Do you have a "Liquor Cabinet"
- Chinon00 Feb 8, 2007 01:41 PM
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?”
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.
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.
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!
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 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
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
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
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
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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
2 irish whiskies
4 home made infused vodkas
5 fruit syrups,
Downstairs we have;
19 single malt scotches and 3 blends
6 irish whiskies
4 american whiskies
6 miscellaneous clear spirits ( shochu, pisco Raki, maotai, etc.)
In the downstairs fridge:
15 kinds of beer and 3 kinds of hard cider
11 fortified wines(vermouth, lillet, etc)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!
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!
galliano is typically used, and is most famous in the harvey wallbanger drink, which is bascially a screwdriver + galliano. Very tasty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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 . . . .
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.
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
Jim Beam White
HW Blue Curacao
HW Triple Sec
HW Creme de Caceo
HW Apricot brandy
M&R extra-dry vermouth
Jameson Irish whiskey
M&R rosso vermouth
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.
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 . . .
Hangar One MAndrin Orange Vodka
Hangar One Budda's Hand Citron Vodka
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
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
Hotel California Tequila Resposado
Don Julio Resposado
some cheap no-name Tequila for mixing
Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth
Benedictine & Brandy (B&B)
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 . . . .
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.
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.)
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.
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.
My "cabinet" consists of....
Hayman's Old Tom
Smirnoff Copper Pot Still
Ketel One Citron
Havana 7 Year
Creme De Violette
Creme De Peche
Creme De Peche De Vigne
Trenet 45 Absinthe
Noilly Pratty Dry
Carpano Antica Formula
Ardbeg 10 Year
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
Chateau Tariquet 1985
Chateau Tariquet 1988
Chateau Tariquet 8 Year
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
Home-Infusions (vodka based)
Basil & Black Pepper
Rhubarb & Ginger
Apple & Cinnamon
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!!
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.
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.
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!
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.