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Do you have a "Liquor Cabinet"

I recall reading a book by Baldwin written during the 1950s where virtually every character it seemed had a drink in their hand at all times. As portrayed in this book folks from this generation apparently, once entering someone’s home (for example) were first asked for their coat then asked, “Can I get you a drink?!” And thinking back to my grandparent’s home they did have liquor about the house (and a lot). And not just for parties or other gatherings, no, whenever we came by (mom, dad, and my sister) J&B, Old Granddad, VO, were on the coffee table as plain as a TV Guide or a framed photograph. And they had a liquor cabinet, the real kind with the grating that you can see through, and it had a lock (but it never was locked). My dad had a less impressive liquor cabinet in our house where he kept his scotch and few other goodies. But eventually he stopped using it and instead starting keeping beer in the “frig”. He’d keep 8oz “nips” (as he called them) of Budweiser at the bottom of the refrigerator. I started grabbing one or two in high school, (there were so many in there, he couldn’t keep count). Today, I do not have a liquor cabinet in my house. Instead I try to keep a case of wine and a case of beer in the basement and maybe a decent whisky upstairs. Many of my friends do the same. What do you do? And have you ever said to a friend who stops by unexpectedly, “can I get you a drink?”

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  1. I think I am inhabited by a ghost from the past, but yeah, a liquor cabinet was necessary once I got to the point of being able to comfortably support a decent one. Ours is from Ikea with a nicer wine cabinet beside it that holds all tool and non-refrigerated tools on the top.

    I think it's key to good hosting, and you do need a wide variety of options, and at least one good book. Drinkology is the one that I reference most often along with Mr. Bostons.

    I always ask about a drink for guests, but ALWAYS throw out non-alcoholic drink options and say something along the lines of "ask and I'll see what I can do". On this point, by getting it out of the way, you're saying that you want to get particulars out of the way and enjoy the company.

    One side anecdote is that for my wife's grad party a few years ago, I researched a few fun drinks of all flavors/styles. I then bought all the stuff for a few select recipes. I printed up recipe cards for the guests and laid them on the bar. From those ingredients more things could be made, but I dared others to try some things. It went over very well.

    As for what's in the cabinet, I'd say that mainly depends on you and the bulk of your guests. Excel, explore and keep in plenty what you're into (scotches, whiskeys or vodkas) and keep on hand a strong representation of the other categories.

    As for how it looks and what it is, I'd say that depends on your lifestyle. If you're still young and without kids, invest in something that you'll use a lot for a few short years, again after a while, and then become an heirloom. Otherwise, go to Ikea.

    As for where it is, it's part of the dining room, family room, or if needed, kitchen.

    1. A liquor cabinet...or cupboard, or closet...always have on hand gin, vodka, bourbon or whiskey. I often make my own cordials or liquers, but sambuca and something sweeter's always nice...and I don't have a wine cellar but there's a good-sized rack that's stocked. Bitters, vemouth, sherry, port...I like to keep Dubonnet around, or Campari, too....Beer in the fridge (just a sixpack of some import). Aged tequila (hey, we're in the southwest!) for sipping.

      1. Absolutely! I would always offer a friend a drink. We have a liquor cabinet/expandable bar upstairs, and one in the basement (seldom used). The upstairs bar opens up and is on rollers so you can spin it around and roll it out away from the wall with all the back open, allowing access to the goods. We got it online from Pottery Barn. It was a bit pricey, but well worth it. Items stocked include a few Bourbons (top shelf and for mixing grade), Scotch, a couple of Irish Whiskeys, Cognac, Brandy, Vodka, Gin, Sweet and Dry Vermouth, Bitters, Simple Syrup, Tequila, Triple Sec, Rum (light and dark), many liqueurs and cordials for after dinner or coktail mixing, Red Wines, and a garage fridge stocked with many beers and a few white wines ready for a meal or visitors. You never know what you're going to want to mix up on a Friday night, or when the opportunity might arise for you to exercise your inner bar-chef for your friends!

        1. My daddy always kept quite an extensive liquor cabinet, and friends were always offered drinks. In fact, I do not remember my parents ever having more than one other couple over when liquor was not served. My mom wasn't a drinker; Daddy made Pink Squirrels for her, and we kids were thrilled that sometimes we were allowed to taste that - what basically amounted to grown up ice cream. As the years went on, my mom developed a taste for wine (starting with disgustingly sweet stuff in the late 70s or early 80s and now finally a good chardonnay, merlot, or occasionally cabernet).

          My husband and I don't really drink much. I tend to feel not-so-good anymore if I have much of anything to drink (primarily due to my blood sugar, I'm sure, for which I take medication.) When he drinks, he usually prefers beer; he loves Newcastle Brown Ale. Most of our friends don't really drink, either, and most of the time we get together, alcohol is never even considered. Every once in a while, we will decide we're going to have a drink, but it's just not our general way of life. I love gin & tonics with lots of lime, but my sugar issues are an impediment to that. :( The last time I really, really wanted one, my husband made one for me in a juice glass, not even full, and I only drank half before I felt a pretty serious buzz! Pitiful! (I recently purchased some juniper berries so I could make myself something that tasted like my G&Ts without the alcohol.)

          Of course, we always say, "Can I get you something to drink?" when we have people in our home. But that is never meant as alcohol by us, and it's never taken that way by others.

