Home Bar (part 1)

When you turn 21, it’s as good a time as any to start on stocking that home bar you’ve been daydreaming about before but never could bring yourself to bribing one of your overage friends to buy you 1901823 bottles of hard liquor for.

Well, as a reward to myself for not rioting against the unbelievably ridiculous and paradoxical government which decided that certain subsets of those allowed to vote in a democratic election are somehow still incapable of making responsible decisions, I bought myself the beginnings of a home bar as a birthday present. But what to get?!

I did my research. I needed to get a bottle each of rum, vodka, tequila, and gin and anything else is purely up to my preferences in cocktails. Luckily the ones I enjoy are fairly simple and standard, in no particular order:

– margarita
– long island iced tea
– gin & tonic
– bloody mary
– white russian
– irish coffee
– mojitos/caipirinhas

Basically, outside of the standard liquors, I needed merely a triple sec and an irish cream. I didn’t have too much in the way of requirements besides that, 1. I’m cheap, 2. I still want quality, 3. I have a bit of the snooty “I don’t like to do what other people do” attitude (in the 21st century, this essentially boils down to not owning an iPod).

So the following became my shopping list, from marketviewliquor.com because I live in NYC, I’m a student, and ordering liquor from upstate New York is the only way I could afford it.

   Name: Carolans Finest Irish Cream Liqueur, 1.00 Ltr

   Price: $12.99

   Quantity: 1

   Total: $12.99

   Name: Sambuca Di Amore, 0.75 Ltr

   Price: $11.99

   Quantity: 1

   Discount: $1.20

   Total: $10.79

   Name: Cachaca 51 Rum, 1.00 Ltr

   Price: $19.99

   Quantity: 1

   Discount: $2.00

   Total: $17.99

   Name: Bombay Gin, 0.75 Ltr

   Price: $17.99

   Quantity: 1

   Discount: $1.80

   Total: $16.19

   Name: Stock Gran Cala, 0.75 Ltr

   Price: $15.99

   Quantity: 1

   Discount: $1.60

   Total: $14.39

   Name: Svedka Vodka, 1.00 Ltr

   Price: $12.99

   Quantity: 1

   Total: $12.99

   Name: Sauza Blanco Tequila, 0.75 Ltr

   Price: $14.99

   Quantity: 1

   Total: $14.99

   Name: Ansac VS Cognac, 0.75 Ltr

   Price: $15.99

   Quantity: 1

   Discount: $1.60

   Total: $14.39

Total: $114.72 for 8 liquors, or ~$17/1.0L

Why the cognac and the sambuca you ask? Well… quite honestly, I don’t really know what I was thinking at that moment either. But I’m pretty sure the sambuca was because 1) I’m kind of an italophile and 2) I like coffee (again, see #1). The cognac I’m still scratching my head over. I think I wanted to make sidecars, since I have a strange and completely unfounded fondness for historically appreciated cocktails that don’t garner that much attention in this vodka-centric modernity.

Overall, it came out quite well — as you can tell by my preeetty alcohol supply

Home bar 800×600

I haven’t quite figured out where to store them yet. They’re currently hiding underneath a 14.99 Ikea coffee table holding up a $40 second-hand TV which is then underneath a free huge Chinese flag — just because I’m slightly ghetto commie. Or that I haven’t bought a nice bookcase/shelving unit to put them up on yet.

In terms of the quality

– the cachaca is sooo much smoother than any rum I’ve had before

– I actually like the Carolan’s better than Bailey’s b/c its less creamy (and oh, yeah, half the price)

– the gin is good gin (didn’t cheap out there) but I need tonic water around the house

– the gran cala is… well.. uuuh… kind of harsh/not sweet enough to substitute for when a triple sec is necessary but definitely good by itself on the rocks

– the tequila is cheap tequila (which is to say, it’s not that good, but I can’t afford better — tequila moreso than other hard liquors I think you really get what you pay for)

– the svedka vodka … is GOOD. really good. It’s kind of disconcerting that its that cheap — but then again, they claim to try to be the Ikea of vodka, and god knows Ikea does a good job at being disconcertingly cheap.

– I’ve never had any other sambuca or cognacs to compar with, but both were decent with the caveat that I have no idea what the hell to do with them.

All in all, not a bad start to a grown-up adult bar, ne? Amazingly, it’s only been a month and I’m pretty out of the 1L of Carolan’s. Thank god it’s only 12.99/L and not Bailey’s, which would’ve set me back ~30ish for the equivalent! The cachaca has a fairly decent chunk cut out of it (due to the popularity of bastardized caipirinhas), the vodka & tequila a mite bit chomped on, but otherwise everything else is fairly untouched. Most likely, future acquisitions will last longer, since my birthday celebrations seem to have lasted the entire month of January.

So what’s next to building up my dream bar? I’m thinking I need some coffee liquor in there (Neil’s gift bottle of Kahlua is running perilously low), maybe some Kapali as an alternative. I definitely need a real triple sec, another irish creme, and maybe some sweet & dry vermouths to make some more traditional cocktails. Meanwhile, I had an amazing butterscotch martini (with a dollop of ice cream in it) in Butternuts in Hadley, MA, so now I’m interested in picking up some vanilla vodka & butterscotch schnapps to try and recreate that goodness.

Ahh, so many options, so little stipend. =(


2 Responses

  1. Is Bombay actually considered good gin? I’m not very gin-savvy, so I guess I wouldn’t actually know.

    I’m in favor of abolishing vodka as the default cocktail-base. Sidecars are damn classy.

  2. i think its pretty standard gin actually… does anybody know anything about gin anymore?

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