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Where do you keep your liquor?

As we try more cocktails and buy more, diferent, bottles storage is becoming a real issue. So I'm wondering - where do people keep their liquor? Ours is in an old microwave table in the basemnet - really just for want of a better space. I'd love to hear what other people do.

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  1. I bought several inexpensive 3 ft wide and 6 ft tall bookcases from walmart, put them in my office/library with my 1/2 dozen bookshelves for my food and beverage books, and set the bottles on the shelves. I call that section my spirits library and have well over 200 bottles. I have to get a few more bookshelves because the shelves are starting to bow down from the weight.

    I also bought a wine fridge, a temp controlled wine cellar, and several wine racks and set them up in the office as well. (It's a BIG office.) I have around the same amount of wine as spirits stored there right now.

    My office is a happy place! Crowded, but happy. (hic)

    1. We have a giant entertainment center with clear glass and wood cabinets on either side (my DH will not give this monstrosity up). I keep the majority of my liquors in there. Wine (except red, which goes in a small wine rack in the living room) goes straight into the fridge. I keep some vodka and blackberry schnapps in the freezer. My place is small so I have to make do with what's available.....and in the interest of keeping the peace, I use the EC to my advantage.

      1. I purchased an antique mahogany and marble buffet at auction several years ago. It has a large capacity underneath in two closed-door compartments with a shelf in each one. Lo and behold, they are the perfect height to hold most standard 750s. I can fit about 50-60 bottles in there and still see what I have. It makes a very attractive bar in my home. Only problem is the odd sized tall bottles (i.e. Galliano, some of the grappas, certain 1L sizes, etc.) don't fit unless I lay them down. So, they are on top of the bar until I figure out what to do.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ed1066

          That sounds so nice - I wish I had room! My mother has a "bar" - a cabinet which opens up on top for serving drinks and has glasses on shelves built into the door. It holds only about 30 bottles though so it's not a total solution (at least not for me). Our house is so small we couldn't dedicate a piece of furniture to just the liquor.

        2. we have a wine rack for the wine, I dont drink wine, but cook with it.

          Hard liquor, a bottle of tequila lasts about 4 days in my house, so I leave it on the kitchen counter for easy access.

          We also have some rum and vodka which we keep on the kitchen counter, the rum for cooking, the vodka for guests.

          1. I have seen all sorts of things. Most popular, I think, is using a buffet/hutch cabinet to store liquor bottles and keeping accoutrements (cocktail napkins, stirring spoons, etc.) in a little drawer. I have also seen people use metro racks from Home Depot or any restaurant supply store (they come in all sorts of sizes).

            A friend of mine got one of those butcher block kitchen islands on Craigslist for $50 and it's quite large and very sturdy. He stores all of his liquor on the big shelf below and, when he has parties, he uses the island as a drink station.

            Another friend of mine has a built-in bench in front of one of his kitchen windows. He keeps all of his liquor bottles stored in old wooden wine crates and keeps them on the shelf below the bench. Again, when he has parties he uses the bench as a sort of cocktail/drink station.

            I found a very nice looking bar cabinet at Pottery Barn during a floor sample sale. There was a small scratch on the side of it and it was something like 75% off. It has a pull out shelf for mixing cocktails, 2 cabinets that fit a ton of bottles and little drawers and cubbies for all of my gear. Plus it holds all my cocktail and wine glasses. It sits in the corner of my dining room with my wine refrigerator.

            1. We have a front bar and a back bar that we originally installed in the game room of our old house. Moved it to our current house - plenty of space for liquor storage - more than we need as we also have decorative liquor bottles. (Cyrus Noble gold miner series)

              1. So weird to see a thread pop back to life six years later.

                17 Replies
                1. re: JMF

                  Apparently your 2008 reply didn't shut the door on this one! With this being said, I keep my daily bottles on four shelves I built in my kitchen and the remainder in my root cellar.

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                    By September 2009 my spirits library was up to almost 700 bottles, the great majority ones sent to me for review. I had to keep them in boxes in the basement of the winery/brewery I was partner in, more than 50 cases stacked up on two pallets. Before I moved back to NY that month I gave away all but the best. I had some really happy friends who each walked away with 7-8 cases each for helping me pack and move. Now it's down to less than 100. Mostly interesting liqueurs, amaros, etc. to use in cocktail recipe creation, and they are still on those same sets of bookcases, but all the shelves are warped down in the middle an inch or so from the weight over all these years.

