Booze Banter

What would you add to a new home bar??

The Empty Bar

So I haven’t posted anything in several months. (The guys have been sure to point out my lack of posts).   Work, family, and life in general has consumed much of my writing time leaving only enough spare time for the occasional sarcastic comment.

The largest thing that has eaten up much of my free time is the design, planning, and construction of our home’s first floor renovation but it’s finally done.  The renovation just wrapped up this past week and my favorite piece of the renovated space is my new bar area (or as my kids call it: “Daddy’s Little Beer Kitchen”).

As you can see from the pic above my booze center is an empty blank slate.  It awaits it’s first beer, spirit, and/or cool bar tool.  So as I decide what will be included in the new bar I figured would ask everyone the following question:

What one essential item would add to new bar?

There are a couple of items that I have or I am considering for my bar inventory.  Here is the beginning of the stock list:

House Scotch:  Glenlivet 12 Year Old
House Bourbon:  Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
House Brew for the Masses:  Yuengling Lager
House Brew for the Mrs:  Blue Moon
House Crafty Brew:  Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
House Bootleg Brew:  Aviator Brewing Company Devil’s Tramping Ground
Heavy Equipment:  Osterizer Classic Beehive Blender

Beyond this list there are plenty of things to consider so let me know what you think.

27 replies »

  1. Nice! Wish we had the space to do something similar.

    A recommendation on the blender: The Wife has gone through three blenders in as many years due to the cheap linkage between the motor and the container (she makes A LOT of mixed drinks during the Summer). She tried all of the tried and true brands that have served us well in the kitchen with other appliances (although, admittedly not Oster), but each failed. Then she bought a heavy duty Breville that has served us well. So be sure to look at how your chosen blender integrates between the base and mixing container (if it looks like it’ll break, it will).

    As far as spirits, have they begun reshipping Stranahans out there yet? I’ve noticed no difference since the ownership change, it’s still a good investment.

    Have fun!


    • The Osterizer was the choice of my bride who was formerly a bartender at TGIFridays and used a similar pro blender. This is an item we currently have and I think it could be used as a wood chipper if needed. It is a well built professional grade Margarita making beast.

      The Stranahans is definitely a good item to add. I also have one of my business colleagues sending me some brew from Crazy Mountain so their will be a little taste of Colorado in both Booze and Brew!!


      • Good to know about the Osterizer, if the Breville ever breaks, we’ll look into one.

        Glad to hear you can get some Crazy Mountain! I’m waiting patiently for a new liquor store that’s opening a couple of blocks from the house that will specialize in Colorado brews and spirits. Most places ’round here carry one or two of CM’s beers, but not my favorites from them, here’s hoping the new one does.

        By the way, if you guys see anything from Elevation Brewing (out of Poncha Springs, CO), grab some, their beers are incredible.


  2. Beautiful! Love the glass tiles & gray granite (I just finished renovation too! Congrats! What a great feeling to be done). What about adding some cool/unique ice trays to the list? I love the bigger squares or the large Japanese-inspired ball molds.

    Congrats again & welcome back!


    • Being done is awesome, second behind loving what we built. We spent months sourcing the materials and weeks eating take-out while under construction. The trouble we went through to get that glass tile would be a lengthy blog entry by itself.

      I like the ice trays idea and I think my kids are ahead of you on this thought. They have hinted at a possible gift from Santa for Daddy might be Death Star shaped ice balls. It’s sounds like this Wookie might be going over to the dark side …. they have whiskey!


  3. I’d populate with a bottle from each major production locale (except maybe Canada). You can’t go wrong with adding a bottle from Jameson (the 12, the Gold or Red Breast) or from Suntory (Yamazaki, Hibiki or Hakushu). And, you can’t forget to add a bottle or two of Rum (Flor de Caña or Brugal and maybe a spiced rum) and a good Rye (Knob Creek, Templeton or Rittenhouse).


          • I have to think there is some sort of pineapple liqueur or some sort of concoction made from distilled macadamia nuts (think an island version of Frangelico). Of course, the length of the flight and the need to probably stay a day or two sampling CA beers may add to both the costs and the time away. We may need to spin this as a business convention rather than a guys’ weekend.


  4. Let’s see. I like everyone’s ideas and your list, but let’s go with some alternatives.

    You need more than one Scotch. Glenlivet 12 is fine, but there are better options. Glenfiddich 15, Highland Park 12, Macallan 12, Balvenie Doublewood 12, and for a splurge, Aberlour A’bunadh. All worthwhile purchases that will please many people. You’ll also need a blend. Compass Box Spice Tree or Johnnie Walker Double Black will work.

    For Bourbon, perhaps a Four Roses or Elijah Craig. And you need a Rye for sure! Splurge = Whistle Pig. Bulleit Rye gets high marks and costs much less.

    Irish = Redbreast 12. And no bar is complete without the Yamazaki 12.

    Gin = Hendricks or Blue Coat. Rum = Appleton or Brugal. Tequila = Milagro Silver. Vodka, if you must = Absolut .

    Yuengling is a crowd pleaser. How about Sam Adams Boston Lager or even Victory?

    Year round beers = Dortmunder Gold, Eddy Fitz, Stone IPA, Prima Pils, Finestkind IPA, Old Brown Dog Ale, Dale’s Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.


      • Not at all. More of a rotating inventory suggestion. Personally, I get bored drinking the same thing over and over again. Changing it up keeps your palate on its toes.


        • Got it.