          All that said, we have a pretty extensive liquor cabinet! I think it's just growing up with that notion that grownups are supposed to have liquor in the house, and plenty of it! Some of it is over 20 years old - should it be thrown out? - given to us by my parents when they moved or something & didn't want to haul it with them. Some of it was given to us as housewarming or other types of gifts over the years. The other day, I used peach brandy that I know without a doubt is at least 20 years old in my peach cobbler. (Everyone who ate it seems to be fine.)

          I’m glad this post came up because I was going to inventory my liquor cabinet for recipes, to answer my father & step-father when they ask what I’ve got, etc. This got me moving on that.

          My cabinet, including things I am not sure at all of what they are:

          1.75 litre:
          1 bottle + another 750 ml Bacardi rum (I sure wish I'd known I had the 750 when I bought the 1.75. It was during a kick of "we're going to get together with our friends and make a whole bunch of different kinds of daiquiris in our ice cream makers")
          unopened Crown Royal

          1 litre:
          unopened Crown Royal (fairly new; was gift)
          praline liqueur – my 2nd bottle, intentionally purchased, specifically for a recipe I make frequently
          amaretto di padrino
          Crème de cacao
          Crème de banana

          750 ml:
          Torado triple sec that appears to be unopened.
          an unopened Sauza Conmemorativo Tequila, gift from Mexico
          2 bottles, 1 unopened, Harveys Bristol cream. I had no idea what it was, but I see it says sherry, so I guess I can cook with it.
          Glenfiddich pure malt scotch whiskey
          Taaka platinum
          White Label Dewar's scotch whisky, unopened
          2 unopened in tins/boxes and 1 opened Chivas Regal
          Pepe Lopez tequila
          Pimm’s No.1 Cup, gift from my SIL’s mom
          Peach Brandy & Blackberry brandy, both bottles quite ancient
          orange curacao


          Courvoisier VS cognac (a gift from Daddy, getting up in age and occasionally used for my tipsy sauce for my bread pudding)

          3/4 pint (375ml?) bottle Hiram Walker Creme de Menthe that is absolutely ancient, certainly either from my childhood or very young adulthood. The price tag is still on it - $2.17.

          Godiva liqueur that we got when my mom moved (I use generally in baking and sometimes when someone peeks in my liquor cupboard and sees it and says, "Yum!")

          Various things of various sizes:
          An ancient unopened bottle of Prince Charles Edward's Drambuie - 23/32 Quart, whatever that is.

          Beefeater gin - almost empty 200 ml :)

          Liquore Galliano of Dilta Arturo Vaccari? No idea what this stuff is.

          Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps

          I recently threw out a bottle of some kind of green melon liqueur that I felt no one I knew would ever have a use for.

          I also have wine, some good & some I wouldn't ever drink. Probably 3 or 4 good bottles of merlot or cabernet and then a few crummy bottles of things like white zinfandel that well-intentioned visitors have bestowed upon us. I have a few fairly disgusting-looking champagnes. And a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne as well as a Moet & Chandon 1983 Dom Perignon.

          I think that about covers my liquor cabinet. Not bad for a non-drinker, eh?!

          9 Replies
          1. re: luv2bake

            For some unknown reason Liquore Galliano of Dilta Arturo Vaccari finds itself to every bar known to man but no one ever drinks it apparently. I see the long bottle with the thick yellow liquid inside with the little Italian soldier on the label in virtually every bar and in the homes of my parents friends from time in memorial. I think it's like a yellow sambuca.

            1. re: luv2bake

              Galliano is an herbal liqueur. The most notable cocktail that it goes into is the Harvey Wallbanger, a mix of vodka, OJ, and Galliano.

              And incidentally, Drambuie is a Scotch-based honey liqueur. It is used in a Rusty Nail, a mix of Scotch and Drambuie.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                I kind of knew what Drambuie was, but my "whatever that is" comment was directed at the 23/32 quart, which is a designation I have never seen on a product before! Thank you for the info on the Harvey Wallbanger & Rusty Nail, too. Have often heard both but had no idea what they were.

                1. re: luv2bake

                  Prior to a world-wide agreement on bottle sizes, bottles of wine and spirits sold in the States were generally a "fifth" and a "tenth" (4/5 quart, and 4/5 pint, respectively).

                  HOWEVER, many liqueurs were indeed sold in 23 ounce bottles (23/32 quart). Champagne was sold in 26 ounce bottles. And so on.

                  Today, international agreements have pretty much standardized wines and spirits to be sold in 750ml and375ml bottles.

                  4/5 quart is 25.6 ounces. 750ml is 25.4 ounces -- pretty close.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    I'll have to see if I can find when that was. My bottle of Drambuie might be older than I thought! :)

                2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  Galliano is also used in an International Stinger;
                  2 oz. Metaxa Greek brandy, preferably 5 or 7star
                  3/4 oz. Galliano
                  shake well with ice and pour over rocks in an old-fashioned glass.
                  Not recommending, just tellin' :-)

                3. re: luv2bake

                  have you tried diet tonic? it might help you enjoy gin and tonics again...

                  1. re: MaspethMaven

                    Diet tonic water is a staple in my house - that & limes. It's just not quite the same without the gin, though I try to fake it. Alcohol just messes with my body too much now, and it's not worth it.

