Our home bar tells many stories. It reminds me of the classic cocktail class that I gave my husband as a birthday present the first year we were dating. It also represents combining our individual tastes (and bottles!) into one unified operation, and finding compromise along the way - like when I wanted to go for a vintage brass bar cart, but given our space and storage needs it was not in the cards. And what became apparent to me while writing this post is that many of the individual bottles bring their own memories. Read on for how we stock our bar!
Whiskey is the foundation of our bar. We each brought so many different whiskey bottles when combining our households that it was comical. I confess that not all of our stock is pictured here as a result. Luckily we enjoy savoring a Manhattan or Old Fashioned (especially during the fall and winter), so we are very slowly working our way through it.
The gorgeous decanter above was a wedding gift, while the Edradour commemorates learning to drink Scotch in my early twenties, and as a result I was giddy when I happened upon this bottle. Van Brunt Stillhouse is a local distillery in Brooklyn, and Hibiki is a Japanese whiskey that commemorates a very special trip to Tokyo early in our relationship.
The bourbon and rye shown below are all personal favorites. OYO Bourbon is made in my beloved hometown, and I have unbiased friends (read: not fellow Ohioans) who swear Middle West Spirits products are among the best to be found for quality and value. The Whistlepig Rye was a housewarming gift from dear friends, and I loved the ribbon so much that I left it on. Meanwhile, the Rowan's Creek Bourbon was a thank-you gift for puppy sitting an adorable golden retriever. We also love Woodford Reserve and Bulleit, which we haven't restocked only because there's currently no space!
If you know me, you know that I love a good gin cocktail. I enjoy varieties that are citrusy, minty, and floral (though probably not at the same time), and I also enjoy a classic gin and tonic. When Doug and I started dating, he didn't drink gin. Over time, however, he kept trying sips of whatever I was having and he realized that a good gin drink can be utterly refreshing.
Gin and tonics are now hands-down our summertime drink of choice, so much so that we are always stocked in limes and Fever Tree Tonic. If you don't think you like drinks made with tonic, give this stuff a chance. It might just change your mind! We are currently enjoying Venus Gin No. 1, a gift from a friend who lives near the Santa Cruz distillery.
No proper bar is complete with out a few key bitters and accessories. Fee Brothers Orange and Angostura Bitters are staples, and Vermouth is on hand for the occasional martini. I just picked up Fee Brothers Rose Water on a whim, and I'm hoping to use it in a champagne cocktail soon! Finally, I'm a sucker for any drink served with a Luxardo cherry. I was shocked by the price the first time I purchased them, but they're a worthwhile indulgence in my book (and I justify the purchase because they last for ages.
Whew, that's a wrap! You might have noticed that we don't have vodka or rum included in our bar. That's just a personal preference since neither of us gravitate towards those spirits. We do make sure to stock them anytime we're entertaining!
p.s. you can check out the tools find indispensable for at home cocktailing here