Welcome one and all to my Home Bar! This is where the magic happens! I live in a tiny 500 sq ft apartment in Brooklyn but I try to cram as much in as I can. Cheers to THAT!
Two shakers of different sizes, One Cocktail Kingdom Jigger 1oz/2oz, One Cocktail Kingdom Jigger 3/4oz/1/2oz, One Mini-Measure with measurements in ml, One OXO Muddler, Two Cocktail Kingdom Bar Spoons, Two Hawthorne Strainers, One Julep Strainer, and One Fine Strainer.
Not pictured are One Peeler, One Paring Knife, One Nutmeg grater and One hand held citrus Juicer.
I’m a vintage glassware collector, can’t you tell? I have all sorts of glasses ranging from standard sized coupes and rocks glasses to pousse café cordial glasses to Tiki mugs and shot glasses.
Spirits, Liqueurs, Amari, Bitters etc:
St. George Absinthe Vert: Honest to the Lord above, this is the best Absinthe I’ve ever tasted. The first sip tastes like heavenly Anise, then the gates open wide and a whole bouquet of lemon grass, basil, mint and other herbs explode in your mouth. Truly an experience.
Pernod Pastis: Perfect for rinsing cocktails and adding a splash here or there for that “anisette French feeling”. I use it profusely in gin and champagne cocktails.
This selection is from Sept 2014 and has grown considerably.
These are the Italian Liqueurs, Aperitivos & Amari I had in Oct 2015.
Bonal: I ran out of Averna back at the beginning of the summer 2014 and the brilliant liquor store man told me to try Bonal. I did! It’s light, bright, citrusy and full of herbs, A wonderful French Aperitif! Used in Verisimilitude, Album of the Year, and excellent on it’s own with a lemon twist and a bit of seltzer water.
Cynar: Yes there is an artichoke on the front of the label and yes you do taste it but there are so many other flavours happening here! Every time I drink Cynar, I imagine that I’m sitting at a fabulous restaurant in the Napa Valley. (Possibly because the first time I tasted this Digestivo was in Napa!) Also low ABV. Used in a Cynar Flip, Too Soon and Copa de Oro.
Fernet-Branca: By now, nearly everyone in the USA is doing Fernet-Branca shots or a “Bartender’s Handshake” (Fernet and Ginger Ale one-two shot) but I love to drink it as a Digestif. Such power, such bitter, such relief for my stomach! Used in so many cocktails that I can’t even name them all but especially a Toronto, Hanky Panky, Woah Lady and The Charles Bridgeman.
Santa Maria Al Monte Amaro: This one is currently my fave. It’s in the Fernet category but much much smoother, less menthol and the other herbs get to shine through. I’ve been drinking it in its intended purpose, neat and as a digestif. I just love Santa Maria, get it immediately if you can find it. Used in Dr Joe, Wolskir Flip, and Boots & Flannel.
Aperol: Ever heard of the wildly popular brunch Cocktail, the Aperol Spritz? It’s Prosecco, Club Soda, Orange slices and Aperol. Supremely delicious, supremely refreshing. This mildly bitter liqueur has a wonderful orange flavour, is super drinkable, and plays well with others.
Campari: A bitter liqueur that is extremely delightful with an orange twist and soda but unbelievably amazing in a Negroni. If you’ve never had a Negroni, you need to stop what you’re doing and have one right now! Negroni are such an incredible drink that they even have a week long world wide cocktail festival! #NegroniWeek #EveryWeekIsNegroniWeek In addition to Negronis, Campari goes fabulously in my “grown up” version of a Tequila Sunrise, the super refreshing Santa Monica Sunrise.
Punt e Mes: This could actually be classified as a bitter vermouth or a bitter liqueur. Punt e Mes works great in Negroni Variations, as well as a Midnight Martinez, Volver, or with soda and an orange peel. (seeing a theme?)