                    I did, however, put my juniper berries to work last week. It wasn't 100% what I wanted, but it was a step in the right direction. I'll be experimenting to see how I can improve upon it. It made me happy to have my pretend G&T, though!

                  2. re: luv2bake

                    I also have a bottle of pecan liquor (unopened). I would love your recipe!

                  3. Anytime any friend or family member enters my house, they would be offered a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

                    We do not have a liquor cabinet per se, but our home is always well stocked with everything we deem essential: beer, wine (red, white and sparkling), vodka, bourbon, gin, tequila, vermouth, cointreau, grand marnier, kahlua, baileys... And if we know we are having company or will be making cocktails for ourselves, we will be sure to have lemons, limes, cocktail onions, and olives on hand.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cherie

                      Hey, I just realized I had grand marnier & Baileys not that long ago. Hmmm ... I wonder if there's a liquor stash I forgot about...!?

                    2. I grew up in a home with a pretty well stocked liquor cabinet. Basically a bottom cabinet in the kitchen. When guests were over my dad would pull out all the necessary bottles and set up several sliver trays in an alcove off of the living room and dining room and have a nice bar setup. Any guest who was going to be staying for awhile was offered a glass of wine or a beer which was kept in the fridge and wine cellar. Hard liquor was usually reserved for parties and after dinner liqueur, Scotch, or Cognac sipping.

                      When I have folks over they know they are in for a treat, or to be overwhelmed. I use cabinets in my kitchen. A high one which is handy because I am tall. This has the basic dozen bottles of spirits, vermouth, and bitters. A larger one down low for party supplies. A few wines and beers in the fridge.

                      Of course there is the rest of the house. In the basement I have a small wine and liquor cellar, a food and beverage lab / kitchen / laundry area, and my large office / business entertaining space / research and review area (which is a second living room in the basement) and has two cocktail tables completely covered with bottles, and the bookshelves which surround the room have odd bottles on the shelves stuffed among my food and beverage research books, as well as a three foot high wine and beer fridge. This area alone has:
                      Gin: 24 types
                      Aged Rum: 16 types
                      Sherry/ Port / Fortified wines: 14 types
                      dessert wines: 14 types
                      Liqueurs: 16 types
                      Homemade Liqueurs: 20 types
                      Sake: 6 types
                      Shochu / Soju: 2 types
                      Mao Tai, Chiew / snake liquor: 4 types
                      Sparkling wines: 4 types
                      Bitters: 9 types
                      Whiskey / Bourbon / Scotch: 5 types
                      Commercial Infused spirits: 9 types
                      Homemade infused spirits: 8 types
                      Beer: 16 types
                      Homebrew and hard cider: 3 kegs plus assorted bottles
                      Homemade vinegars: 20+ types

                      Assorted tools, weird stuff, and garnishes:
                      12 hot sauces
                      lemons, limes, oranges,and celery straws
                      5 types of pickles
                      3 honeys
                      5 salts
                      5 teas
                      5 corkscrews
                      several cocktail shakers and pitchers plus assorted bar tools
                      five pounds homemade candied orange peel
                      12 assorted soft drinks
                      8 homemade spice tinctures and several batches of homemade bitters in the works
                      Hops: 3 types plus other assorted homebrew supplies
                      Thai Curry pastes: 4 types
                      Mustards: 5 types
                      Heirloom apples: 2 types
                      Jerky: 3 commercial types and two homemade
                      1/2 dozen milk ctrates filled with food and beverage magazines and trade journals plus a few dozen books and magazines stacked on the floor
                      and a whole mess of other stuff that isn't in plain sight from my desk. Whew!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: JMF

                        Whew. I was kind of embarrassed to write. your list gave me some comfort. We have a sideboard in the dining room that has 2 large pull out shelves for bottle storage and an old glass front kitchen cabinet for glassware. The overflow is in the basement along with the wine storage. We have ( in the dinig room cabinet);
                        18 single malt scotches and 4 blends
                        8 bourbons
                        5 gins
                        6 rums
                        4 vodkas
                        5 tequilas
                        4 ryes
                        2 canadians
                        2 irish whiskies
                        4 cognacs
                        21 liquers
                        4 home made infused vodkas
                        5 fruit syrups,
                        12 bitters
                        Downstairs we have;
                        19 single malt scotches and 3 blends
                        16 bourbons
                        6 irish whiskies
                        7 ryes
                        6 tequilas
                        3 cachacas
                        4 cognacs
                        3 armagnac
                        4 calvados
                        9 gins
                        15 vodkas
                        4 american whiskies
                        14 rums
                        6 pastis
                        4 sakes
                        6 miscellaneous clear spirits ( shochu, pisco Raki, maotai, etc.)
                        46 liquers
                        In the downstairs fridge:
                        15 kinds of beer and 3 kinds of hard cider
                        11 fortified wines(vermouth, lillet, etc)
                        sundry mixers
                        2 closets and a wine cooler holding approximately 550 bottles of wine, 48 champagnes and other sparklers , fortifieds, including 32 bottles of vintage port, vintage madeiras and sherries
                        a cabinet full of shakers, old advertising bar pichers, 30+ corkscrews, numerous strainers, muddlers, mixing spoons, strippers, reamers, picks, and zesters.
                        a colection of about 250 adverising swizzle sticks and garnish picks, and enough glasses to serve the 3rd army. It has gotten a little out of hand, but no one ever leaves thirsty.

