Posted on January 28, 2016
Essential Spirits to Stock Your Home Bar
We are undoubtedly living in the age of the cocktail. Specialty cocktail bars have surpassed restaurants as being the gourmet tastemakers and hot spots around the city. Many Chicago cocktail bars have even started to bottle and market their own spirits, liqueurs, and bitters.
With cocktails becoming more complex, creating fun cocktails at home can seem daunting, expensive, and just downright impossible. However, having a bar in the home can be a lot of fun and affordable if you stick to a few flexible basics that can be enjoyed in versatile ways.
A home bar should have an assortment of dark and clear spirits, a few liquors, and some bitters to make sure that you have your bases covered without overstocking. The longer you have your bar, the larger and more diverse your inventory will become. When getting started, however, pick up these 5 home bar staples:
Really the essential dark spirit to stock in your bar is whiskey, but bourbon is many people’s favorite type of whiskey because it is flavorful and a bit sweeter on the whiskey spectrum.
2. Rye Whiskey
Rye whiskey commonly comes from Tennessee and has a similar taste to American whiskies you have come to know and love, like Jack Daniel’s. Rye whiskey is a common ingredient in many classic cocktails, like the Manhattan.
You have probably heard of absinthe as being a favorite among turn-of-the-century artists for its hallucinogenic properties. However, absinthe sold in the United States does not contain hallucinogenic ingredients. What it does have is an intriguing, unique taste that is similar to black licorice. Absinthe is found in a great many cocktail recipes as an extra exotic touch.
Vodka is a no-brainer. It does not matter whether vodka is your spirit of choice or if you do not care for its taste, vodka is a bar staple because it mixes well with just about any mixer and is the spirit in very many classic cocktails, from Bloody Mary’s to the screwdriver, and lots in between.
Gin is an excellent light spirit because it mixes well like vodka, but unlike vodka, gin has a distinct juniper flavor that many people say tastes like pine trees to them. In fact, many people mistakenly think that they do not like gin, but that is because they are likely drinking the wrong type of gin for their tastes, or have not had the right gin cocktail yet. Make yourself a nice, light bramble and fall in love with gin.