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How To Start a Grown-up Liquor Collection – 30 Before 30 List

November 13, 2010

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Yoga one month, drinking the next, right?  The only liquor I had at home was Pastis, and the occasional vodka or gin. I decided to do a bit of research for #25 on my 30 Before 30 list. First, I discovered that I should call it a liquor collection, as alcohol collection is clearly the wrong name. So what belongs in a liquor collection?

According to a many different lists, the following items belong in your liquor collection. Along with or without whatever suites YOU as a human. Also, I realized I know very little about the history of alcohol. Other than things like: gin tastes like juniper trees. I looked up each one on Wikipedia as I went. So it’s kind of like a 4th grade report, only more fun…

How to Stock a Home Bar


Base Liquor Collection:

  • Bourbon: Bourbon is an American whiskey, a type of distilled spirit. It is made primarily from corn (maize) and named for Bourbon County, Kentucky. Bourbon has been produced since the 18th century! While it may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
    I BOUGHT: Maker’s Mark. DRINK OF CHOICE: Whiskey ginger.
  • Gin Gin is a spirit whose predominant flavor is derived from juniper berries. Several different styles of gin have existed since its origins. But gin is broadly differentiated into two basic legal categories: distilled gin and compound gin. Distilled gin is crafted in the traditional manner, by re-distilling neutral spirit of agricultural origin with juniper berries and other botanicals. There are several distinct styles of gin, with the most common style today being London dry gin, a type of distilled gin.
    I BOUGHT: Beefeater London Dry Gin. DRINK OF CHOICE: Pink Gin Fizz or French 75!
  • Single malt Scotch or Irish whiskey Single Malt Scotch is a type of single malt whisky. Distilled by a single distillery in a pot still, using malted barley as the only grain ingredient, in Scotland. Irish Whiskey is a whiskey made in Ireland. And there are several types of whiskey common to Ireland: Single Malt, Single Grain, Pure Pot Still and Blended Whiskey. However, most Irish whiskey is distilled three times while Scotch is distilled twice.
    I BOUGHT: Bushmills Irish WhiskeyDRINK OF CHOICE: Old Fashioned.
  • Tequila Tequila is a blue agave–based spirit made primarily in Tequila, Mexico.
    I BOUGHT: Jose Cuervo Especial Gold. DRINK OF CHOICE: Margarita on the rocks
  • Vodka is a distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol, with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made from fermented substances like grain and potatoes.
    I BOUGHT: Rain Organic Grain Vodka. DRINK OF CHOICE: Vodka tonic.
  • Rum Light rum is a dry, light-bodied rum, light in color and lightly sweet in flavor. Rum is produced from sugarcane juice and molasses, and normally has a short aging period.
    I BOUGHT: Barcadi Light Rum. DRINK OF CHOICE: Mojito!
Liquor collection, alcohol including whiskey, gin, bourbon, tequila, vodka, rum and more

Other/Extras/Stuff I Wanted:

  • Pastis Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France. It typically contains 40–45% alcohol, by volume.
  • Kahlua Kahlúa is a well known Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur. It is dense and sweet, with a distinct taste of coffee. Because it’s made with coffee. Kahlúa also contains sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean.
  • Baileys Irish Cream Baileys Irish Cream (the registered trademark omits the apostrophe shock!) is an Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur, made by Gilbeys of Ireland.
  • Brandy Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. The wine is first produced by fermenting grapes. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume. It’s usually served as an after-dinner drink.
  • Triple Sec Triple Sec is a variety of Curaçao, an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peels of bitter oranges from the Caribbean. Triple sec, which is also French for Triple Dry, is one-third as sweet as regular Curaçao.

Liquor Collection Base Mixers:

  • Angostura bitters often simply referred to as angostura. It is a concentrated bitters made of water, 44.7% alcohol, gentian root, and vegetable flavoring extracts by House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. They are typically used for flavoring beverages, or (less often) food.
  • Cointreau
  • Dry (white) vermouth
  • Juices: orange, pomegranate, and grapefruit juices
  • Seltzer (club soda)
  • Tonic

Next up: declare a signature drink… other than Pastis mixed with water/ice. Also, I currently have an embarrassing amount of alcohol at my house, thanks to shopping on the Internet.

How to start a grown up liquor collection - alcohol needed, home bar

Update: Signature drink declared! Currently digging a well-made Sazerac!

  • Jessica
    December 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Of course, the challenge is, once you have created the collection, you continue to restock once used. I have a pretty good collection, although I’m missing a few, but I have friends that could never keep a collection because alcohol simply doesn’t last in their house!

  • The Jetpacker
    November 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Let’s not overlook absinthe. The process of making it (lighting a cube of sugar on fire) is entertaining. Plus, everyone still thinks it’s illegal, making you look like savvy and mysterious and even a little dangerous.