                        1. re: chazzerking

                          Can I come live in your basement?!?

                          1. re: c oliver

                            You couldn't afford the rent...

                            1. re: JMF

                              And THEY couldn't afford to have me there :)

                            2. re: c oliver

                              Well, for the right price, but the light isn't good and the ceilings are only 6'8". there is, on the other hand, plenty to keep one occupied.

                          2. re: JMF

                            When I first wrote this I was a few months into writing about spirits as a side profession. Now I have well over 400 bottles of spirits in my "liquor cabinet" plus dozens of bottles of bitters, just about every vermouth available, and two dedicated wine fridges with temp controls for whites, reds, etc. which hold six cases of desert wines and sparkling wines. Plus three cases of reds in racks. I've moved since I first posted and I now store all the bottles I have written about in cases on a pallet at my distillery/brewery and just have the backlog of around 100 bottles in cases piled in a large kitchen closet. Every now and then I pull out a case and stash it in my office for review purposes and add a new case of recent samples to the closet. I actually don't drink anywhere near as much nowadays as I did before becoming a spirits and cocktail writer and becoming a partner in a winery/brewery/distillery and I give away everything that I don't consider exceptional.

                            I know I have over 100 rums, 70 gins, 100 liqueurs, 100 whiskeys, 20 shochu, 30 vodkas, and much more. I started organizing the ones in storage the other day and took several cases to give to mixologist friends to use. Eventually i may catalog the ones I keep. I do have some collectors items like Hirsh 16yr and a few cases of Tanqueray Malacca which I bought for investment purposes.

                            1. re: JMF

                              JMF; I'd sure be intereted in a couple of bottles of Malacca. I used up my last bottle before I realized they quit making the stuff. If you'd be willing to let a couple go this soon.

                              1. re: chazzerking

                                I'm not selling quite yet. But there are some right now on ebay, almost a glut of them after none being seen for most of the past year until a month or two ago. I will start putting up a bottle now and then there as well. Prices are getting very steep, since there are only a limited number of bottles left in the world.

                          3. Having grown up in a home that was strictly beer-based, I was introduced to the liquor cabinet in college when a roommate who moonlighted as a bartender set up her centerpiece before any of her clothes got unpacked. I have been hooked ever since.

                            Ours is a simple affair, a 24-bottle wine cabinet (Cost Plus) topped by a silver bar tray (Restoration Hardware) with the staples (Vodka, Rum, Tequila, Gin, etc.), as well as a very nice crystal decanter full of Scotch.

                            To us, the value is the implication of hospitality that it conveys. We could be sitting at the kitchen table downing pizza and sodas, but the fact that the cabinet is there fully laid out and awaiting guests makes it a bit more festive. Occasionally a friend will partake. For big parties, we go all out and bring out the acoutrements, but we usually keep the soda, tonic, etc on hand for on-demand service. Lemons & limes are a staple in our kitchen, so they are always on-hand, as well.

                            1. I've got three different Vodkas in my freezer, and two shelves full of assorted whiskies (single malt Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Rye, Canadian), brandies (California Alambic, Cognac, Armagnac, Brandy de Jerez and eaux-de-vie), gins, rums, two kinds of vermouth, various liqueurs (Grand Marnier, B&B, and the like), Ricard, Herbsaint, Angastoura and Peychaud's, about 8-10 different Sherries. Then there are the five or six cases of wine in the basement, and the rest of the wine that's stored "offsite."

                              1. I had to give up the ol' liquor cabinet after that stint in rehab. We keep wine and beer around for guests; they can bring anything else they want. We also have some cooking wines. Fortunately, hospitality doesn't always have to be liquor-induced as it was back in my parents' day. And as I remember it, most people then were what would be considered alcoholic today. Everyone back then had cocktails, wine with dinner and a little after-dinner something something on a daily basis. They really got drunk over the weekends. But no matter how civilized you make it, alcoholism is alcoholism and some of us just have to say no.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Fuser

                                  That reminds me of one of my favorite anecdotes (which completely illustrates that generation of "have to have alcohol to be hospitable") .

                                  As a young adult, I was visiting "home" and staying with the parents of my childhood best friend. The father of one of our other friends, who was also in their social circle, had a serious drinking problem and had just a few days before totalled one of his cars. "Mrs. Hostess" asked me about what had happened with "Mr. Car-driver," how he was, etc. I was giving some information, and she asked something about how the accident occurred. (She was digging, but I love her dearly, and that's a small town for you.) Anyhow, my friend had been pretty frank about his being an alcoholic, so I said, as delicately as I could, "It seems he's probably an alcoholic." And Mrs. Hostess said, "Well aren't we all!?!"

                                  Which was even more pointedly illustrated in the fact that their best friends were sitting on the patio waiting for us, everyone with drinks in hand, of COURSE!

