What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

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ThankYouJack
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What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by ThankYouJack »

I started getting more into cocktails and less into beer and wine recently. I'm curious:

What do you buy for liquor and do you notice a big difference between bottom, middle and top shelf?

Do you have a favorite cocktail recipe that you wish to share?
bloom2708
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by bloom2708 »

There is a difference. Mid-shelf seems good enough.

Tito's Vodka
La Croix Sparkling Water (Can) - Your favorite flavor (Tangerine is excellent)
1/2 Orange slice for a garnish
Ice

Makes a killer/simple drink. :beer

https://www.titosvodka.com/?utm_source= ... f38230fa80

https://www.lacroixwater.com/flavors/#f ... egory_58|1
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alter
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by alter »

Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonics
AZAttorney11
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by AZAttorney11 »

Life is too short to drink bad liquor. For bourbon, it's Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Four Roses Single Barrel, or Four Roses Small Batch. The "yellow label" Four Roses is gut rot. Stay away from that, even in cocktails.

I had some 23 year Pappy once. It was outstanding (and lived up to its larger than life reputation).
Edward Joseph
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Edward Joseph »

My two go-to's (although reasonably priced)....

Hendricks Gin & tonic w/lime
Laphroaig Scotch - neat
alfaspider
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by alfaspider »

It really depends on the liquor. For Vodka, there is no reason to go beyond a mid-range brand. For Scotch (single malt), I find the point of diminishing returns to be in the $100+ range.

I also think it depends on how alcohol-forward the cocktail is. In a Martini, there's not much else other than the liquor. In a big fruity or dessert-type drink, the quality of the fruit and juice is probably a lot more important than the alcohol.
MrSarcasm
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MrSarcasm »

For tequilas, always go 100% blue agave, the others are mixed with grain alcohol.

Simple, refreshing margarita:
2 parts tequila, 1 part water, 1 part fresh lime juice and add agave nectar to sweeten to your liking. Serve over ice.
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elcadarj
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by elcadarj »

+1 on the life is to short....

I'm a fan on the classic cocktails made with good ingredients. Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Martini, Negroni. No chocotinis etc.
A sample of my liquor cabinet: Bombay Gin for G&T, Bombay Sapphire Gin and Dolin Dry Vermouth for Martinis, Four Roses Small Batch and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino for Manhattans. My wife loves Sapphire and St Germain.

NO PLASTIC BOTTLES.
adamthesmythe
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by adamthesmythe »

OP asked about cocktails. I go middle of the road for cocktails. I have been doing Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and maybe vodka martinis lately. For rye I have been buying Bulleit even though I really should boycott them. Not so many choices where I live.
notinuse
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by notinuse »

Wild Turkey 101. Works for me.
Rus In Urbe
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Rus In Urbe »

Very popular in Provence as an aperitif:

Lillet (only the light gold kind, not the red)
Slice of orange
On ice
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yeahman
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by yeahman »

alfaspider wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:16 pm It really depends on the liquor. For Vodka, there is no reason to go beyond a mid-range brand. For Scotch (single malt), I find the point of diminishing returns to be in the $100+ range.

I also think it depends on how alcohol-forward the cocktail is. In a Martini, there's not much else other than the liquor. In a big fruity or dessert-type drink, the quality of the fruit and juice is probably a lot more important than the alcohol.
This is exactly right.
bgf
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by bgf »

Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"
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Quirkz
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Quirkz »

yeahman wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:23 pm
alfaspider wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:16 pm It really depends on the liquor. For Vodka, there is no reason to go beyond a mid-range brand. For Scotch (single malt), I find the point of diminishing returns to be in the $100+ range.

I also think it depends on how alcohol-forward the cocktail is. In a Martini, there's not much else other than the liquor. In a big fruity or dessert-type drink, the quality of the fruit and juice is probably a lot more important than the alcohol.
This is exactly right.
Thirded, except my taste buds top out at about $50/bottle on the various whiskeys, and probably $30-$40 on most of the other basic liquors.

