wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:02 pm
watchnerd wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:36 pm Pacifique Absinthe: $80
Fernet Branca: $36
Amaro Nonino: $54
...
Ransom Old Tom Gin: $43
I would consider cutting these if on a budget for some other selections. Absinthe is only needed for a rinse for a few cocktails, although I've been using the same bottle of Pernod for almost 10 years. Fernet Branca and Amaro Nonino are niche ingredients. I have both and only use them in 1 or 2 drinks each. My home bar is over 60 bottles and I don't own an Old Tom gin.
Oh, I already own all of those, so can't cut them.

I use Absinthe regularly in Sazeracs, Fernet in Hanky Panky, Amaro Nino in Black Manhattan, and Old Tom in a Martinez.

All part of my regular cocktail rotation, making at least once a month.
If you haven't already tried it, use Averna in your Black Manhattans.
I have, as well as Meletti, Ramazotti, Montenegro, Vecchio Del Capo, and even Cynar.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by mrmass »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:31 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:26 pm Spend $1k on a nice bicycle. A MUCH better hobby. Alkohol is a terrible hobby. I know. I'm da party pooper.
Can't really entertain house guests from a bicycle.
Says who?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJCWyRBiQEA :mrgreen:
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by Millennial »

Your collection is missing rum! Quite the omission as summer approaches.

El Dorado 10 is an excellent aged Demerara rum
Appleton reserve is a good mixing Jamaica run
Then a good agricole for adding some funk... Clairin if you can get it, otherwise a Martinique like Clement Blue?

I also think a decent mixing tequila is worth having, something like Cimmaron or Espolon, if for nothing else than to split the base of a margarita or Paloma with the Vida that you already have.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by TSR »

MrBobcat wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 2:26 pm
TSR wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 2:00 pm I don't think Amaro Nonino is "essential," though I do enjoy it. I agree with a poster above that Averna is much more essential. You could get rid of the Fernet if you wanted to as well, although a half ounce of that added to a black manhattan is really nice. Aperol and Campari are pretty important as well.

For main spirits, I generally purchase whatever I can find in a 1.5 liter bottle just for the value proposition. This means a few things:

Large-brand gin of choice (I go with Beefeater, but you have a lot of choices here)
Bulleit Rye for Manhattans (my somewhat more preferred choices are hard to find in 1.5L - I agree that Rittenhouse is slightly better)
Johnny Walker Black for Scotch cocktails

Agree with the Luxardo cherries.

I think the Vida mezcal is a little smoke-forward for a lot of mezcal cocktails. I really like Bozal if you can find it.

Also, some bad news about chartreuse: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/14/dini ... rtage.html
I only have Nonino to make my wife Paper Planes, but she loves them (I think they're pretty good too). I have a bottle of Fernet that has been sitting on the shelf forever. Might have to try adding a bit to the Black Manhattans.
Yeah, no hate on Nonino - it's good but expensive and has slightly limited utility. I'm a big fan of paper planes, though it sort of depends on how committed I am to stocking lemons at any given time. You can also do a Nonino manhattan, which is good but a little sweet. (The little paper booklet that comes with the Nonino is pretty funny -- could not be more obvious that it was written by Italians!) I'm a fan of Fernet on its own but it will really kick up a black manhattan or other similar drinks. Eager to hear your thoughts. There are some funkier amaros out there that I mostly can't find where I am (Sfumato Rabarbaro is one of them) that you really only need a teaspoon of in such a drink to change the whole flavor profile.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

Millennial wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 7:57 am Your collection is missing rum! Quite the omission as summer approaches.

El Dorado 10 is an excellent aged Demerara rum
Appleton reserve is a good mixing Jamaica run
Then a good agricole for adding some funk... Clairin if you can get it, otherwise a Martinique like Clement Blue?

I also think a decent mixing tequila is worth having, something like Cimmaron or Espolon, if for nothing else than to split the base of a margarita or Paloma with the Vida that you already have.
Read again, friend! Three Plantations is mentioned in the bottom.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by SmallSaver »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:30 pm Among Negroni variants, I like Boulevardier and the mezcal Negroni.
Side note, how are you all pronouncing this? I have been pointedly corrected by servers both ways.
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by watchnerd »

SmallSaver wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:03 am
watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 1:30 pm Among Negroni variants, I like Boulevardier and the mezcal Negroni.
Side note, how are you all pronouncing this? I have been pointedly corrected by servers both ways.
The drink was invented by an American living in France, so I pronounce it the French way.

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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by bloom2708 »

watchnerd wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:31 pm
bloom2708 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 4:26 pm Spend $1k on a nice bicycle. A MUCH better hobby. Alkohol is a terrible hobby. I know. I'm da party pooper.
Can't really entertain house guests from a bicycle.
Maybe a group bike ride. :D
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Re: Home Cocktail Bar Bottle Essentials -- $1K limit

Post by AllMostThere »

Wow, some very interesting and thoughtful comments. Obviously, our BH brothers and sisters enjoy our libations. :beer
Other than a few bottles of wine and some sipping bourbon, for guests, I don't think I could work my way through $1K of booze in 10 years!!! :wink:
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