If making a Cocktail is like cooking, then Bitters are your Spice rack. I can’t even begin to get into every bottle of bitters which exist but these are the ones sitting in my Home Bar. Important bitters to have:
Angostura: classic, literally classic. The first cocktail that was ever invented likely had Boker’s Bitters in it but shortly thereafter, Angostura Bitters were THE bitters.
Orange Bitters: I HIGHLY Recommend Regans’ No. 6 Orange Bitters because they’re so well balanced and the levels of herbs and spices are so tasty. There are many Orange Bitters in this world but I consistently want Regans’ even when I have a different bottle at hand.
Peychaud’s: These fabulous NOLA bitters are an essential ingredient in the Sazerac and other NOLA based cocktails. They also work excellently when used in conjunction with Pernod, Absinthes and Rye Whiskey.
Scrappy’s Bitters: I would like to point out that Scrappy’s does an excellent job of making flavours which pack a punch and yet retain the integrity of the flavour itself. I use their Chocolate Bitters frequently and even in place of Cacao flavoured liqueur.
Various and Sundry Bitters: To continue on the spice rack analogy, Bitters are really there for you. Go wild, go crazy! Just don’t combine the Brooklyn Hemispherical Sriracha Bitters with the Fee Brother’s Black Walnut Bitters cause THAT DID NOT TASTE GOOD!
I wish that all over the world we just referred to Brandy as “Eau-de-Vie” because “Water of Life” sounds much more glorious!
Applejack/Apple Brandy: Laird’s Applejack and Bonded Apple Brandy are made at the oldest family-owned distillery in New Jersey, so whenever someone cries, “uuuugh” at the mention of the words “New Jersey”, you can say, “But I really like that Laird’s Applejack!” Applejack tastes like what would happen if you made whiskey out of apples. Apple Brandy has a similar flavour but its smoother and has less bite. It’s totally awesome when used in conjunction with Bourbon or Rye Whiskey and supremely amazing in a Diamondback Cocktail.
Calvados: Calvados is a french Apple brandy from the region of Basse-Normandie. The one I currently have is Christian Drouin which is 70% Apples, 30% Pears, quite dry, and very lovely. Used in Copa de Oro, Maxime, and A Connoisseur’s Revenge.
Pear Eau-de-Vie: I love pear brandy, it’s so elegant, crisp and dry. Currently, I have Stair’s Pear from VT (which is wonderful) but intend to purchase St. George’s Pear Brandy because it rules above all else.
Pisco: There are two places where the grape brandy called Pisco can be produced (and even this is hotly contested): Peru and Chile. Essentially, there is an Appelation Contrôlée debate about whether or not Chile has the right to produce Pisco because the Peruvians are complaining that Pisco from the Quebranta grape can only be made in Peru! Fights! Sword fights! Either way, I love Pisco, it’s a difficult spirit to mix with and that is all the more reason for me to take it on as a challenge! Used in a Pisco Sour, Pisco & Plum and a Peruvian Margarita.
If I ever lost my heart to any spirit, that spirit is Gin. Gin, Gin, Ginny, Gin Gin. I love Gin. No, I adore Gin. Gin, will you run away with me? Now, I can hear half of you saying, “Gin, are you kidding me? Gin is awful.” The only reason you think Gin is awful is because you’ve had cheap, shitty Gin. There are some really awful gins in this world and then there are some amazing, mind-blowing, life-altering, tear-jerking gins!
American Gin: As the small batch movement has taken off like a rocket here in the USA, I’ve found it far too difficult to keep up with all of the New American Gins. Some of my favourites are:
-Green Mountain Distillery Gin: Their gin has an awesome piney taste which makes it an excellent gin for winter cocktails. I love to use it in a Green Mountain Gimlet along with Chartreuse Vert, Lime Juice and Demerara Syrup.
–Greenhook Dry Gin: Honestly, the best dry gin in ‘merica. Hands down. Cinnamon, citrus, and herbal notes play strongly with the juniper. I love using it in any dry gin cocktail. Killer Martinis!