                    1. re: JMF

                      700 Bottles on display would be quite a sight ....

                      1. re: hawkeyeui93

                        It was, but my office was smaller by that point because I moved from a house to an apartment. It was just too much when you add in my research library. By the time it got that big I had a 200 bottle overflow on my kitchen table. I'll have to look for pics.

                        I have a friend who is a consulting mixologist, probably the top in the world, who has a Cocktail Lab with over 3,500 different bottles. Back in 2009 when I moved and was working with him, I gave him a case or so. Just stuff I knew he didn't have yet. Here's a photo from a year or two ago that shows about 1/3 of them.

                        1. re: JMF

                          JMF, impressive. Thanks for showing us the picture!

                          1. re: JMF

                            So, do you have a computerized system that shows which location on which shelf a certain spirit is on?

                            1. re: TroyTempest

                              That photo isn't a pic of my booze, but a friends. But everything is arranged by type and style. Now if it were mine, it would all be catalogued by sku.

                              1. re: JMF

                                i'd think you'd have to, or risk searching for a long time looking for things

                                1. re: TroyTempest

                                  Nope, I've found items there within 30 seconds. As I said above "everything is arranged by type and style."

                        2. re: JMF

                          I'd love to see your list of what you've decided to keep.

                            1. re: jaba

                              OK, right now this is what is just out on shelves in my office.
                              Liqueur, Luxardo Maraschino 64
                              Liqueur, Santa Theresa Rhum Orange
                              Liqueur, Mathilde Orange XO
                              Liqueur, Agwa Coco Herbal
                              Liqueur, Edelster Aventinus
                              Liqueur, Esprit de June
                              Liqueur, Jagermeister
                              Liqueur, Pama Pomegranate
                              Liqueur, Datil Grand De Oro Destilado En Elche
                              Liqueur, Licor De Turron
                              Liqueur, Hornito Licor Ron Cafe
                              Liqueur, Rene Alambic Pear
                              Liqueur, Licor 43
                              Liqueur, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
                              Liqueur, Mandarine Napoleone Orange
                              Liqueur, Galliano
                              Liqueur, Rothman & Winters Crème de Violette
                              Liqueur, Rothman & Winters Orchard Apricot
                              Liqueur, Disaronno
                              Liqueur, Domaine De Canton Ginger
                              Liqueur, Domaine De Canton Ginger (Special Distillers Limited Extra Spicy)
                              Liqueur, Plymouth Sloe Gin
                              Liqueur, J Pear Limited Offering
                              Liqueur, Tuaca
                              Liqueur, Cherry Heering
                              Liqueur, Mathilde Black Currant
                              Liqueur, Solerno Blood Orange
                              Liqueur, Frangelico
                              Liqueur, Combier Triple Sec
                              Liqueur, Combier Roi Rene Rouge Cherry
                              Liqueur Combier Royal Combier

                              Rum, Rene Alambic Rum
                              Rum, Batavia Arrack
                              Rum, Tirado Black

                              Whiskey, Tirado Gold corn Whiskey

                              Domestic Brandy
                              Grappa, Mazza Chatauqua Cellars Grappa of Steuben

                              Austrian Brandy
                              Eau de vie, Reisetbauer Williams Pear

                              Absinthe, Jade 1901 Absinthe Superieure 68%
                              Absinthe, CF Berger Absinthe Superieure 65%
                              Absinthe, Esprit Edouard Absinthe Superieure 72%
                              Absinthe, Great Lakes Distillery Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte 63%
                              Absinthe, Great Lakes Distillery Amerique 1912 Absinthe Rouge 63%
                              Absinthe, Lucid Absinthe Superieure 62%
                              Absinthe, Absente 65%
                              Absinthe, Pernod 68%
                              Absinthe, La Fee 68%
                              Absinthe, Vieux Carre 60%

                              Mezcal, Scorpion Silver

                              This is stuff that isn't accessible right now but will be in a few weeks once I finishing getting stuff moved to the new storage facility. This isn't a complete list. There are some duplicates where I have a bottle out and another boxed away.
                              Herbals: Amaro, Aperitif, Bitters, Digestif
                              Amaro, Gran Classico bitters
                              Amaro, Meletti 64%
                              Amaro, Ramazzotti Amaro 60
                              Aperitif, Aperol
                              Aperitif, Byrrh
                              Aperitif, Campari Aperitivo
                              Aperitif, Cappeletti
                              Aperitif, Cardamaro
                              Aperitif, Genepi
                              Aperitif, Tempus Fugit Kina Lavion D’or