                                2. Oh, yes, I have a liquor cabinet - it actually is technically a "broom closet" (as labeled by my landlords) located in my kitchen that didn't have any shelves. I installed some shelves - the bottom holds supplies (disposable cups, napkins, stirrers, toothpicks, etc), the middle holds mixers (usually soda water, tonic, flavoured syrups). The top shelf has all the alcohol, which right now has gin, rum, Campari, Frangelico, several types of vermouth, etc. All vodka is in the freezer, and wine is on a wine rack next to the closet. I call it my party closet. I'm pretty much ready to entertain at a drop's notice, which is something I like. And when people come over, I do offer to mix up a drink, although most my friends choose wine more often than not.

                                  My parents never drank when I was little, and rarely drink now (the most they'll do is share a beer), and are slightly appalled at the amount of alcohol in my apartment - although I tell them that if it's actually there and present, it at least means I haven't consumed it (the "yet" being unspoken). They have a lovely wet bar in their house of which I'm highly envious, but they use it as a second pantry. Gah!

                                  1. galliano is typically used, and is most famous in the harvey wallbanger drink, which is bascially a screwdriver + galliano. Very tasty.

                                    1. We have a butler's pantry in our old house, in the walkway between the kitchen and the dining room. In one of those glass-fronted cupboards, we keep vodka, gin, etc. Truth be told, we break it out once in a blue moon. We and our friends usually drink wine.

                                      However, we did have a couple of cocktail parties for retro fun, and served a signature drink. (The Pink Pussycat, a grapefruti juice/vodka/splash of grenadine -- goes down way too easy.) Even though we are all grownups, it felt pleasantly Cheeveresque to serve cocktails to friends and neighbors.

                                      1. Ours is a Crate & Barrel piece of bar furniture with an expandable top, wine rack in the middle and cabinets on each side. We absolutely offer drinks to anyone who drops by and keep ours fully stocked with all the basics, vodka, bourbon (2 kinds), scotch (three kinds), rum (three kinds), gin, tequila, a variety of sweet liqueurs, bitters, grenadine, and fruit juices, seltzer and tonic in the pantry for mixing. When we were younger, most of our friends just drank beer and wine, but I'd say now that we're approaching 40, about half our friends like mixed or straight liquor drinks.

                                        1. Yes, absolutely, and my parents and sister have them too, although mine is by far the most extensive, but with reason.

                                          My father always had liquor on hand and drank it from time to time. My parents could be counted on for gin & tonics in the summer, some sctoch mxed with what I don't remember in the winter, but the cabinet almost lways had gin, vodka, scotch, rum and a number of other things. They regularly drank stuff like this, at least until I was out of high school and the house for the most part. About that time, i.e. the early 1980's, I think my parents switched to become drinkers of pretty much just wine and after dinner drinks, with occasional beers, gin & tonics, etc. Of course about that time, I started to like my whiskey and other beverages. In my early 20s, I began drinking single malts and a cabinet began to form. Since then it has grown. I think this weekend I had at least five Irish whiskeys, at least six scotches - mostly single malts, three gins, three vodkas, five rums, a number of after dinner drinks, and a few things that might ot fit into any of the above.

                                          If you come over, you will likely be offered something.

                                          1. I always offer something when people come over and I think the audience knows what it means. To my inlaws its soda but to my parents its a martini.

                                            I have my grandmother's liquor cabinet. It has 2 doors that swivel open pushing out the shelves within. The top is wood but lifts up and has a clatch to keep it open showing a mirror top. I have several bottles of single malt and blended scotch, some run, gin, sweet and dry vermouth, tequilla, bourbon and some random other bottles that people have given me over the years. I probably also have 5-6 cases of wine in my wine fridge and closet and a 6-pack of beer in the fridge. You just never know what you might be in the mood for.

                                            1. Chinon, this is a great thread. I was out for dinner last night at a rather good place and noticing that not many folks "drink" anymore. Do they imbibe? Yeah, to be sure, and often, disgustingly, to excess....but it seems that everyone limits their palettes to beer and wine.
                                              Now, I'm a fan of a good ale and a good wine, but what happened to a before-or-after dinner cocktail? Or offering one to guests? Like many posters, I modeled my liquor cabinet after my parents'. In it are a bottle of Chivas, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a bottle of Oban, a bottle of Myers, a bottle of Beefeaters, a bottle of Grey Goose, a bottle of Campari, a bottle of Tia Maria, a bottle of Sambuca, the ubiquitous pointy Galliano, a Drambuie and a Gran Marnier. I also have an unopened bottle of bitters up there, and an unopened bottle of Borsari bloody mary mix. Even though my parents taste in liquor was markedly simpler than the contents of their cabinets (both were Chivas-and-water folks, with my dad having the occasional Budweiser in the summer, and my mom the occasional glass of chardonnay), they would have felt sad if one of my aunts or uncles came by one evening and asked for "something sweet" or for a vodka tonic, and they were unable to meet their guest's taste.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                That description is one of a fairly simple but well-rounded liquour cabinet. If you want a good guise for things you might put inot your cabinet, take a look at: http://www.tastings.com/spirits/best_.... I doubt many would have something to fit every category listed, but it's a good guide.

                                                1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                  "Do they imbibe? Yeah, to be sure, and often, disgustingly, to excess....but it seems that everyone limits their palettes to beer and wine.
                                                  Now, I'm a fan of a good ale and a good wine, but what happened to a before-or-after dinner cocktail? Or offering one to guests?"

                                                  Seriously want to know?

