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Help me stock the bar


Big Country
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So, in the margarita thread in the Tailgate, I mentioned the housewarming party and the start of my liquor cabinet.

 

So, it appears I will get the green light to actually incorparate a "bar' of sorts into where I am going to set up the components for the TV in our family room.

 

So, looking for what I need for basics in terms of liquor/mixers for a properly stocked bar. I don;t drink that often, but now that we have a larger house we may be hosting more often, and I want to be able to be sure to provide my guests with whatever they would like.

 

Any specific liquors/brands I should consider?

 

What key mixers do I need to keep in stock?

 

Anything else?

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Baileys

Bourbon* (Kentucky) (only one bottle? Wild Turkey; alt -Knob Creek or Makers Mark)

Brandy

Cognac

Canadian whiskey

Jack Daniels

Gin* (only one bottleTanqueray; alt - none)

Kahlua

Rum* (light and dark)

Scotch* (only 1 bottle? Johhny Walker Black Label; alt - Aberlour 10 year, if you want single malt)

Tequila*

Vodka* (only 1 bottle? Smirnoff; alt - Stolichnaya)

Cointreau

Grand Marnier

Dry Vermouth

 

The ones marked with the * I'd consider getting at least 2 brands - a cheap one for mixing and a decent one for tasting.

 

Also:

 

Angostura Bitters

Bar sugar

Black pepper

Olives

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Tabasco Sauce

Worchestshire sauce

 

Cocktail Shaker

Bottle Opener

Corkscrew

Measuring cup

Paring knife

 

Coke

Cranberry Juice

Ginger Ale

Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

Orange Juice

Club Soda

Tomato Juice

Tonic Water

Edited by Furd
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Baileys

Bourbon* (Kentucky) (only one bottle? Wild Turkey; alt -Knob Creek or Makers Mark)

Brandy

Cognac

Canadian whiskey

Jack Daniels

Gin* (only one bottleTanqueray; alt - none)

Kahlua

Rum* (light and dark)

Scotch* (only 1 bottle? Johhny Walker Black Label; alt - Aberlour 10 year, if you want single malt)

Tequila*

Vodka* (only 1 bottle? Smirnoff; alt - Stolichnaya)

Cointreau

Grand Marnier

Dry Vermouth

 

The ones marked with the * I'd consider getting at least 2 brands - a cheap one for mixing and a decent one for tasting.

 

Also:

 

Angostura Bitters

Bar sugar

Black pepper

Olives

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Tabasco Sauce

Worchestshire sauce

 

Cocktail Shaker

Bottle Opener

Corkscrew

Measuring cup

Paring knife

 

Coke

Cranberry Juice

Ginger Ale

Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

Orange Juice

Club Soda

Tomato Juice

Tonic Water

 

He said he's stocking a bar, not opening one.....

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Baileys

Bourbon* (Kentucky) (only one bottle? Wild Turkey; alt -Knob Creek or Makers Mark)

Brandy

Cognac

Canadian whiskey

Jack Daniels

Gin* (only one bottleTanqueray; alt - none)

Kahlua

Rum* (light and dark)

Scotch* (only 1 bottle? Johhny Walker Black Label; alt - Aberlour 10 year, if you want single malt)

Tequila*

Vodka* (only 1 bottle? Smirnoff; alt - Stolichnaya)

Cointreau

Grand Marnier

Dry Vermouth

 

The ones marked with the * I'd consider getting at least 2 brands - a cheap one for mixing and a decent one for tasting.

 

Also:

 

Angostura Bitters

Bar sugar

Black pepper

Olives

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Tabasco Sauce

Worchestshire sauce

 

Cocktail Shaker

Bottle Opener

Corkscrew

Measuring cup

Paring knife

 

Coke

Cranberry Juice

Ginger Ale

Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

Orange Juice

Club Soda

Tomato Juice

Tonic Water

I think you could get away with less than what Furd suggests. Those his is a fine list.

 

I would imagine either brandy or cognac but not both (just make sure it's a decent bottle)

Evan Williams makes a great bourbon and it's nice and cheap. I would do a bottle of that, a bottle of Rye (Jim Beam), and skip the JD.

Specifically for the Tequilla, if you go with 2, I'd pick Sauza Blanco for the mixer and Don Julio Anejo for the sipper. That way you get two distinct styles and the Sauza is goon enough to shoot if someone prefers a plata.

Cointreau on it's own is actually pretty tasty, so I wouldn't think you'd both Grand Marnier and that.

