Anatomy of a Great Home Bar

Building your own home bar can be a daunting task. With an endless number of spirits to choose from, deciding what deserves a spot on your shelf isn’t easy, but we are here to help. Just add the spirits listed below to your collection and you will be off to a great start! Want a Manhattan? You already have the whisky and sweet vermouth, just add a bottle of bitters. Does a Negroni sound good? All the ingredients are here. Need to mix up some margaritas for Taco Tuesday? Use the tequila and curaçao, and just add some limes and simple syrup. What about a Martini, a Boulevardier, or a Spritz? Check, check and check. Whether your hopes are to have a well-rounded collection, suitable for a variety of guests, or to have a solid bar to start with when following along in your next cocktail recipe book, this selection is for you. Pop in and see me and we can discuss!anatomy-of-a-bar-650

cappellettiCappelletti Americano Aperitif Wine Rosso – $17.99– No Negroni or Boulevardier is complete without a solid bitter liqueur. Cappelletti does far more than just fulfill the need. I find this to be a more balanced bitter orange flavor than the competition and at $17.99 a bottle it allows me to justify spending a bit more on a fantastic gin or bourbon.

Dolin French Rouge Vermouth De Chambéry – $15.49 – We have all had our fair share of Manhattans, I’m sure. Without a good sweet vermouth you’re better off just drinking straight whiskey. Dolin Rouge can stand its ground in anything from a Manhattan to a Negroni. Any time the recipe calls for sweet vermouth, reach for Dolin Rouge and you won’t be let down.

GlenDronach 12 Year Old Original Single Malt Scotch – $49.99– I don’t know about you, but my buddies like to drink and when they come over I want to pour something special. When choosing a versatile Scotch, a sherry cask single malt like Glendronach is a no-brainer. At this price, it could very easily be a great choice in a number of cocktails, from a Rob Roy to a Blood and Sand. This is one of the best bang for your buck buys in Scotch all year.

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur – $33.99– The list of cocktails this plays a role in is never ending. Not only that, but I would challenge you to find a better substitute. It just isn’t possible. Uniquely suited to all sorts of cocktails, when the recipe calls for maraschino liqueur I’m sure it will specify Luxardo.

luxardo-liqueurGermain-Robin Vine & Table Selection – Batch 2012F – $49.99– Whether mixing up a Stinger or just sipping on a nice glass of brandy, this is the bottle for you. Rich and intense, with notes of spicy cinnamon and a touch of yeast, which leads into candied citrus. There is a great complexity here with apple cider and a lovely, long, contemplative finish.

Plantation Stiggin’ Fancy Pineapple Rum – $29.99– Back in my days of bartending I searched for this rum for months- it really is that hard to find- and now Vine & Table is proudly able to offer it. This isn’t just another flavored rum; it is aged in oak with whole pineapple, no syrups or extracts added. I can’t think of many rum cocktails that wouldn’t benefit from a little pineapple. Try it in a Daiquiri or one of your favorite tiki drinks to spice things up a bit.

Eden Mill Original Scottish Gin – $42.99- When tasked with finding a gin that can work harmoniously in as many cocktails as possible, Eden Mill Original is my go-to. This gin is citrus-forward with undertones of juniper, making it quite versatile in a wide array of cocktails.

Dolin French Dry Vermouth De Chambéry – $15.49- A quality dry vermouth is a must-have in an abundance of cocktails. This is my favorite dry vermouth hands down. Try it in a Gin Martini with just a dash of orange bitters and garnished with the zest of a lemon, or leave out the gin and bitters for an exquisite aperitif on the rocks. Let’s face it, dry vermouth is a staple and you can’t go wrong with Dolin!

curacao-liqueurStarlight Distillery Vine & Table Exclusive Unfiltered Vodka – $19.99– When it comes to a spirit that is, by definition, distilled to be odorless and flavorless, getting the most out of it is vital in a cocktail. Thanks to our friends at Starlight Distillery we are able to give you a vodka that can do just that. They bottle this unfiltered, specifically for us, to provide a superb flavor. Try it in a martini or sip it on the rocks; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Liqueur – $32.99– As if renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich hadn’t done enough for us cocktail geeks already, we can now thank him for this wonderful addition to our bars. Forget all the other curacao out there. This is the true curacao called for in all of your favorite tiki cocktails. Try it in your Mai Tai recipe and you will never turn back.

Cimarron Reposado 100% Agave Tequila – $22.99– A true cocktail enthusiast’s tequila, Cimarron Tequila has been crafted to have a drier profile in order to allow greater control over cocktail sweetness by distinguishing bartenders. Bright, forward agave and citrus flavors shine in this crisp, clean and extraordinarily versatile highland agave tequila.

Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon – $27.99 (previously $39.99)– Last but not least, I am going to quote the boss on this one: Denis Lynch Vine & Table Spirits Buyer – “This is one of my favorite bourbons of all time, for the money (especially this low price), the proof, the sheer drinkability, there is no bourbon that comes anywhere close to this.” That being said, at 101 proof this will hold up nicely in a cocktail and drink superbly on its own. Johnny Drum Private Stock is another must-have on your bar.

Vince Federick

About Vince Federick

Vine & Table Spirits Department
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