–New York Distilling Company Dorothy Parker Gin and Perry’s Tot Gin: Dorothy Parker has perhaps the greatest set of flavours to ever inhabit one single gin. Bright, citrusy, cinnamon and savoury all at the same time. Excellent. Perry’s Tot is their Navy Strength Gin and it packs a smooth yet powerful punch.
–Small’s American Dry Gin: I cannot stop talking about this gin because it has profound Cardamom and Raspberry notes! It’s difficult to work with but that just means that I’ve had a great time using this gin with raspberry fizzes and chocolate bitters. It’s also fabulous in An American Revival: a 50/50 Gin, Rye Old Fashioned.
–St. George Spirits Terroir, Botanivore and others: There is no denying that St. George is currently America’s greatest distillery. Every single product they release is magical and their Terroir gin even made me cry. That’s right, I cried real tears y’all ’cause that gin has botanicals from Mt. Tam in Marin County, California where I grew up. I opened the bottle, had one sip and sat on my bed in Brooklyn and cried for half an hour. Sigh… Well back to the point! Terroir Gin is a special gin which should be left alone! Sip it on the rocks, use it in a fizz with a little mint simple syrup and lemon or maybe a dry martini with a rosemary sprig garnish. Botanivore is their more friendly gin and it’s fun fun fun to mix with! They also make a Dry Rye Gin aged in Rye barrels! Tastes like whiskey!
English/London Dry Gin: Ok, As far as English Dry Gins go here’s my suggestion: Plymouth Gin and Mayfair Gin for citrusy cocktails, Bombay Dry Gin, and Tanqueray for Martinis. I would say that I use Plymouth far more than any other gin because it mixes extremely well into all gin cocktails. It’s bright, cheery, citrusy, smooth and wonderful. Mayfair was a recent discovery and where Plymouth is bright, Mayfair is dark, supple, velvety, robust and very seductive. Lately, I’ve been using Mayfair in place of Plymouth and it plays just as well in my favourite gin cocktails. Bombay Dry Gin is a classic London Dry Gin and excellent in a dry martini or any cocktail of that sort. Bonus, I love infusing it with Ceylon Black Tea or Earl Grey Tea.
Old Tom Gin: This is a sweetened London Dry Gin which has regained popularity recently ’cause all of us craft cocktail lovers are history buffs too. I’d recommend picking up a bottle of Hayman’s Old Tom Gin. *Also, as of mid-September Greenhook Distillery are making an Old Tom Gin. Will post a photo and review as soon as I get a bottle!
Genever: The mother of all Gin! Genever was produced in the Netherlands as far back as the 16th Century by distilling malt wine to 50% ABV and adding juniper and other herbs to enhance the flavor. Genever is also having a revival in the craft cocktail scene. I’d recommend Bols Genever to begin your adventures in Genever.
Liqueurs from France.
Liqueurs from Austria & Germany.
Vintage Liqueurs from the 1950s & 60s.
Where to begin?? No seriously, where to even begin! Well, I’m not about to go into the history of liqueurs because there are countless books and articles on the subject and I am not an historian! I’m just a Home Bar Grrrrrrrl trying to make some tasty drinks!
That being said, here are some of my current & former Liqueurs:
-Berentzen: this German Haus makes some of the most brilliant, crisp, clear and clean liqueurs I’ve ever had. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them and they’ve let me use the Pear Liqueur, Bushel and Barrel Apple Bourbon Liqueur and Supermint Schnapps in recipes. I highly recommend anything by the Haus of Berentzen, especially the Supermint Schnapps as it is certainly ready to lead the way in the return of Schnapps to the USA.
–Cointreau: I LUV COINTREAU. It’s the best Triple Sec ever and I use Cointreau frequently. Very frequently. If you don’t wanna drop the $$ on Cointreau, I’d recommend getting some Marie Brizard Triple Sec as it is tasty and inexpensive. Used in Corpse Reviver No. 2, Sunflower Cocktail, and every Margarita ever.
