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What to add to my Christmas Wish List?

curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 10:53 AM

My wife asked me to give her my Christmas wish list, and I always include liqueurs, bitters, amari, etc.

I currently have in my cabinet/fridge the usual assortment of base liquors everyone typically has, along with the following:

Green Chartreuse
St Germain
Mathilde Orange Liqueur
Mathilde Cassis
Hiram Walker Peach Brandy
Luxardo Apricot Brandy
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette
John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
Monin Orgeat
Cocchi Americano
Bitters (Angostura, Peychaud's, Fee's Orange, Regan's Orange, Angostura Orange)
Dry, Sweet and Blanc Vermouths

Obviously, I can make a wide range of classic/craft cocktails with the above, but I'd like to further expand my capabilities with the addition of a few key items. I've identified a few items that

So far, my list wish has apple brandy, sloe gin, creme de menthe, creme de cacao, Swedish Punsch, apricot liqueur and Curacao. Any other can't-live-without liqueurs or other cocktail ingredients I should add to my list?

  1. JMF Nov 25, 2013 05:18 PM

    Suze, and any of the Merlet (the strawberry is the best strawberry liqueur there is) or Giffard fruit liqueurs (the pink grapefruit is insane.) Rothman & Winters Apricot and peach liqueurs. For sipping or cocktails.

    For cocktails, El Dorado dark rum and 3 yr. white rum, and for sipping or fine cocktails the El Dorado 12 yr. rum.

    Any of the Bittermens bitters, especially the 'Elemakule Tiki bitters.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JMF
      ceekskat Nov 26, 2013 01:01 PM

      "the pink grapefruit is insane"...'nuff said, this is going on MY Christmas list.

      1. re: ceekskat
        JMF Nov 26, 2013 02:20 PM

        and it's very reasonably priced.

      2. re: JMF
        JMF Nov 26, 2013 02:20 PM

        Oh, I got a different strawberry liqueur mixed up with the Merlet. Merlet liqueurs in general are great, but the one that I was thinking of is Emile Pernot Fraise de Bois (strawberry liqueur) It's a bit pricy at $40 a liter, but I don't like strawberries that much but this was fantastic.

      3. ted Nov 25, 2013 07:13 AM

        Add Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters to the list if you don't have them already.

        How about some books for the cocktail library? In addition to the great new and classic books, I have enjoyed the annual Food & Wine cocktail book for the past few years. They're inexpensive and have good current recipes. I tend to get a copy or two as gifts for friends, too. The only slight complaint I've had is that sometimes they rely on the newest-and-greatest liqueurs that I'm not excited to invest in for one drink in one book.

        1. j
          johncb Nov 24, 2013 06:04 PM

          I only know the French formulation (I understand the US import is somewhat different). But it is essential if only for making a white negroni.

          Also, I would skip the Hiram Walker Peach Brandy in favor of Dutch's Barrel-aged Peach Brandy (I will admit that I am no connoiseur -- I use it mainly for Fish House Punch).

          I think there are better orgeats out there than Monin, too.

          1. c
            CarmenR Nov 24, 2013 04:05 PM

            Not sure if you have this, but genevere is also great to have around and experiment with (we usually keep a bottle of Bols on the shelf.) I'm a big gin drinker so any variation to keep things interesting is on my list!

            4 Replies
            1. re: CarmenR
              curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 04:08 PM

              I'm a huge gin fan, but have no genevere, Thanks for reminding me to add this to my list!

              1. re: curseofleisure
                CarmenR Nov 24, 2013 04:13 PM

                Great! I'd go with Bols, primarily because the bottle is really pretty ;) It's delicious, too, but we have an open display shelf and it's a nice addition sitting next to the tanquaray 10 bottle (in front of the plymouth- that bottle is not attractive!)

                1. re: CarmenR
                  curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 04:24 PM

                  The new Plymouth bottle design looks like it should be a trendy gin bottle to me. I much prefer the old bottle design (or even the old, old one).

                2. re: curseofleisure
                  A_Gonzalez Nov 24, 2013 10:43 PM

                  Genever is the kind of thing that I think is worth sampling before purchasing if you're lucky enough to be able to do so. I say this because if you're not already familiar with it, it can be pretty surprising just how different it is from gin. It's an odd spirit.