For cocktails, I love an Old Fashioned, but I'm too lazy to make them at home. Normally it's just bourbon on the rocks. Sometimes I'll throw in a cherry and a splash of juice (Trader Joe's has some good jarred dark cherries, much better than your standard maraschino). I like margaritas, too, but that's pretty basic.
Smoke
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Smoke »

Buffalo Trace neat. :beer
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ls23h
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by ls23h »

Makers a Mark bourbon Manhattan
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Alexa9
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Alexa9 »

Dark 'N Stormy: Goslings Dark Rum + Goslings Ginger Beer + Lime
Gin 'N Tonic: Bombay Sapphire or Gordon's + Schweppes Tonic Water + Lime
Skinny "Witch": Mango/Lime/Grapefruit/Watermelon Waterloo Soda Water + Bacardi Silver + Lime
Martini: Hendrick's or Botanist Gin + Olive w/ Trader Joe's Stilton Cheese OR Cucumber Slices
Grapefruit/Orange Juice + Costco Kirkland American Vodka($16/handle)
Margarita: Simply Limeade + Kirkland Tequila + Ice blended
Piña Colada: Coco Lopez Coconut Cream + Pineapple Juice (or fresh) + Bacardi Silver + Ice blended
Spanish/Irish Coffee: Decaf or Regular Coffee + half and half + Tia Maria or Bailey's Irish Creme
Apple Jack: Hot Apple Cider + Jack Daniel's or similar bourbon/whiskey

Sipping: Papa Pilar's Rum, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, Crowne Royale Reserve, Four Roses Single Barrel
Last edited by Alexa9 on Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
harmoniousmonk
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by harmoniousmonk »

Vodka= midshelf Titos
Splurge on really good bourbon
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happyisland
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by happyisland »

Get your favorite gin (it's good with everything I've tried) and make a Saturn: http://imbibemagazine.com/saturn-cocktail/
(best tiki cocktail I've ever made)
Topic Author
ThankYouJack
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by ThankYouJack »

Quirkz wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:45 pm
yeahman wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:23 pm
alfaspider wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:16 pm It really depends on the liquor. For Vodka, there is no reason to go beyond a mid-range brand. For Scotch (single malt), I find the point of diminishing returns to be in the $100+ range.

I also think it depends on how alcohol-forward the cocktail is. In a Martini, there's not much else other than the liquor. In a big fruity or dessert-type drink, the quality of the fruit and juice is probably a lot more important than the alcohol.
This is exactly right.
Thirded, except my taste buds top out at about $50/bottle on the various whiskeys, and probably $30-$40 on most of the other basic liquors.

For cocktails, I love an Old Fashioned, but I'm too lazy to make them at home. Normally it's just bourbon on the rocks. Sometimes I'll throw in a cherry and a splash of juice (Trader Joe's has some good jarred dark cherries, much better than your standard maraschino). I like margaritas, too, but that's pretty basic.
These cherries are really good too - https://www.amazon.com/Luxardo-Gourmet- ... 144&sr=8-5 Much different than the typical $3-5 jar at a grocery store.
MJS
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MJS »

Always fresh squeezed citrus, never bottled. ... Although I cheat by freezing cubes of (just squeezed) lime juice for Cuba Libras and gin & tonics instead of making wedges each time.
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Kenkat
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Kenkat »

I like to keep a stocked bar to be able to fulfill most reasonable requests. Here’s the current inventory:

1792 Bourbon
Larceny Bourbon
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Maker’s 46 Bourbon
Redemption Rye
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire
Bushmill Irish Whiskey
Tanqueray Gin
El Toro Silver Tequila
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila
Grey Goose Vodka
Malibu Rum
Bacardi Silver Rum
Jagermeister
Hot Damn Cinnamon Schnapps
Peach Schnapps
Triple Sec

I need to add a Scotch Whisky to replace a recent casualty.

Bourbon on the Rocks, Manhattans, Gin / Vodka and Tonic, Tequila and 7up / Sprite are some of the preferred cocktails.
flowerpower
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by flowerpower »

Mixology at home is one of life's simple pleasures.

Mezcal has become a favorite liquor. Mix with chopped jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Sometimes if I am feeling extra crafty, make a simple syrup of jalapeno and sugar.
linenfort
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by linenfort »

When this thread was half as long and I was struggling to log in, I wanted to say check out Badger & Blade, a forum. Great resource which was originally just about shaving, I guess, but they know their libations.

Brokers is a nice gin and not expensive.

Favorite cocktail: Aviation
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MrBobcat
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MrBobcat »

adamthesmythe wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:34 pm OP asked about cocktails. I go middle of the road for cocktails. I have been doing Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and maybe vodka martinis lately. For rye I have been buying Bulleit even though I really should boycott them. Not so many choices where I live.
If you get a chance try Rittenhouse Rye, it's my go to for Manhattan's, Old Fashioned and Sazeracs. Reasonably priced and great in cocktails.

