One can have a barcart embedded with diamonds with garden gnomes holding it up and angels pushing it from room to room, BUT if you have stocked it with a bottle of Seagrams (gin and juice) , a can of pineapple juice , Takka vodka and that 1 bottle of Hennessy White that you purchased 6 years ago in Jamaica on top, you might as well have a piece of ply wood on top of 2 milk carts sitting on your porch. If your going to employ gnomes , you most definitely don’t waste that caliber of employee on mediocre beverages.
DISCLAIMER TIME – This is an intro post for the person that is just dipping their big toe into the liquor world. So the following list is my personal recommendation of approachable liquors that won’t bust your head and pockets on price. Don’t expect to see Pappy Van Winkle or a 22 year old rum from the Queen of England’s private stock. Ain’t gonna happen. This is the KISS post (keeping it simple stupid). Don’t worry at all that price equals taste , because you will not be ashamed to serve these libations to anyone — even The Queen
*Tanqueray Rangpur- This is a gin that has more floral notes than the juniper notes that you might associate with regular Tanqueray or any gin, period. It pairs well with a variety of juices, seltzer and citrus. People who say they do not like gin are always shocked when I make them a Tanqueray Rangpur Gin and Tonic. Yes darling, I see you clutching your pearls. Who knew there were GINS out there that didn’t taste like a cough drop? ME, that’s who. And now, dear reader, you do, too. If you can’t find this I also recommend Hendricks, which you can find just about everywhere. Hendricks gin has a more of a light, cucumber taste where Tanquerary has more light citrus taste.
*Aged Rum – I have been on an aged rum kick for about a year now. Drink it neat on the rocks or in a traditional daiquiri and you’re golden. I’m currently drinking AfroHead Rum ($36 ish) from the Bahamas and Abeulo ($11) from Venezuela. Afrohead on the rocks has the flavor of Brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon pound cake and just enough oak to make you stand up straight and poke your chest up. This is some good stuff. Abeulo is that darkhorse that is priced so well you have to look to your left and then right to make sure you’re not being punked. I was picking up some Abeulo at a well-known liquor store here in Nashville and even told Trisha Yearwood to get the Abuelo. She was picking up another rum that was — let’s just say I helped her make a much better choice.
* Burbon- I live in Tennessee (enough said). My husband would recommend Bookers, if you’re looking for something you can drink neat and not bust your pockets. My go-to bourbon is Four Roses and I keep a bottle of this stuff stocked at all times. Not having a Bourbon on deck is like having to take a bath with no soap and 1 cup of cold water (what are we doing here?).
*Scotch – Ladies, here is a free tip: if you invite a man to your house and you have Macallan 12 year stocked, you’re a keeper in his eyes. I also like Balvenie, as it is aged in rum barrels and it has just enough peatiness to let you know your drinking scotch but a hit of sweetness from the rum barrel. It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion and perfect with a cigar because that just adds the right amount of smoke for a true lover of scotch.
*Tequila- I like Herradura as a go to for mixed drinks and shots (if it’s that type of night). You can find it almost anywhere. The price point is very reasonable and it’s smooth. I haven’t had the ability to delve into Tequila the way I would really like, BUT soon …….that will change. Now I recently tasted Codigo Reposado and it was a mind flip on my palate. I added 1 ice cube and the flavor blossomed like a slow motion flower video for an iPhone commercial.
* Vodka- The More Neutral the taste, the better. Vodka distilled from Potatoes also tends to be easier on the stomach, especially for people with a grain sensitivity. Chopin covers both of these categories and is very friendly on the pockets. Now, I have been to my fair share of night clubs and have partaken of bar service. I will throw no shade your way if I walk into your home and see a bottle of Belvedere on top of your bar. This Vodka is as good and faithful as the auto tune laden rap video you probably first saw this vodka in.