                                                  DUI laws went from 0.15% Blood Alcohol Content to 0.10% BAC to 0.08% BAC . . . MADD . . . and laws that held bars, restaurants, liquor stores and their owners and employees liable for what happens after you leave an establishment with too much alcohol in your body and have a traffic accident . . .

                                                  On the other side is the French Paradox -- nothing has come along showing that distillates are as "healthy" for you as wine . . . .

                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                    Not so fast (unless you're a big drinker?)


                                                    From the article:

                                                    One class of antioxidants that remains relatively unresearched is polyphenols. What little evidence there is comes from epidemiological studies, some of which suggest that polyphenols prevent disease and others of which do not. While polyphenols act as antioxidants in the test tube, it is not clear that they are absorbed into the bloodstream, and if they are, they are swiftly metabolised. For example, 95 per cent of a flavonoid called resveratrol - the one found in red wine - is destroyed by our digestive system before it enters circulation.

                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                      They also hold private people hosting parties at home responsible, which is scarier for everyone.

                                                  2. My condo in college had a great little niche in the dining room perfect for a liquor cabinet - about a three-foot wide area with counter space, a four-shelf cabinet above and lots of room below for stocking mixers, more pourers, etc. At it's largest, I had 40+ bottles in there.

                                                    In my place now, I have reserved two above cabinets and a small lower cabinet to stock what I keep on hand. Presently, my stock includes:

                                                    Christian Bros. Brandy
                                                    Canadian Club whisky
                                                    Bombay Sapphire
                                                    Bacardi Gold
                                                    Jim Beam White
                                                    Sauza Silver
                                                    Patron Silver
                                                    HW Blue Curacao
                                                    HW Triple Sec
                                                    Smirnoff Vanilla
                                                    Milagro Reposado
                                                    Grand Marnier
                                                    Parrot Bay
                                                    HW Creme de Caceo
                                                    HW Apricot brandy
                                                    M&R extra-dry vermouth
                                                    Jameson Irish whiskey
                                                    Southern Comfort
                                                    M&R rosso vermouth
                                                    Jack Daniels
                                                    Glenlivet French Oak Finish
                                                    Macallan 1990 (15yr, Douglas Laing)

                                                    And I really don't know why I keep this large of a stock...when I do make myself a drink, it's usually a Jack/7 or rum/soda with a twist of lime. I guess I just like the idea of being able to pour a drink for someone without having to list the liquor I have.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: azhotdish

                                                      Well, as long as we're being specific . . ;^)

                                                      This is off the top-of-my-head, as I'm writing this from my office, but . . .

                                                      Belvedere Vodka
                                                      Hangar One MAndrin Orange Vodka
                                                      Hangar One Budda's Hand Citron Vodka
                                                      Plymouth Gin
                                                      The Macallan 12 Year Old Single Malt
                                                      Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
                                                      Johnnie Walker Black 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
                                                      Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
                                                      Old Bushmill's 10 Year Old Single Malt
                                                      Old Weller 107 proof 7 year Old Bourbon
                                                      Maker's Mark Bourbon
                                                      Old Overholt Rye
                                                      Crown Royal
                                                      German-Robin Fine California Alambic Brandy
                                                      Maison Surrenne Ancienne Distillerie VSOP Petite Champagne Cognac
                                                      Sanchez Romate Cardinal Mendoza Brandy de Jerez
                                                      Domaine Famile Dupont Calvados du Pays d'Auge plus 15 ans
                                                      Domaine Famile Dupont Calvados du Pays d'Auge plus 24 ans
                                                      Darroze 1971 Domaine Saint-Aubin Bas-Armagnac
                                                      Darroze 1982 Domaine au Martin Bas-Armagnac
                                                      St. George Poire Eau-de-Vie
                                                      Morand Kirsch Eau-de-Vie
                                                      St. George Aqua Perfecta Raspberry Liqueur
                                                      some no-name French "Napoleon" Brandy for cooking
                                                      Mt. Gay Eclipse Rum
                                                      Myers's Rum
                                                      Hotel California Tequila Resposado
                                                      Don Julio Resposado
                                                      some cheap no-name Tequila for mixing
                                                      Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
                                                      Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth
                                                      Grand Marnier
                                                      Tia Maria
                                                      Benedictine & Brandy (B&B)
                                                      Angastoura bitters
                                                      Peychaud's bitters

                                                      In addition, there are about 8-10 different Lustau Alacenista Sherries for drinking, a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry (no idea where that came from), a bottle of Sandeman Rainwater Madeira for cooking, four different Madeiras from Henriques & Henriques for drinking, a bottle of Sandeman Ruby Porto for cooking, a bottle of Neipoort 10-Year Tawny Porto for drinking, Marsala for cooking (the brand escapes me at the moment)

                                                      . . . and I know I'm leaving some things off the list.

                                                      The surprising thing to me is that -- except for Martinis (made with the Carpano, not the M&R) and the occasional Sazerac -- no one is really drinking cocktails. The vodka, whiskies, brandies, etc., we generally drink straight.

                                                      Go figure . . . .

                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                        I mentioned on this or another recent post about finding some fun but good (and still easy) cocktail recipes, printing them on cards and lining them with the bar for my wife's graduation party a few years ago. Big hit. People wanted to work their way through one path or another (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc). We've kept them to this day and pull them out for parties or even as quick guides when hosting just a friend or two. I have Mr. Boston's and Drinkology, which we also employ, but the cards are so easy and undaunting.

