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Good Cocktail, Bad Liquor

Good cocktails generally come from good ingredients, but sometimes a bottle sneaks its way into your home and onto the bar that's too offensive to sip and insults the other ingredients in most drinks it touches.

What are some cocktails that make use of mediocre spirits not by drowning them out with sugar or other overwhelming flavors, but instead cater to their deficiencies (deficiencies referring primarily to unremarkability or high fusel content; wildly off flavors are more difficult to account for), drinks where spirits of a better pedigree would prove excessive.

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  1. Guests.

    Wait for one that wants a Long Island Ice Tea.

    Bloody Mary?

    For crappy liqueurs, I wait for a guest with a sweet tooth and no tolerance of complex, bitter, or herbal flavors.

    1 Reply
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      You are ruthless.

      Although to be fair, I did just unload a bottle of Goldschlager (don't ask) onto a willing friend.

    2. The Twelve Mile Limit is a Prohibition-era drink that is flabby with an elegant, smooth, or "premium" rum, but really sings with a rough one. Any time that some one writes that they don't like the drink for it falls short, I recommend something harsh or with a bite for the sugar cane spirit. More 4-1-1: http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/20...

      3 Replies
      1. re: yarm

        Sounds good. I don't happen to have any bad whites currently. Would Wray & Nephew suffice?

        1. re: yarm

          I don't have any harsh whites either, how about a cachaca?

          1. re: yarm

            Made it. I understand your point on the rum. I did 3/4 Matusalem Platino to 1/4 Wray & Nephew. It sufficed. A soft rum would leave the drink without any anchor. Mine wasn't the greatest because my homemade grenadine has gone bad and I had to resort to Rose's since I've been too lazy to make a new batch. Very good suggestion though.

          2. Awful liquors, the more colorful the better, are great in a parfait.

            Mint juleps are great masking awful whiskeys. Add more mint.

            Mom and Dad taught me early on that a good liquor or mixer easily overcomes a bottom shelf booze. And they were right.

            1. Okay this maybe bad advice in general, and I know some will judge for it, but if I have a bottle of bad stuff, I reserve it for shots. I know, not the most mature usage, but I am still a young man, so maybe it is forgivable. Besides, how else am I supposed to use the cheap and ridiculously bad apricot liqueur I bought before I broke down and sprung for Apry?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Czequershuus

                What brand? Make a punch with lots of juices and use it in there with some other spirit as the base.

              2. Answer: alot do. Sometimes you have to increase the ratio of mixer to booze because the booze is so foul by itself...