Everyone loves a good home bar. It’s a sign of class and success, the true display of one’s appreciation for the finer things in life. Of course, if stocked with plastic bottles of cheap booze, it can also be a sign of depravity. Those new to home bars should find the middle ground and stock their bar with the quality ingredients necessary for well-crafted cocktails, but without the overzealous cliches of the label-conscious crowd.
When stocking a home bar, one should consider the purpose of the spirit. If sipping it straight, invest in higher quality liquor. If mixing into a cocktail, you can often grab from the middle shelf without sacrificing taste. Plus, it’s important to realize that certain spirits, like rye whiskey, for example, present many excellent choices around the $20 range, whereas one has to climb the ladder toward $40 for a solid aged tequila or scotch.
To get that liquor cabinet on its way toward a respectable home bar, which is one of the most rewarding things a drinker can do, consider the following spirits and brands:
Bourbon: Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey 101
Gin: Beefeater, Martin Miller’s, Tanqueray, Plymouth
Rye: Jim Beam, Old Overholt, Rittenhouse 100, Sazerac
Vodka: Grey Goose, Absolut, Sobieski
White rum: Bacardi, 10 Cane, Mt. Gay Eclipse, Don Q
Aged rum: Appleton Estate, Bacardi 8 Year, Flor de Cana 12 Year
Reposado/Anejo Tequila: Cazadores, Jose Cuervo Tradicional, Milagro, Tres Generaciones
Give those a shot to start. Add liqueurs and bitters and more exotic spirits to the mix as you go, and you’ll soon have a bar that’s the envy of all your friends.