                                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                                          Agreed -- my father used to keep 3x5 cards for drink recipes in one box, his kitchen recipes in another.

                                                          I just prefer to drink most of my liquor straight.

                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                            Some bars I know keep recipes filed by name, so when their guests come in they don't have to say anything.....

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              There's a great story about Gallatoire's in New Orleans -- as told in the excellent book "Obituary Cocktail -- about a patron who moved away and hadn't been there in some five years. When she finally came back, her waiter brought her favorite cocktail without having to be asked. He just remembered what she drank. (It's a lot more colorful in the book -- trust me.)

                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                A restaurant I go to about once a year does that, but with the help of their computer reservation system. I am always impressed.

                                                    2. I have a hundred or so spirits in mine. But then I dated a girl last summer who's father had a cabinet (well, a room) with over 400 liquors...that was pretty impressive.

                                                      1. Some would find it archaic...but the older homes DO have full bars in or around their kitchens or living rooms. My grandparents have an almost fully loaded bar which we sit around for "cocktail" hour - which I never even knew was outdated (I'm 25) - until I went to friends' homes for dinner ("Where the booze at!?"...not quite). Old fashioneds, whiskey sodas, tonics and manhattans, etc.

                                                        As an aspiring connoisseur, I started keeping only a few bottles of nice whiskey in my own cabinets at home, and while I still keep the top-shelf stuff isolated, I've slowly amassed a quasi-fully stocked "main" bar with mixers, gins, aperitifs, liquors, etc...since I like to entertain friends quite a bit. They're nice to warm the mood and whet the appetite. Not everyone's cup-o-tea...but I couldn't imagine my future home without a bar.

                                                        1. My "cabinet" consists of....

                                                          Bombay Sapphire
                                                          Hayman's Old Tom
                                                          Martin Miller's
                                                          Tanqueary Ten

                                                          Smirnoff Copper Pot Still
                                                          Ketel One
                                                          Ketel One Citron
                                                          Zybrovka (sp?)

                                                          Angostura 1918
                                                          Havana Blanco
                                                          Havana 7 Year
                                                          Havana Special
                                                          Sagatiba Silver
                                                          Sagatiba Gold

                                                          Creme De Violette
                                                          Creme De Peche
                                                          Creme De Peche De Vigne
                                                          Grand Marnier
                                                          Trenet 45 Absinthe
                                                          Green Charteuse
                                                          Yellow Chartreuse
                                                          Liquor 43
                                                          Coole Swan
                                                          Honey Rum

                                                          Herradura Blanco
                                                          Herradura Reposado
                                                          Herradura Anjeo

                                                          Noilly Pratty Dry
                                                          Carpano Antica Formula
                                                          Vya Sweet
                                                          Vya Dry

                                                          Ardbeg 10 Year
                                                          Ardbeg Uigdaehl
                                                          Bushmills Black Bush
                                                          Bushmills 10 Year
                                                          Bushmills 12 Year
                                                          Bushmills 12 Year, Rum Cask Finish
                                                          Bushmills 16 Year
                                                          Bushmills 400th Aniversay
                                                          Bushmills Milennium Malt
                                                          Carduh 12 Year
                                                          Connemara 12 Year
                                                          Connemara Cask Strength
                                                          Kilbeggan 15 Year
                                                          Laphroig 10 Year
                                                          Makers Mark Black
                                                          Makers Mark Red
                                                          Sazerak Rye
                                                          Woodford Reserve
                                                          Wild Turkey

                                                          Chateau Tariquet 1985
                                                          Chateau Tariquet 1988
                                                          Chateau Tariquet 8 Year
                                                          Courvoisier VS
                                                          Courvoisier XO
                                                          Janneau VSOP
                                                          Janneau XO
                                                          Lairds Applejack

                                                          Fee Brothers Orange
                                                          Fee Brothers Lemon
                                                          Fee Brothers Mint
                                                          Fee Brothers Grapefruit
                                                          Fee Brothers Whiskey Aged Bitters
                                                          The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
                                                          The Bitter Trurh Lemon Bitters
                                                          The Bitter Truth Orange Flower Water

                                                          Amaro Montenegro
                                                          Amaro Averna
                                                          Amaro Ramozotti
                                                          Fernet Branca

                                                          Home-Infusions (vodka based)
                                                          Basil & Black Pepper
                                                          Rhubarb & Ginger
                                                          Apple & Cinnamon

                                                          Home-Infusions(bourbon based)
                                                          Black Cherry

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Steve_K

                                                              As of today, updated to include:

                                                              Leblon Cacasha
                                                              Bisquit XO
                                                              St Germain
                                                              Belvedere Cytrus
                                                              Belvedere Pomerancza
                                                              Old Raj Gin

                                                              Regans Orange Bitters

                                                            2. No liquor cabinet...kids in the house. The small amount of "spirits" I do have are marked with a magic marker at the line..that way I an keep track of any "missing" booze!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: nanasue

                                                                Careful with that method, you may find your booze ends up being watered down (not that I would know anything about that. . .).

                                                                1. re: sailormouth

                                                                  i will agree with sailormouth - i may have done that once or twice in my highschool days...