You want a nice spin on a Manhattan, try a Black Manhattan. 2 oz Rye, 1 oz Averna Amaro, couple of dashes of Regan's Orange Bitters.
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MrBobcat
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MrBobcat »

bgf wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:34 pm Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
I usually bump the Gin up to 1.5 parts, also been known to use Plymouth Gin, Navy Strength. :mrgreen:
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MrBobcat
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MrBobcat »

ThankYouJack wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:19 pm
Quirkz wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:45 pm
yeahman wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:23 pm
alfaspider wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:16 pm It really depends on the liquor. For Vodka, there is no reason to go beyond a mid-range brand. For Scotch (single malt), I find the point of diminishing returns to be in the $100+ range.

I also think it depends on how alcohol-forward the cocktail is. In a Martini, there's not much else other than the liquor. In a big fruity or dessert-type drink, the quality of the fruit and juice is probably a lot more important than the alcohol.
This is exactly right.
Thirded, except my taste buds top out at about $50/bottle on the various whiskeys, and probably $30-$40 on most of the other basic liquors.

For cocktails, I love an Old Fashioned, but I'm too lazy to make them at home. Normally it's just bourbon on the rocks. Sometimes I'll throw in a cherry and a splash of juice (Trader Joe's has some good jarred dark cherries, much better than your standard maraschino). I like margaritas, too, but that's pretty basic.
These cherries are really good too - https://www.amazon.com/Luxardo-Gourmet- ... 144&sr=8-5 Much different than the typical $3-5 jar at a grocery store.
Those are the only cherries I'll use... I'm a cherry snob.
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Artful Dodger
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Artful Dodger »

bgf wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:34 pm Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
In the summer, Negroni; in the winter, switch rye (or bourbon) for the gin, and drink a Boulevardier. Late afternoon aperitif, switch club soda for the gin, and drink an Americano.
pdavi21
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by pdavi21 »

Bottom shelf for clear liquors...but brand matter. Middle bottom to middle for everything else.

Martini. Sometimes I use Sauvignon Blanc or nothing as a substitute for Vermouth.

EDIT: Also, I quit drinking a while ago because I finally decided I agreed that it is bad for health and money.
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BigoteGato
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by BigoteGato »

flowerpower wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:19 pm Mixology at home is one of life's simple pleasures.

Mezcal has become a favorite liquor. Mix with chopped jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Sometimes if I am feeling extra crafty, make a simple syrup of jalapeno and sugar.
If you like mezcal, try a Paloma. Very refreshing!
BG
BigoteGato
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by BigoteGato »

Artful Dodger wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:10 am
bgf wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:34 pm Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
In the summer, Negroni; in the winter, switch rye (or bourbon) for the gin, and drink a Boulevardier. Late afternoon aperitif, switch club soda for the gin, and drink an Americano.
+1 on bourbon Boulevardier. It's a great winter cocktail. And so easy to make. Remember to stir, don't shake.
BG
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AerialWombat
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by AerialWombat »

For cocktails, I usually go vodka or gin-based. Mid-shelf is perfectly fine by me for things like gimlets, cosmopolitans, and lemon drops. New Amsterdam is my go-to vodka or gin brand.

If I'm drinking vodka straight, I like Tito's, Reyka, and a tiny distiller outside Seattle that distills vodka from wine.

For Scotch, I prefer Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Lagavulin 16.
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Bfwolf
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Bfwolf »

I am confident that if I made a cocktail with Tito's and made the exact same cocktail a few more times with bargain vodkas, very few of you would be able to identify the Tito's more often than chance dictates.

Well vodka. Always.
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8foot7
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by 8foot7 »

Bfwolf wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:40 am I am confident that if I made a cocktail with Tito's and made the exact same cocktail a few more times with bargain vodkas, very few of you would be able to identify the Tito's more often than chance dictates.

Well vodka. Always.
I used to think this as well but we had 10 or so people over for a Super Bowl party a couple of years so I conducted a study (same cocktail, two glasses, random order for each person) and every person picked out the Tito’s. Some people said the difference was marginal, so there is that, and some preferred the well brand, but every single person at least identified the Tito’s.
Jim85
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Jim85 »

Mostly a bourbon guy. Four Roses small batch and single barrel both excellent. Buffalo Trace and Makers Mark also good. On the budget side, Jim Beam Black (extra aged) is not bad and fine for a Manhattan.
mrmass
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by mrmass »

If a martini, Belvedere Vodka or if mixed (like a vodka tonic) I go with Absolute or whatever is in the well. IMO once mixed it's close to the same to me.
DW usually anything sparkling and rose.
bgf
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by bgf »

Artful Dodger wrote: Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:10 am
bgf wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:34 pm Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
In the summer, Negroni; in the winter, switch rye (or bourbon) for the gin, and drink a Boulevardier. Late afternoon aperitif, switch club soda for the gin, and drink an Americano.
interesting. never had an Americano, but it sounds delicious. we had a party not too long ago and someone brought over some hard seltzer cans id never seen before. i didn't like them much by themselves but mixed with campari and an orange slice they were amazing! same idea.
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"
Millennial
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Millennial »

I have always had a tough time navigating the internet regarding spirits and cocktails... both with sites (many recipe and review sites seems to be written with little/no rigor, just looking for clicks) and forums (where many posters seem to have different goals than my own).