          I am finding that I all for the rotating inventory with beer but less so with spirits. On the hard stuff I keep going back to same “go to” items. Also rotating spirits is harder than brew. If you buy a bad six-pack you can power through it. If you buy bad booze you end up stuck with a 1/2 bottle forever. Maybe I need to switch to more Master of Malt mini’s?


    • We considered added a tap for beer or even root beer for the kids but decided against it for several reasons:
      1 – Cost – it just wasn’t in the budget
      2 – Upkeep – I am lazy and maintaining a keg system didn’t sound like fun
      3 – Lack of Variety – I love craft beer but love it most for the variety. I like having different beers and pairing unique tastes with food. With a large quantity of one or two brews on tap it locks me into a beer that must drink before it goes bad.


      • Fair enough. With regards to 3 (but not so good for 1) you could consider adding an air-conditioning component to your setup to improve the liquid’s longevity. A friend of mine has done this to great effect. Anyhow, best of luck with the project, and enjoy the results.


  5. Wookie – I deeply sympathize. I went through a major house renovation and it nearly killed me. The pain fades and then you’re just left with beautiful house goodness (until Hurricane Sandy rips the sheet metal off your roof trim!). I love your bar decor and design.

    I’d make a few alterations to your stock list:

    House Scotch: The Laddie 10. Seriously.
    House Bourbon: Four Roses Single Barrel – it’s hardly any more money.
    House Brew for the Masses: You’ve got to be crazy to pick Yuengling Lager I can’t stand that stuff. I’d say Sam Adams.
    House Brew for the Mrs: Blue Moon (nice)
    House Crafty Brew: Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (nice)
    House Bootleg Brew: Aviator Brewing Company Devil’s Tramping Ground (I’ll take your word – but sounds very nice).
    Heavy Equipment: Osterizer Classic Beehive Blender (I’m weird about blenders – but ultimately it’s just a machine.)

    I’d add:

    1) House Rye (please) Rittenhouse 100, Russel’s Reserve Rye 6

    2) Serious bitters: Dr. Adam’s Boker – or whatever floats your boat. Plus you need some kind of citrus bitters – at very least Angostura Orange – which is full on good.

    3) Serious sugar. I like some kind of turbinado or raw fine grained sugar.
    The above three are necessary for my favorite cocktail – a rye old fashioned.

    4) Fixings for a great crowd pleasing cocktail. I vote for the venerable Woo Woo. I love woo woos – so versatile. That means, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, & some kind of vodka. I vote for a more interesting flavored vodka – like Firefly peach tea vodka which reinforces the peach and adds a hint of tannic bite. I also sometimes float an apple woo woo with cider, lemon juice, and the peach schnapps and peachy vodka. I know big furry male monsters don’t swing for froo froo fruity drinks like this, but I’m telling you – it’s a crowd pleaser!

    5) Fixings for the King of Whisky cocktails: the Manhattan. To be King of the Manhattan the vermouth must be wet and be really good. Antica Formula – it’s worth the $30. Then also add some serious herbal wine influence with shot of Sicilian herbal wine liqueur: Amaro. I like Amaro Averna. This is the secret of a great Manhattan. You can also add a few dashes of that good dark bitters (not the citrus) from #2 above.

    6) about 25-50 bottles of killer wood barrel aged spirits like some XO Cognac (why not the excellent Californian – Germaine Robin XO, a representative range of single malts covering all the flavor bases: an Ardbeg for peat monster, a sherry monster like Aberlour A’Bunadh, a rich spey fruit basket like an old Glen Grant, a nice lowland like Auchentoshan or Rosebank. Don’t forget some premium bourbons like BTAC, Pappy, or Four Roses limited editions, some of those fancy Canadian flavoring ryes to drink straight like Whistlepig, or Mastersons, and some interesting world whiskies like Mackmyra from Sweden, anything good and caramel-tropical fruit from Japan, Brenne from France or Amorik, etc… and don’t forget American craft whiskies. I recommend Balcones Brimstone). Make a Brimstone Old Fashioned and thank me later!


    • Damn. This response is a post in itself. Good stuff!!

      Here are some quick comments:

      – I’m in the construction biz so living with construction at home and at work is tough. With that said my project went pretty smooth with the exception of some inspection delays due to Sandy.

      – The House Whisky selection of the Glenlivet 12 is a sentimental selection. It was the first single malt I enjoyed and is the go to whisky for many family members.

      – Yes, I know there are better everyday brews besides Yuengling Lager but since we live in the Philly Area it’s kinda the go to brew that will please both the Bud drinkers and beer geeks (besides I got two cases for free.)

      – The Brimstone Old Fashion ….good suggestion …. I bet G-lo will be making one of these this weekend!!

      – As for the 25-50 bottles of wood aged spirits I think we got most of that covered in our neighborhood communal bar. I go to G-lo’s for Smoky and Herbal stuff. The ROK’s for Bourbon. LimpD’s for smooth Scotch & Irish Whiskey. My niche is rum, typically sourced on our trips to St John. I have a good mix of everything from a basic Pusser’s for mixing Painkillers to older more refined Flor de Caña and others.


    • The shaker I got covered. A couple of years ago the Wookette gave me an XL shaker the holds about a half a gallon of booze. She prefers shaken margaritas over the frozen blender versions. It’s perfect for large batch cocktails and let’s face it, if you are going to make cocktails make enough to share.

      For glassware we have a mix of items but need to see what we got and where we need to add stuff. G-lo filled the gap I had in shot glasses with some cool Crystal Skull shot glasses.

      For openers I prefer simple and will stick with a basic waiters tool for wine and beer opening.


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