                                                              2. How long does "Cream Liquor" last if it's been in the fridge? It's like a coffee liquor.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: nanasue

                                                                  besides the many bottles of absinthe i smuggled into the country before it was legal (sigh) i have one bottle of gin (hendriks or plymouth) a bottle or 2 of rum, preferable one old monk, which im having a hard time finding, and something else, some grand marnier, some triple sec or cointreau, various mixing items like campari, aperol, domaine d; canton, maraschino liqueur, some brandies, some ports, vermouth (for cooking and drinking), sometimes vodka (before the ex was the ex there was always vodka, she likes cosmos) and im sure a few other items i dont feel like getting up to look at. there is also some lillet, some sake oin the fridge, and 8-12 bottle of red wine in the wine rack. i think there is also a bottle of white in the fridge, that someone brought over.

                                                                2. I have more of a "liquor table", about 25 bottles on a big fancy tray on top of the buffet in the dining room. Underneath I store the less attractive bottles and duplicates.

                                                                  I have the basic requirements, vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, as well as some slightly more recherche bottles like maraschino and cachaça.

                                                                  As for offering people drinks, I grew up in the kind of house where people were offered coffee within seconds of entering the house, but my parents never really served liquor.

                                                                  1. Wow, some of you folks have some serious collections! I have an antique buffet that I use as a bar. It's mahogany with a marble top, circa about 1920. The lower portion holds about 40-50 bottles. I also have maybe 8-10 bottles of vodka, digestifs, bitters and the like in the fridge/freezer. On the wine side, we have a basement cellar that holds about 500 bottles, but it's less than half full currently. We don't really drink beer, I only buy it if I know our guests will drink it. The wife and I enjoy a cocktail just about daily in the evening, after the wee ones are in bed, so the supply is rotating at a good rate. I like experimenting with new and interesting spirits, especially ones I try while traveling.

                                                                    1. Geez, I was going to make a joke about my liquor cabinet actually being called my bedroom, but I don't think most people's collections would even fit in it.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Icantread

                                                                        But it is all about quality, not quantity, in my books

                                                                        1. re: Steve_K

                                                                          Definitely, life is too short to drink mediocre booze.

                                                                      2. We have a wonderful, HUGE, antique, oak icebox which we use for liquor and other beverage related items. We have the basic liquors and I try to keep an "everyday" and a premium of those. Then we have others including liquers. It sits in the den which is just outside the kitchen so convenient. If we know what our guests prefer which generally have those already in the kitchen with mixers and ice bucket. Also non-alcoholic (one friend drinks ONLY caffeine-free, Diet Coke).

                                                                        1. Check this out...it is quite a list:

                                                                          In My Bar

                                                                          What’s In My Liquor Cabinet?:

                                                                          1. I come from a traditional Italian family that definitely enjoyed to drink socially, while entertaining, and at the holidays. Every family member had a liquor cabinet, and most of the time it came with the dining room set. But there were a few separate pieces, for instance, my parents had this hideous gold bar that I could never forget, especially since mom refuses to get rid of it. She doesn't use it anymore, she just keeps it in the front hall as an object of sentiment. Trust me, this ting is UGLY. But I guess for the 60's and 70's, it must have been groovy. Maybe. LOL

                                                                            Anyhow, all sorts of antique bar items were found in these relics, such as pink quirrel mixes, wine bottle openers, pourers, colorful plastic stirrers collected from lands visited (aka souvenirs), bar towels, etc. I swiped my Aunt Dora's frosted glasses with gold leaves after she died and THE UNCLE came to live with us. I saw them on Mad Men recently!!

                                                                            1. I know, I feel weird when I tell people that my husband and I usually have a drink or two before dinner (at home, not out). Like something's wrong with us. We're sort of old, but people I've known older than us used to have their official "Martini Time" every night without shame and lived to ripe old ages.

                                                                              1. My house has a beautiful golden maple built-in hutch with glass sliding cabinet doors. it pretty much begs for shimmering glass bottles and crystal, so my liquor and bar glassware take up one half. It definitely looks impressive. My next project is to install some can lights and glass shelves. Liquor cabinets can be the epitome of class.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: funklight

                                                                                  My parents always kept good quality booze around for the "holidays", I drank copious amounts when I was a teen, when I was married I hardly drank, now, in my 30s I have a well kept tiki bar and am always willing to shake, stir or blend if having company...it's called hospitality!

                                                                                2. Reminds me of a story that took place just a few weeks ago. I was at a party and this person I know slightly came in with her boyfriend. they had been drinking a bit and she tucked a bottle into the freezer. Later that evening, she called me over to look at the bottle. it was tequila. She asked if I have ever seen this particular brand, and i had not. She claimed it was a rather expensive bottle. Interesting enough, me and my gf were looking at bottles that same day of the 500 to 1000 dollar bottles of tequila.

                                                                                  Well, she went on to say that she had taken it from her parents rather extensive liquor reserves, as they are collectors. Mind you this woman was about 35. As she put the bottle back (didn't offer me a shot) she slipped. The bottle slid to the next level of the freezer, then slipped to the next one again, and again. It had made its way to the bottle level and was tetering. It fell and smashed all over the floor.

                                                                                  She looked at me and I couldn't say anything more than "that WAS a very rare bottle."

                                                                                  Karma I suppose. Had she shared we would have all enjoyed her parents rare bottle.