by Shaun Layton | I’ve listed bottles 51-55 below (see also 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50). Depending on how much you drink at home, or how many deadbeat roommates you have, a home bar can either take a long time to build or be done in a few trips to the liquor store. The bottles I choose aren’t necessarily the best in their respective categories. I’m just trying to use unique, readily available, and cost efficient brands. If you want to share thoughts or photos or ask any questions, fire away via Twitter (@shaunlayton).
51. Redbreast 12yr | Among the finest Irish whiskeys in our market if and when you can find it! Check the shelves at Legacy and sometimes your local LDB for $69. Redbreast is the largest selling single pot still whiskey in the world. It’s triple distilled and finished in Olorosso sherry casks. A great “gateway” whiskey if you want to bring someone over to the dark side of spirits. Try it in stirred cocktails; it makes a mean Old Fashioned!
52. Gosling’s Rum | One of the only trademarked cocktails in the world is the Dark ’N Stormy (Gosling’s rum, lime, ginger beer). The refreshing highball with a spicy kick hails from Bermuda. It’s naturally spiked with a good hit of local rum. Gosling’s Black Seal tastes like it looks: full of dark, rich flavours. Try it with other bold ingredients like ginger beer, citrus, and even a cheeky dash in a stirred cocktail like a Manhattan. This is a listed product, and like most rums the value is great! Find it at any liquor store for $30.
53. Amaro Montenegro | Amaro has been an “it” item for bartenders for so long now that I think it’s here to stay. With so many on the market now, plus a variety of flavours, it can be hard to pick which one to buy. It’s Montenegro for me; it sits in a place right in the middle. Bitter, sweet, and fruity, the Italian bitter is perfect for cocktails that need a little more life. What makes it one of my go-to at home drams is the fact that it’s sublime with a cube of ice after dinner. Find it at liquor stores for around $37.
54. Benedictine | A must-have for those who sip classic cocktails. Benedictine has been jumping on and off LDB shelves for years, and can be found for around $37 a bottle. A small measure goes for miles in cocktails, so one bottle on your backbar should stick around for a while. The herbal liqueur from Normandy is made from over 27 herbs and spices; a secret known by only three people at the distillery. Try it in a Vieux Carre!
55. Fever Tree Indian Tonic | Small batch tonics and tonic syrups are becoming more the mainstay now as we steer away from the syrupy sweet crap that comes off the bar gun. Fever Tree makes a great line; the Indian is quite versatile and will pair well with almost any gin. Find Fever Tree at specialty grocery stores or The Modern Bartender. I’d try it with Tanqueray 10 (mentioned here in a past home bar entry).
Cocktail | Bow Street
A four ingredient take on the often under-appreciated Rusty Nail
45 ml Redbreast 12
30 ml Punt e Mes vermouth
10 ml Gosling’s Black Seal
5 ml Benedictine
Introduce ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for 15 seconds to taste. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.