 

Now, if I was stocking a bar from scratch, one place that I certainly wouldn't skimp was the vermouths and bitters. We did a taste test making martinis, manhattans, etc. One each with premium booze and cheap vermouth, the other with decent booze and premium vermouth. The ones that had the better vermouths tasted way, way better. It wasn't even close. Now, these may cost 2x the price of the cheap stuff but when you consider how little you use, it's by far the most bang for the buck in terms of improving your cocktail.

 

My vermouth of choice is Vya. They make both a dry and a sweet.

For bitters, Regans Orange #6 and peychaud are essential. Funny story about Regans. Because bitters is considered a grocery item rather than booze (like extracts), the FDA tests it to make sure it's nasty enough that you wouldn't want to drink it by itself. They turned down his first several recipe submissions because it was "too potable". Finally, he made it nasty enough to qualify as bitters.

 

One important tool missing from Furd's list is a twist knife (or whatever they're called). A pairing knife will do in a pinch but the tool for digging twists out of citrus makes the job much easier and we've found that so many drinks are greatly improved by the inclusion of a twist.

 

You're also going to want a jigger. Even among pros, there's a movement towards using them rather than counts because people are starting to take great pride in their recipes.

 

Also, I wouldn't bother with too many canned juices. Maybe cranberry and pineapple but if you're going to use citrus juice, use fresh. If you've got lemons, limes, and oranges around, you can always juice enough to get you through an impromptu cocktail hour. If you know you're going to have a party, then you can always stock up on the fresh stuff for the night. In fact, when we're having a party, I typically tend to decide upon a particular cocktail that we're going to "push". Of course, you're going to want to be able to get someone something else, but it's sort of fun to have a themed drink of the night. You'll find that most will end up wanting that one.

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Don't forget glassware:

 

Beer mug

Beer pint

Beer pilsner (overkill maybe)

Brandy snifter

Cocktail glass (martini)

Highball glass

Margarita glass

Old-fashioned glass

 

You don't want to pour a decent drink into a water glass.

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in addition to Furds list. Roses lime juice, grenadine, Amaretto, Triple sec (cheaper than cointreu and a mixer used in a lot of drinks. Frangelico. Sweet vermouth for those that might want a manhattan or rob roy

Edited by whomper
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Sour mix

 

Eventually some flavored vodkas

 

Citron

Orange

Vanilla

 

Many others. Obviously you want get all the stuffe we list but its good to see what people suggest

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Obviously depends on how much you want to spend. Furd's list (with a few additions) is bitchin', but that would cost you an arm and a leg.

 

Off the top of my head, here's what I would at least start out with, with budget in mind.

 

- A good bottle of tequila, for shots of course.

 

- A decent bottle of tequila, for margaritas

 

- A good bottle of whiskey, for the occasional shot

 

- A decent bottle of whiskey (Jack, I'd guess) since I know you like Jack n' Cokes

 

- A good bottle of vodka (Goose, Level, etc.)

 

- Baileys and Kahlua

 

- Good bottle of gin (Tanq, I'd guess... I'm not a gin drinker but some are, obviously)

 

- Good bottle of scotch (Glenfiddich is advisable)

 

- Good, but not too expensive bottles of light and dark rum

 

- If you have martini drinkers around, you'll need dry vermouth

 

- Some lemons, limes, olives, margarita salt... and Furd nailed all the mixers

Edited by darin3
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Disagree on the lime juice. Just use fresh as the color in a bottole of Rose will change over time and resukt in an unsightly appearance.

 

Unless all your guests drink Gimlets, it will just go to waste . .

 

 

Fresh lime juice has a shorter shelf life than Roses but isnt terribly expensive so I guess you can go either way.

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IMO, if you want to have a functioning bar, you need the mixers, not the booze. You will buy what you want in that regard. But if you already have vermouth (sweet and dry), bitters, triple sec (you could go cointreau or grand marnier - particularly if you might use those from time to time for cooking as well. Same goes for port, sherry or maderia) , simple syrup (make it yourself) and fresh juices (no excuse for anything else) then a bottle of whiskey goes from being able to be served 2 ways (up or on the rocks) to being able to be served in any way whiskey can be served, as does every other liquor.

 

As for the booze, if you are mixing drinks, middle of the road should suffice (particularly if you take Detlef's suggestion and get nice mixers.) There are a handful though that IMO, there's just no substitute for high end, like tequila for example. True, you may not be a big tequila drinker, but the bottle will last that much longer, and you'll look classy when you pull it out. :wacko: If you are going to be drinking it straight up, get the good stuff.

 

The glassware isn't a bad idea either if you have the dough. A highball can be served in any kind of glass, but a up-martini served in a rocks glass just lacks that certain asthetic, as would brandy or port in a wine glass. Buy based on what you like to drink. If you don't ever drink brandy or cognac, there's no need to spring for snifters.

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