–Chartreuse: These liqueurs are truly something special as their flavours are so complex and yet so pleasant that one wishes they could travel to the sud de France and sip them on the rocks. Chartreuse comes in two types, Chartreuse Vert which is spicier, woodsier and 55% ABV and Chartreuse Jaune which is floral, honey tasting, sweeter than Vert and 40% ABV. There are also VEP versions of these. Let me just tell you, the Chartreuse Vert VEP blew my mind unlike any liqueur I’ve ever tasted before. Truly magical stuff. Chartreuse Vert is used in a Diamondback, The Last Word, Bijou and Un Jardin Anglais. Chartreuse Jaune is used in the San Martin, Jaune Jaune Fizz, Alaska, French Ambassador and Final Ward (to name a few).
–Domaine de Canton: This luscious velvety ginger liqueur is made from VSOP Cognac and rather versatile. Used in a Fred & Ginger, Ginger Gold Rush, Pimm’s Cup and Canton Royale.
–Green Mountain Distillery Maple Liqueur: This Vermont distillery produces several excellent spirits and this one is a straight forward Maple flavoured liqueur. Now, you should all know that if there is anything VT does well, it’s Maple flavoured anything. This liqueur is a treat to use in autumnal and wintry cocktails. I like to use it in Old Fashioned variations, Lad’s Legacy, Mama’s Cold Cider and any hot cider drink.
–Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur: This is a staple liqueur for any lover of classic cocktails. If you’re going to dive into the repertoire, you need this liqueur. Let’s start with a Martinez.
-Pimm’s No. 1: This English Liqueur is gin based, fruity, citrusy and vegetal. Essentially it’s the greatest liqueur ever to have a Gin base. Used in a Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and all its variations.
–Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette: I’ve got one word for you, Aviation. This ingredient is essential in the proper execution of an Aviation. Without the Crème de Violette, well, just don’t even try. Oh, also, it tastes like violettes and is totally supreme with gin and lemon. *Please note, I have sort of an obsession with Aviations, I even went on an Aviation Challenge for approximately 3 years. At some point I will do a post just devoted to the Aviation. Never a lemon twist, always a cherry and no more than 1/2 oz of Lemon Juice. Please, don’t disrespect the Aviation.
-Rothman & Winter Apricot: I actually got this one because there were so many Tiki & Preprohibition cocktails which call for Apricot Liqueur. It’s very bright, a bit tart and explodes with Apricot flavour. Which means that it pairs very well with Fino Sherry in the Stafford Cobbler, and Marley’s Map.
–St-Germain: Aaaaah, St-Germain, how we love you. We all love you, we all write you letters and think of you fondly in the afternoon. We love you most in the spring and summer but honestly, you never leave our minds for long. You’re such a beautiful creature, such a light, delicate and sophisticated woman. St-Germain, Will you marry me?
–St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur: Y’all, this one’s a show stopper. The greatest coffee liqueur in the history of the universe. Chicory root, vanilla, a touch of sweetness and powerful Roasted Yirgacheffe coffee beans. It will give you that “get up and go” feeling! Used in It’s A Long Shot.
*There are so many more liqueurs, I will never try them all but I will try as many as I can and add them to this list as I go.
After finishing an entire month of #TikiTheSnowAway, I realized that these Liqueurs need their own section.
-Blue Curaçao: Forget what you thought about Blue Curaçao in the 1990s. It’s back and our drinks are so much more fun because of it. I understand that we had to take a break from all of those terrifying blue/green/purple shots we did at raves and dance parties. We’re adults now, we’re making real cocktails and we’re making them REAL blue. I highly recommend Senior Curaçao Liqueur as it is the best of the lot. Used in Ola Azul, An English Sailor, and Blue Hawaii.
