During a recent quiet afternoon — something that’s been very rare around here for the past six weeks or so — I decided to do some busywork I’d been meaning to tackle for some time, and cataloged the contents of my liquor cabinet.
The move was at least partially motivated by my occasional frustration in mixing a drink, when I have a yen for a particular cocktail and I’m starting to put things together, only to realize that, DAMMIT, a month or so previous I finished off the bottle of gin / rum / liqueur that is a vital component in the drink, and I forgot to pick up a replacement at the liquor store. (And yes, I could use a replacement brand, but if I’m hankering for a Plymouth martini or a bonded Rittenhouse Manhattan, then subbing Bombay Original or Van Winkle Family Reserve — as pleasing as the result may be — just isn’t the same thing. And don’t even get me started on the time when I had a visceral longing for a nice, chewy Sazerac, only to find my bottle of Peychaud’s was running on fumes.)
Rather than write all this down only to lose the piece of paper a week later — a regular occurence in my house — I thought I’d post it here, both so I’ll always know where the list is, and so I can field questions or relate commentary on particular brands and spirits. I’ve put the list on its own new page, a link for which is in the top menu bar (and right here).
Keep in mind a few things: first, this is my home bar, funded by my own spare change and without assistance from corporate budgets, liquor distributors, or any other source that people use to amass tons of free booze. Unlike some alcohol websites and blogs, I don’t solicit free samples from marketing people, and I can’t recall ever responding to offers of free liquor samples (though at least a couple have inexplicably shown up by UPS anyway) –mainly because I have little to no interest in 99 percent of the products that I’m offered. The exception to this rule is samples I’m sent either in relation to an article I’m writing for publication (for products I can’t obtain in my area), or to use while researching drinks for an event such as Tales of the Cocktail. Not that I sneer at the offer of free booze, or at those who accept it, but a vast majority of the marketing e-mails I receive are for things that would just waste my time. If I get an offer to sample a genuinely interesting product, I might go for it.
The selection is also a bit idiosyncratic — I’m sitting pretty when it comes to rye, and the rum selection is getting a bit unruly, but if you’re coming over to my house with a thirst for tequila or a nice single-malt Scotch, you’d better bring your own bottle. It’s not that I don’t like those things — on the contrary — but with my interests and my booze budget, I’m much more likely to pick up two $25 bottles of good mixing rums than one $50 bottle of fine anejo. Hmm, why don’t I get offers of freebies from the marketing folks at Laphroaig or Zacapa?
Finally, the list doesn’t reflect empties. I say this in anticipation of the comments or e-mails along the lines of “you haven’t tried Knob Creek? What the hell kind of booze geek are you?” The list only details what I have now (and I plan to update it on something of a regular basis).
I’d like to do more tasting notes in the future, so this list will blossom with links at some point (right now I just have the rye notes, and I haven’t even linked those yet). Maybe down the line.
So, here’s what I got. And you?