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Feb 8, 2012 10:55 PM

Next Couple of bottle purchase suggestions?

I've been thinging about augmenting my liquor cabinet. Here's what I have right now:

Vodka: Smirnoff
Gin: Beefeaters
Whiskey: Balcones Baby Blue
Brandy: Camus VS
Rum: El Dorado 5 Dark Rum
Orange Liquor: Luxardo Triplum
Oddball stuff: Linie Aquavit, Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau du vie.
Bitters: Peychaud's, Fee's Chocolate Bitters, Angustoura

With this to start with, what would be your next couple of bottle purchases (leaving aside the semi perishables like vermouths that I buy as needed)?

I'm thinking that I clearly need a rye/bourbon : Rittenhouse rye came to mind. Any alternatives that aren't too pricey? Idealy, it would serve double duty for sipping, but that isn't too critical

The next bottle is what's causing me some thought. I'm not sure if I should add a rum (and if so, what sort? Perhaps an Agricole or an overproof White like J Wray and Nephew). Or an italian bitter like campari. Or an amaro of some sort. Or Green Charteruse. You see my problem.

What would be the fewest number of bottles I'd need to add to my bar to give me more flexibility to make classics?

I live in texas, so some of the more obscure stuff is unavailable here (though the situation is improving rapidly). I mostly like to drink classics and riff's on them(a big fan of vespers, sazeracs,negronis and the like), and have only started to recently attempt to make them on my own.

Thanks in advance

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  1. Rittenhouse 100 is very good for the price - usually $15-20 - but can be hard to find. I like Wild Turkey Rye somewhat better for both mixing and sipping, it is more readily available but it is a bit more expensive, usually $20-24.

    You probably don't "need" to add a rum at this point as the El Dorado 5 yr old ably serves as a great mixer and a sipper. If you want an agricole get barbancourt 5 star, half the price of the official AoCs and as good or better than almost any of them. If you want a light or white rum I would recommend Appleton Special, or perhaps even the El Dorado 3 yr if you can find it.

    1. Orange Bitters (Regan's or Angostura Orange are my recommendations).

      Otherwise, it would be nice to know what recipes you like and want to make. Wanting to make a drink and knowing that you lack a single ingredient that you have seen in other recipes you've wanted to make is a good way to build your bar.

      Since you said Sazerac and Negroni, an absinthe/pastis/herbsaint and Campari might be good purchases.

        1. I'm a big fan of Redemption Rye. I think it mixes better than Rittenhouse in cocktails due to its lower proof (90 vs 100) and has delicious spicy finish in a cocktail rather than the alcohol burn I tend to get with the Rittenhouse. It's usually between $20-25 and is also great for sipping.

          Orange bitters definitely. After that, as yarm said an absinthe/pastis/herbsaint would be nice. I'd recommend a pastis unless you enjoy absinthe straight, as pastis is more approchable and easier to get through a bottle of (not to mention cheaper), plus you can cook with it.