-St Elizabeth Allspice Dram: this Rum based Liqueur is sensational in Tiki, Tropical and Punch. I use it in nearly all my punches, I actually have to force myself not to use it. It’s an Allspice dream with just the right amount of sweetness. I also made a mix with it, DD Mix which combines Allspice Dram, Cinnamon Bark Syrup and Vanilla Syrup. It’s the bomb diggity.
–Velvet Falernum: This spiced lime & vanilla liqueur is also simply perfect for tropical drinks. I love using it in many Daiquiri variations and with any shaken Tequila cocktail. Yum, yum, Yummmmmyyyyyyyyy.
Rum selection as of Aug 2015.
It took awhile for me to get on the rum page, BUT OH HOW I HAVE GOTTEN ON THE RUM PAGE! I always have one Aged Dark Rum, one White Rum, one Jamaican Rum, and one 151 Rum. The rest are sort of whatever suits my fancy at the time. There are a million Rums in the world, so I’ll just write a little about the ones I’ve had at home.
Brugal Especial Extra Dry White Rum: This rum is PERFECT for shaken fruity drinks.This is a totally tasty dry Rum and such a bang for your buck! Toasted marshmellow, vanilla, coconut and citrus flavours abound. I used it all in my Punch for Two series and can’t wait to get some more!
Denizen Aged White Rum: from the Angostura distillery, this is a blended white Rum and more complex than many other white rums and an awesome banana, coconut, mango and pineapple flavors come through immediately. I’ve been using it in Tiki and some stirred drinks like Captain Corcoran, Ford Island, and Dr Funk.
Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaica Rum: if you’ve been wanting some rum with that funky-funky-funk, Smith & Cross is your jam. It’s fruity, funky, grassy with a short and wide finish. Totally perfect for mixing up some Tropical cocktails and. Used in Or-zah Gabor, Seafarer’s Sour and West India Docks.
Hamilton 151 Demerara Rum: This is the first of what I hope to be the whole collection of Hamilton Rums for me. Ed Hamilton created this Rum to replace the wildly popular Lemon Hart 151 because in his words, “This one is better.” It’s the 151 of dreams.
**As a Mexican American Grrrrrl, Tequila and Mezcal really mean a lot to me and I can also drink larger quantities of them than my Anglo-Saxon counterparts without getting that “Crazy Tequila” feeling. Long live Agave!
Mezcal: Y’all, I’ve run out of Mezcal so I don’t have a picture to post right now, my bad. If Tequila is Bourbon then Mezcal is Scotch. I absolutely love the smokiness of Mezcal and frequently like to use it in 1/4 oz portions or as a rinse. Mezcal is super versatile so don’t let yourself get stuck making Mezcal Palomas! Combine it with Rye, Gin or Rum! Get creative!
Tequila: There are three basic types of Tequila: Blanco, Reposado y Añejo. I find that Blanco y Reposado work very well in shaken cocktails whilst Añejo should be left as a sipper. To be quite honest, I use Blanco most of the time. I enjoy infusing both Blanco and Reposado with Chiles and other types of spice.
Casa Noble: Every single bottle Casa Noble creates is supremely delicious. I would say that they are pushing the boundaries of what we traditionally know Tequila to taste like. I have their Blanco and it has prominent notes of Banana, Grasses and other fruity flavours. It’s simply fabulous in Margaritas, Santa Monica Sunrise and its lack of bite makes if perfect for using as a split base in a Mexican Pimm’s Cup.
–Corralejo: All of the Corralejo Tequilas are excellent, taste like what Mexicans traditionally intended Tequila to taste like and meant to be sipped. While keeping that in mind, nothing is sacred so I’ve used the Añejo sparingly and lovingly in a couple of cocktails: The Importance of Being Ernesto and Zapatista Landscape.
–Espolón: Espolón is the easiest Tequila I’ve found for mixing. It mixes with everything! It wants to be mixed! It can’t stop being mixed. I highly recommend this Tequila for Margaritas and any other Tequila cocktail you feel inspired to create!