                              Fortified Wines: Port, Sherry, Vermouth
                              Vermouth, Boisserie, Dry
                              Vermouth, Boisserie, Sweet
                              Vermouth, Carpano Antica Formula
                              Vermouth, Dolin Dry
                              Vermouth, Dolin Sweet Rouge
                              Vermouth, Imbue Petal & Thorn Vermouth
                              Vermouth, Punt E Mes
                              Vermouth, Noilly Prat Dry

                              American Brandy
                              Brandy, Christian Brothers Amber VS
                              Brandy, Lairds Apple Brandy 100 Bottled in Bond

                              French Brandy
                              Brandy, Cognac, Landy VS

                              Spanish Brandy
                              Brandy, Romate Solera Reserve

                              American Gin
                              Gin, Barr Hill, Caledonia Spirits, Hardwick, Vermont
                              Gin, Dorothy Parker 88, New York Distilling, Brooklyn, NY
                              Gin, Greenhook Dry, Greenhook Ginsmiths, Brooklyn, NY – Vacuum Distilled
                              Gin, Half Moon Orchard, Tuthilltown Spirits, Gardiner, NY
                              Gin, Knickerbocker, New Holland Brewing, Holland, Michigan

                              Dutch Gin
                              Gin, Bols Genever

                              English Gin
                              Gin, Bombay Sapphire East

                              French Gin
                              Gin, Citadelle 88

                              Liqueur, John D. Taylors Velvet Falernum
                              Liqueur, Rothman & Winters Crème de Violette
                              Liqueur, Rothman & Winters Orchard Apricot
                              Liqueur, Rothman & Winters Peach
                              Liqueur, Benedictine
                              Liqueur, Bols Crème de Cacao White
                              Liqueur, Bols Crème de Cassis
                              Liqueur, Bols Crème de Menthe Clear
                              Liqueur, Bols Curacao
                              Liqueur, Boulaine Banana
                              Liqueur, Boulaine Crème de Cacao
                              Liqueur, Chartreuse Green 110
                              Liqueur, Chartreuse Yellow 80
                              Liqueur, Cherry Heering 48
                              Liqueur, Cointreau
                              Liqueur, Drambuie
                              Liqueur, Emile Pernot Fraise de Bois strawberry
                              Liqueur, Emile Pernot Sapin 40%
                              Liqueur, Giffard Curacao triple sec
                              Liqueur, Giffard Pink Grapefruit
                              Liqueur, Herbsaint 90
                              Liqueur, Luxardo Amaretto
                              Liqueur, Luxardo Maraschino 64
                              Liqueur, Marie Brizard Orange Curacao
                              Liqueur, Marie Brizard Raspberry
                              Liqueur, Marie Brizard White Crème de cacao
                              Liqueur, Marie Brizard White Crème de Menthe
                              Liqueur, Merlet Crème de Cassis
                              Liqueur, Merlet Crème de Framboise
                              Liqueur, Merlet Crème de Peche
                              Liqueur, Merlet Crème de Poire
                              Liqueur, Merlet Trois Citron
                              Liqueur, Nux Alpina Walnut
                              Liqueur, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
                              Liqueur, St-Germain Elderflower

                              Rum, Batavia Arrack
                              Rum, Brinley Gold Coconut
                              Rum, Coruba Dark Jamaican
                              Rum, El Dorado 12 yr.
                              Rum, El Dorado 3 yr. White
                              Rum, El Dorado Dark
                              Rum, El Dorado Spiced
                              Rum, Goslings Black Seal 80
                              Rum, Lemon Hart Demerara 151
                              Rum, Owney’s Own, Brooklyn, NY
                              Rum, Plantation Barbados 5 yr.
                              Rum, Smith & Cross Jamaican
                              Rum, Cachaca, Avua Amburana
                              Rum, Cachaca, Avua Prata

                              American Whiskey
                              Bourbon, Evan Williams Black Label
                              Bourbon, Jim Beam White Label
                              Bourbon, Knob Creek Small Batch
                              Bourbon, Knob Creek Smoked Maple
                              Bourbon, Redemption
                              Bourbon, Weller Antique 107
                              Rye, J.P. Wiser’s
                              Rye, Redemption
                              Rye, Rittenhouse 100
                              Rye, Riverboat
                              Specialty, Michter’s American
                              Specialty, Michter’s Sour Mash
                              Tennessee, Jack Daniels Black Label

                              Irish Whiskey
                              Irish Whiskey, Jameson 80
                              Irish Whiskey, Red Breast 12 yr.