After looking at a lot of different resources, I found the book Death & Co to be just the resource I was looking for. Lots of recommendations on which spirits are the best (and best value) in each category, including reasons why you might select one over another. Also a great resource on classic recipes. Their house recipes are a little less useful for me - I'm sure they're tasty, but they use some exotic ingredients.
MI_bogle
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by MI_bogle »

MSUBobcat wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:30 pm
adamthesmythe wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:34 pm OP asked about cocktails. I go middle of the road for cocktails. I have been doing Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and maybe vodka martinis lately. For rye I have been buying Bulleit even though I really should boycott them. Not so many choices where I live.
If you get a chance try Rittenhouse Rye, it's my go to for Manhattan's, Old Fashioned and Sazeracs. Reasonably priced and great in cocktails.

You want a nice spin on a Manhattan, try a Black Manhattan. 2 oz Rye, 1 oz Averna Amaro, couple of dashes of Regan's Orange Bitters.
+10. Great choice. Bottled in bond, cheap, pretty tasty

Bulleit Rye, High West Double Rye are also good budget to mid-shelf ryes. I don't really have anything against MGP , they put out a lot of pretty good distillate and as long as people aren't trying to pass it off as being distilled by their own small brand, it's A-ok in my book.

Wild Turkey 101, Elijah Craig, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare are in my bourbon rotation

My favorite cocktail is a black walnut perfect Manhattan. 2 oz whiskey, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 2-3 dashes of black walnut bitters


I'm also a fan of gin and tonics in the summer. Hendricks is my go-to gin

Wintertime I drink more scotch. Talisker 10, Ardbeg 10, Oban 14, Lagavulin 8 and 16 are among my favorites but not everybody is a peat-lover.
21&lewis
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by 21&lewis »

My favorite bourbon for the price/value is Four Roses Small Batch (better than Single Barrel to my taste buds). @$30/fifth I haven't found anything better. There are several (much) more expensive brands that I like, but this is my go to for anything bourbon. Great neat, with one ice cube, or in a cocktail.
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lthenderson
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by lthenderson »

ThankYouJack wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:55 pm I started getting more into cocktails and less into beer and wine recently. I'm curious:

What do you buy for liquor and do you notice a big difference between bottom, middle and top shelf?
Not a big drinker so I tend to go for middle and top shelf bottles of scotch. One bottle usually lasts me a year or so. I also have gotten better glasses, iceball molds and other things to better enhance what little I drink.
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alpenglow
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by alpenglow »

bgf wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:34 pm Negroni
1 part Tanqueray
1 part Campari
1 part Cocchi Torino
orange peel garnish

you dont have to do it this way, but any other way is inferior.
Yum! :beer
Thegame14
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by Thegame14 »

vodka and diet ginger ale, usually raspberry ginger ale, and brands of vodka, svedka or a generic Ketel one I cant think of the name off hand.
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augryphon
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by augryphon »

AZAttorney11 wrote: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:12 pm Life is too short to drink bad liquor. For bourbon, it's Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Four Roses Single Barrel, or Four Roses Small Batch. The "yellow label" Four Roses is gut rot. Stay away from that, even in cocktails.

I had some 23 year Pappy once. It was outstanding (and lived up to its larger than life reputation).
You, sir, have great taste. We could share a liquor cabinet, if we weren't 1500 miles apart!

I believe that with the popularity of bourbon in the last few years, the overall quality of some of the better bourbons has decreased. Hopefully, the demand will cool off and quality will return.
westcoast
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by westcoast »

Jameson 18 year old
Jameson castmates IPA edition
Macallen 12 year old (on hand for guests not my favorite)
Tanqueray Gin
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tennisplyr
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Re: What shelf liquor and your favorite cocktails?

Post by tennisplyr »

Inexpensive red wine, Sprite, fruit and ice makes for a interesting tasting Sangria type drink.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
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