***As with my statement about Shit Gin comes another caveat about Shit Tequila: Just don’t do it. Don’t EVER drink nasty well Mixto Tequila. Never, Ever, EVER. You’ll hate it and then you’ll hate Tequila and really, no one should hate Tequila.
The Dolin Vermouths.
Every time an American friend of mine returns from Europe, they undoubtedly exclaim, “They just drink Vermouth on the rocks with a lemon twist over there! It’s such a great drink! Why don’t we do that here?” Really though, we should do that more here in ‘merica. A good vermouth is a glorious thing, here are a couple I like.
–Carpano Antica Formula: If you’re going to get one Sweet Vermouth other than Dolin Rouge, it should be Carpano Antica. It’s excellent, darker and more supple than other Sweet Vermouths but so pleasing.
–Cocchi: The House of Cocchi make a variety of wines and spirits but three of them really stand out. Cocchi Americano, Cocchi Americano Rosa and Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino. Cocchi Vermouth Di Tornio is just that, a very tasty, sultry Vermouth. Cocchi Americano and Americano Rosa are two of the greatest fortified wines on the planet. Americano is light, bright and made from white wine. It’s supreme with a bit of gin and a lemon peel served in a coupe or (you guessed it) on the rocks with ice, soda and a lemon peel. Americano Rosa is a blend of Brachetto and Malvasia varietals and works well as a sweet rosé in summery cocktails.
–Dolin: Dolin are fabulous at the Chambéry style of Vermouth, in fact I believe they are the only ones still making Chambéry Vermouth. Their Blanc, Dry and Rouge Vermouths are all excellent and I do enjoy drinking them on the rocks with a lemon twist. They’re also inspirational in cocktails. I recommend Dolin Dry above all others in a Martini. The Blanc is perfect in many French cocktails especially when paired with Chartreuse or Pernod. The Rouge would be perfect in any Manhattan or other Vermouth cocktail. Collect all three!
Port: Another underutilized ingredient in cocktails, but making a strong comeback, is Port. Port wine is a fortified wine from Portugal, which in the case of Ruby Port is often a bit on the sweet side, has loads of raisin notes, spices, and grapiness. Ruby and Tawny Ports are perfect in Punch, while White Ports may be better for stirred cocktails.
Sherry: Sherry has taken the cocktail world by storm recently due to it’s extremely exciting flavor profiles. I currently have Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos Sherry which is dry, smooth and has notes of fig, raisin, nuts, a bit of briney salinity. I love mixing it with fruity ingredients in Tiki/Tropical drinks as well as using it in stirred cocktails. Check out the Stafford Cobbler, Karl the Fog Cutter, and The Arborist’s Nightcap.
Here’s another huge category which I will not bother getting into other than to say, I like Rye, Bourbon and Japanese Whisky. I’m not a huge peated Scotch fan and while that may change, here’s what I’ve got in my bar right now.
Bourbon: The great American Dream is Bourbon. I love Buffalo Trace for cocktails, it blends deliciously and it’s just right for the $$.
Japanese Whisky: Here’s what I’m talking about, no really, I’ve been talking about this for months now because Japanese Whisky is EVERYTHING. I have Yamazaki 12 Year and it’s Floral, Fruity, Forthright, Fabulous, with just a touch of that single malt goodness. I love to sip it on the rocks. I have only put Yamazaki in one cocktail because it’s just so damn enjoyable on its own.
Irish Whiskey: As far as Irish Whiskey goes, there is so much more them than Jameson. Don’t get me wrong, Jame-o is my go to whenever I need something at a non-cocktail bar to sip on the rocks. But when it comes to cocktails, give me anything from the house of Teeling! Both their Small Batch and Single Grain play super well with others, and are such good Whiskies that I can barely keep the bottle in my Home Bar for more than a fortnight!