                              Scotch Whiskey
                              Scotch Whiskey, Glenfiddich 12
                              Scotch Whiskey, Glenfiddich 15

                              Vodka, Crop Organic Myer Lemon
                              Vodka, Hophead
                              Vodka, Skyy Citrus
                              Vodka, Slovenia

                              Tequila & Mezcal
                              Mezcal, Sombra
                              Tequila, Astral
                              Tequila, Maestro Dobel

                              1. re: JMF

                                I find it very interesting how little overlap we have . . .


                                1. re: zin1953

                                  One thing to consider is, these were almost all professional comped bottles. Not ones I purchased. There are a few that I wouldn't have chosen myself. But many surprised me by how good they are. I realized I left out a whole bunch... I can somewhat see several cases that I never inventoried, but they are buried under a distillery.

                                  And this doesn't include collectors items and investments. Like the original Tanqueray Malacca, A.H. Hirsch 16, vintage stuff, etc. although I have been liquidating a lot lately.

                                  And then there are the wines. Not as much now as in the past, but still a lot of hard to find dessert wines.

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    At least they could have comped you the Landy VSOP instead of the VS. Landy is an OK cognac made from ugni blanc grapes that do NOT come from petite champagne or grande champagne. You're missing out on some interesting cognacs and armagnacs - not to mention scotches.

                                    1. re: kagemusha49

                                      The good stuff doesn't last long.

                                      I'm pretty good friends with the folk at Pierre Ferrand Cognac. They also make Landy Cognac, Citadelle gin, Mathilde liqueurs, Ferrand Dry Curacao, and Plantation rums. I've had many of their products before they even hit the market.

                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                        Worth noting though that I have bottles of both, and in terms of cocktails, they're essentially indistinguishable, and both quite good. However, straight- up Ina snifter the VSOP is smoother.

                        3. I use a large china cabinet/hutch. It took me about three months of daily searching on Craigslist to find one I thought would work.

                          I wanted at least two shelves and an accessible top to act as a third shelf, which meant any china cabinet with ornate woodwork all around the top was out. I also wanted solid wood shelves, since glass shelves can break. I finally found one with two shelves, a flat top, plenty of drawer and cabinet space, and a nice counter for me to store the glasses, mixing tins, jiggers, strainers, and to prep drinks.

                          I currently house a 70 bottle collection, and around 20 glasses of various types (white and red wine, glencairns, tulips for beer, champagne flutes, coupes, and standard cocktail glasses) which has basically maxed out the space. Fridge houses open and nitro-sealed bottles of various vermouths and fortified wines, as well as homemade grenadine, simple syrup, and orgeat.

                          My GF and I share a 1 BR that's about 650 square feet, but luckily it has a small room off of a tiny kitchen which can serve as either a pantry or, from what I've heard, some tenants convert into a laundry room. The bar/china cabinet fits in there with about and inch and a half to spare on both sides :)

                          1. We live in a 250+ year old farm house that has a number of odd shaped closets tucked in various places around the house. We use one in the family room as a liqueur cabinet. Its narrow, with about 6 shelves from floor to ceiling. It currently had about 12 bottles of various hard alcohols along with a few ports and things like limoncello, St Germaine, framboise, drambuie, etc. It also holds our cocktail shakers, "good" glasses, muddlers, olive picks, etc.

                            1. I have approx. 40 bottles of various distillates, and they are stored on shelves in the wet bar in the dining room.

                              In terms of wine, I have one small (36 btl. capacity) wine "refrigerator" also in the wet bar, and three large ones (166 btl. capacity each) in the cellar . . . plus some assorted cases,

                              1. I searched quite a while for the right dimensions to fit where the built-in china cabinet used to be pre-renovation in our dining room. After looking at lot of really lame furniture store options for really pricey new stuff, we finally settled on a slightly worn-looking Victorian era walnut cabinet with beveled glass panels on the sides and a curved glass door - it came from Bromfield and was a great deal. If I can find a photo, I'll upload it. It holds a lot (50-60 bottles + wine) and the glass is nice for display with the added bonus of minimizing our collection of dust and dog fur around the bottles. It serves us really well.

                                The shelves are really strong. Top two are what's allocated for active spirits use, the bottom one holds a small (12-bottle) wine rack and has room for wine distillates strong / sweet enough not to be refrigerated. Overflow and stock-up items from sales are keep in the root cellar room of our unfinished basement along with most wine. 20 or so bitters varieties and equipment have a designated spot in a kitchen cabinet,, and glassware has it's own simple Ikea glass column cabinet in the dining room.

                                1. WINE:
                                  In a sloped (15 degrees down ) wine rack for 12. There are 2 shelves with granite for misc. bottles & wine carriers. Total 48 bottle capacity.