              2. EvergreenDan Nov 24, 2013 02:13 PM

                Exactly what base spirits do you have? Some good ones:

                - Lairds Apple Brandy BIB (a bit hard to find, rather than their applejack)
                - A good mixing scotch of your taste, plus more for sipping if you like it
                - A mixing cognac
                - Mezcal if you like it
                - Various Eau de Vie, if you like them (e.g. Pear William, Kirschwasser)
                - Smith & Cross rum
                - A good grassy white agricole rum
                - I assume you have rye and bourbon covered
                - Irish whiskey (Clontarf is good and reasonable)
                - A pie-spiced amaro -- Ramazzotti, Averna, etc
                - Clement Creole Shrubb

                I would probably put most of these before CdC and CdM. Get good Sloe Gin (Plymouth, Bitter Truth, etc.) or nothing. But good clear curacao -- Pierre Ferrand Dry if you can find it, Senior if you can't. Nothing blue, orange, or cheap.

                www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                1 Reply
                1. re: EvergreenDan
                  curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 04:13 PM

                  Thanks, EvergreenDan. I knew you'd come through. Very good guess to assume I'd be fine on bourbon and rye, but lacking in Irish whiskey. Thanks for the brand recommendation. Clement Creole Shrub and Smith & Cross are now on my list, and I did indeed include Mescal, Black Grouse, Mezcal and Ramazzotti.

                2. a
                  A_Gonzalez Nov 24, 2013 01:27 PM

                  Cherry Heering? At the verybleast that's a Blood and Sand or a Singapore Sling.

                  I've never been disappointed by spice-heavy liqueurs, like falernum or allspice dram. I know falernum drinks are mostly out of season, but...allspice! That's Christmasy, right? (I put it in my egg nog >_>)

                  If you're going for a curacao, I can't recommend Pierre Ferrand dry curacao enough. It's the liqueur that helped me realize I actually like certain orange liqueur drinks.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: A_Gonzalez
                    curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 01:37 PM

                    Man, I really should have gone and looked in my liquor cabinet instead of going by memory! I already have Cherry Heering, too.

                    Thanks for reminding me about Allspice Dram. Added to my list!

                    1. re: A_Gonzalez
                      ncyankee101 Nov 25, 2013 01:03 AM

                      Good call, i was just drinking some egg nog and trying to decide what to put it my next one. St Liz worked very well!

                    2. Gastronomos Nov 24, 2013 12:59 PM

                      Ouzo from Mytilini

                      1. c
                        ceekskat Nov 24, 2013 12:56 PM

                        Amaro dell'erborista - DH & I recently discovered this & instantly fell in love with it. Not cheap at $70/ltr. Too bad K&L Wines is out of it...wanted to buy more.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ceekskat
                          curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 01:13 PM

                          Sounds wonderful. Added to my list. Thanks!

                          1. re: ceekskat
                            ceekskat Nov 24, 2013 01:58 PM


                            Barsol for this recipe

                            Tempest Fugit Liquer de violettes- bought after a lovely cocktail I had in SF but haven't figured out a drink recipe :) I realize you already have the Rothman...

                          2. a
                            ASingh Nov 24, 2013 11:43 AM

                            Kümmel. For an easy to knock up Silver Bullet cocktail

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ASingh
                              curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 12:35 PM

                              What a coincidence you should mention Kümmel, because that's the one bottle already in my cabinet that I forgot to list. I bought it a year ago for a Russian-themed dinner party we had. I used several existing recipes and made up/adapted some of my own for the party featuring Kümmel. They all got very good reviews from the guests, but the one that got the most raves featured rye, Kummel, Fernet Branca, ginger beer and a homemade cayenne tincture. I have never tried a Silver Bullet, though. Thanks for the tip.

                              1. re: curseofleisure
                                ASingh Nov 24, 2013 12:44 PM

                                Lol! Thanks for the tip in return:) What are the individual measurements for your cocktail?

                                1. re: ASingh
                                  curseofleisure Nov 24, 2013 01:12 PM

                                  This was one of three our four drinks I made up for that party. The others were adapted versions of existing cocktails, generally substituting Kummel for Absinthe, and a homemade beet grenadine for regular grenadine or other liqueurs. This was the only drink I created from scratch with no existing drink recipe as a reference point.


                                  1.5 oz rye
                                  .75 oz Kummel
                                  1-2 dashes cayenne tincture
                                  splash fernet branca
                                  ginger beer

                                  build first four ingredients in a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer

                                  You may want to make it a tall drink if you want to have more ginger beer and less booze.

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