A Budget friendly liquor cabinet?
Care to recommend your favorite compromise brands for decent cocktails on non special occasions? Martinis, daquiris, gimlets, margaritas, bloody marys, manhattans, negronis, cosmopolitans. For instance:
Vodka: Smirnoff. I can't understand any need to spend more for mixing.
White rum: Almost any cheap brand tastes less harsh than Bacardi! Ron Rico, Ron Diaz.
Vermouth: Here, compromise does not pay. At least get Noilly Prat or Martini and Rossi.
Triple sec: Searching for something halfway between Jacquin's and Grand Marnier.
Tequila. A tough one. Sauza?
Looks like a pretty good list. My standard Vodka is Luksusowa. More expensive than US made vodkas but well worth it. For Bourbon, Old Crow. Blended whiskey, Seagram's Seven Crown. Cheap Scotch blend-Lauder's. Canadian, McMaster's. I don't have triple sec because I can't give up my Grand Marnier and I can use it to upgrade a triple sec drink.
Second the rec for Luksusowa; my standard and all-round favorite is Youri Dolgoruki.
I don't drink rum.
Whiskey - Maker's is the best value to me
Vermouth - I recently bought Lillet, but don't find it much differnet than dry vermouth like Martini & Rossi,
Triple Sec - I only use it for cadillac margies and I prefer Cointreau; I've tried Patron's Citronage and didn't like it although it's priced low.
Tequila - got to be 100% agave; not a mixto that's half sugar. Sauza hornitos is a good budget tequila; I spend $10 more for Herradura plato.
If you want a fairly good guide for almost anything you could have in a bar, and both top shelf and budget items for all of these thigns, check out: http://www.tastings.com/spirits/best_...
I think it's on with both the Gordon's Gin and Vodka.
I'd probably go with a Bowmore for a single malt.
I have not shopped for a cheap amber rum for a while, but I would add one to any bar. I know a lot of rum drinkers that would never touch a rum and coke or a fruity rum drink like a daiquiri, but would instead rink it with tonic or ginger ale, or if drinking good rum straight or on the rocks. All of these rum drinkers, drink amber or darker rums. Appletons, Mount Gay, Barbancourt, are all good enough choices.
I have several problems with the original post.
Vodka: Smirnoff isn't exactly the bee's knees of budget vodkas. Solbieski is far superior and at the same price
Whiskey: Ancient Age bourbon easily
Gin: Gilbey's is cheap but tastes like pine sap. Don't have a better suggestion though.
When I go ghetto:
Vodka- Skyy- I only use vodka for mixing, so this is fine for me
Rum- I don't drink rum
Gin- New Amsterdam- pretty easy drinking, with citrus and lighter juniper
Whiskey- Jim Beam is $20 a handle. Why look elsewhere?
Tequila- Cazadores- it's respectable, middle of the road, 100% agave tequila
Flor de Cana rum (amber) $14
Marie Brizzards makes a good triple sec, but I use so little that I feel like this is one area where the Grand Marnier is worth it.
Look to the ryes for whiskey:
Old Overholt makes a great Manhattan - $12
Rittenhouse 100 is less than $20 and also very good.
Casadores is my go-to for affordable tequila. Def. beats Sauza.