                                  Common- In 6 crystal decanter serving sets, with mahogany trays from the UK. These can be brought to the table, den, outside, or set nearby with guests on the antique cabinet below. Our common spirits are Gin, Rhum, Cachaca, Cognac, Grappa, local fruit Schnapps, kept in a Danish teak hutch and sideboard.

                                  Bottled- Inside an old antique cabinet-35 capacity, with the bar tools, and a serving tray. Like the wine rack above, the cabinet is topped with a polished granite slab for serving.

                                  Easy to clean, organized, protected, hidden, and no stains.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                    Why would you keep cachaca and gin in decorative decanters? I can understand whiskey, cognac, sipping rum, or artisanal schnapps since they are easily served straight from the decanter into the glass. However, since few people drink gin or cachaca straight up or on the rocks, wouldn't it make more sense to keep them bottled and in the bar, which would seem more appropriate for mixing cocktails?

                                    1. re: The Big Crunch


                                      These are all the sipping varietals, the only exception being a rare G&T now and then.

                                      Just landed in Johannesburg, ZA, and plan on buying a bottle or two of Amarula. Also to sip.

                                      1. re: The Big Crunch

                                        Cachaca can be very expensive sipping spirit and run from $2500-5000+ a bottle.

                                        1. re: JMF

                                          Indeed, and thanks JMF.

                                          Mine is up there in price ( Webber Haus, for example is expensive here in CHF) but my loving, considerate wife would brain me with a floorboard if I bought a bottle at those prices.

                                          Especially on Valentines Day !

                                          1. re: JMF

                                            Interesting, I wasn't aware of that, though I suppose I should have assumed it can be turned into a high-end sipper. We get so little variety of the stuff in the States. I have a bottle of Cuca Fresca which makes tasty drinks and is among the higher end of the minuscule amount of cachacas available in the DC region, but would never think of it as a sipper.

                                            1. re: The Big Crunch

                                              Hi BC-


                                              51 brand, AKA Pirassununga, may be the beverage-mixer of choice for Lula, but it pales harshly compared to others, especially those aged in wood.

                                              I did notice that Leblon is becoming popular in North America when in California a few months ago. It has a very distinct taste, suitable for good Cairpirinhas and Batidas, but not so much for sipping. Same with Ypioca, including the 20 and 50 year aged.

                                              On the bright side, it is reported that there are over 443 Cachacas available now in Brasil. So only 440 to look forward to !

                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                Swissaire, your number of 443 cachaça is way off. Like several decimal points off. Around 1.3 - 1.5 Billion litres of cachaça are distilled a year. Brazil has 30,000 to 40,000 registered cachaça producers,and around another 20,000 to 30,000 unregistered but documented producers, 99% of them micro-distilleries providing just for their village or local region. In Brazil every year around 2,000 new cachaça brands hit the market and another 2,000 disappear. There are at a minimum of 4,000 regular brands on the market, not including the small village and regional brands.

                                                1. re: JMF

                                                  Hi JMF -

                                                  I'm sure you are correct, but the discussion was on aged cachaças for sipping.

                                                  40,000 producers are called Alambiques, or distilleries. They sell bulk pinga to the few big named bottlers such as Ypioca, or Pirassanunga 51. This is done throughout all of Brasil.

                                                  I based my comment on what was stated to us when we visited a Cachaça museum 2.5 months ago while in Rio, again for sipping and not caipirinha mixers.

                                                  We heard the same number then again up in Maraguape, CE at the Ypioca bottling works and museum, just outside of Fortaleza. And there were a number of Alambiques in and around Ceara used to fuel the supply for Ypioca plant.

                                                  We were invited by the owners to tour one sugar cane crusher and Alambique / distillation facility about 2 hours " nearby " from the plant, near Aquiraz. I photographed that process through the various steps.

                                                  Gifted a nice 50 year Ypioca which made it back home unopened and now in the collection waiting for a real good excuse to uncork. ( Like a warm handshake! )

                                      2. My wife hides the tequila from me!

                                        1. Gee, this would make an interesting topic for an article.


                                              1. Very boring, but ours are on top of of our kitchen cabinets (what doesn't need refrigeration). Not a good impression for some visitors!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: csb95

                                                  Let's them know that you mean business!

                                                2. I have a shelf in the closet where I keep it. Nice, dark and dry. My apartment is to small or a proper liquor cabinet.

                                                  1. Closet under the stairs where I also added shelving for a couple dozen wine bottles not "wine fridge worthy". My mother in law has a beautiful 50's Japanese monkeypod carved bar that may, or may not, have my name on it.