Who says you need to stock an entire bar’s worth of booze to host a top-shelf cocktail party? Instead, focus on six liquor cabinet basics!
You only need the most popular for cocktails and mixed drinks, and you’ll be ready for your next Mad Men-style soiree. Just don’t forget the ice!
The world’s most popular liquor thanks to its mixability, Vodka is often associated with potatoes, but most are actually distilled from grains or even grapes. For a true potato-based vodka, try the Chopin brand, named after the famed Polish composer.
One of the world’s oldest liquors, rum is made wherever you find sugarcane or the sugarcane byproduct, molasses. However, most of the finest sipping-quality rums (also known as cachacas or rhum agricoles) are distilled in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Initially crafted as a medicinal tonic, Gin is a distilled spirit infused with aromatic botanicals such as anise, caraway, coriander and especially juniper berries, which is responsible for the drink’s uniquely floral taste and aroma. Originally the main ingredient in a martini—now commonly replaced with vodka—most modern gins are extremely dry (aka London Gin).
These renowned American spirits are both distilled from grains blended with limestone-infused spring water, then aged in fire-blackened oak barrels. However, bourbon is made from a mixture of mostly corn, giving it a slightly sweeter aftertaste.
Also known as Scotch whisky, this refined, earthy-tasting brown liquor is traditionally sipped neat or poured over ice. Aside from being made in Scotland, true Scotch must be aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks, and many distillers burn peat moss in the production process to ensure a traditional smoky flavor, which opens up with a splash of water.
Distilled from the blue agave plant, which grows in the high deserts surrounding the small Mexican town of Tequila, this fiery liquor is traditionally broken down into three categories: Blanco (white) tequila is bottled right after distillation; reposado (rested) tequila is aged a minimum of two months in oak barrels; añejo (aged) tequila has been barrel-aged a minimum of one year.
|“For an added touch, consider buying a bag of crystal clear distilled ice for your next cocktail party. Not only does it look great, but the ice’s clarity is a sign that it’s been well-filtered and hard-frozen, so it won’t muddle the flavor of your expertly handcrafted drinks.” – Cheryl|