Rye Whiskey: The new American Dream is Rye. I’m more of a Rye grrrrrl than a Bourbon girl. Give me a Sazerac, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Toronto, Blue Collar, Bonal & Rye, Diamondback, The Arlington, Improved Whiskey Sour any day and give them to me with RYE. As far as mixing goes, I love to use Redemption Rye, Rittenhouse Rye and George Dickel Rye.
Listen Dear, if you’re going to have a proper Home Bar, then you’re going to need fresh fruit, fresh juice and proper garnishes. Half the key to a great Home Bar is to serve cocktails in season. In the summer you’re going to make lots of drinks with Watermelon and Pineapple, in the autumn you’re going to make Apple Cider drinks with Cinnamon sticks and Apple wedges, in the winter you’re going to make Whiskey drinks with Blood Orange slices, etc.
Fruits/Veggies: I’d recommend having lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, cucumbers and any other produce in season but ONLY while they’re in season. Out of season fruit often tastes poorly, is strangely textured and just gross. No one wants to be gross, right?
Garnishes: The aforementioned fruit comes in use here as you’ll be using the peels from the citrus fruits as garnishes. Other recommended garnishes are Cinnamon sticks, Mint leaves, Luxardo or Brandied Maraschino Cherries (do NOT get those freaky bright red fake cherries. Ewww), Cocktail Olives, Cocktail Onions, Olive Oil and any fresh herbs in season (Basil, Sage, Rosemary).
As a Home Bar Girl, I also like to have some Home Bar special tools and infusions.
–Bombay Dry Gin + Black Tea or Earl Grey Tea: This one kicks ass in a MarTEAni, a Pimm’s Cup, “Tea Time, Time for Tea” or an Imperial Toddy.
-Buffalo Trace Bourbon + Maple Syrup + Bacon: aaaaaah, the Bacon Bourbon is so very nice.
–Cointreau + Espolón Reposado + Jalapeño slice: Awesome as a sipper, even more awesome in a Margarita.
-Campari + Cacao Nibs: talk about sexuaaaaaaaaaal. Love using this in a Negroni or even better, a Boulevardier.
-Blanco Tequila + Serrano pepper + Cilantro: Spicy, tasty, fabulous for shaken Tequila cocktails and anything with Grapefruit.
–Reposado Tequila + an Ancho Chile: Spicy, tasty, supreme alone but due to the spiciness, better used in small amounts with other types of Tequila.
-Plymouth Gin + Pineapple Chunks: This is probably my favourite and most used infusion. It’s excellent in any Gin Fizz, Pimm’s Cup and the secret to my version of a Police & Thieves.
–151 Vodka + Lemon Grass and Ginger: Yesssssssss. Great for all those tropical summer cocktails or any cocktail with tea.
I usually keep the following on hand: Grenadine, Honey Syrup, Lemon Sherbet, Cane Sugar Syrup, Demerara sugar syrup, Cinnamon Bark Syrup, Vanilla Bean Syrup. Demerara sugar is used in an Old Fashioned and a Sazerac to be muddled with Bitters. During the peak of Rhubarb season, I make a truly outstanding Rhubarb Syrup. It’s insane. I wish that it was always Rhubarb season.
Shrubs aka Drinking Vinegars are another one of those “trondy revival” things in the Cocktail Community but there’s a great reason to dive into the wonderful world of shrubbing! Creativity. You can get as creative as you want with your shrubs! I’ve made Rhubarb shrubs, Mint + Cucumber Shrubs, Celery Shrubs and more! So if you’ve got a little patience and the palette for complex flavours, get to shrubbing!
I like to keep the following in small bottles or tincture bottles so that they may more easily be used as a rinse or in 1/4 oz increments:
-Fernet Branca, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Pernod Pastis and St-Germain.
Well, there’s a huge world of spirits n such out there and I know I’ve missed a few things: Vodka, Cognac, Wine, Beer…. Hmm, well actually, I’ve missed a whole lot of things! I’ll keep updating this page as my Home Bar grows larger and as I discover exciting and tasty things to drink.