How To Build A Strong Home Bar, One Drink & Five Bottles At A Time (Part Six)

by Shaun Layton | This is the fifth in a series of posts on building a home bar, five bottles and one drink at a time. I’ve listed bottles 21-25 below (see also 1-56-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25). 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).

26. Yukonshine Vodka – This cool little distillery in Whitehorse has been making some pretty good spirits. The potato base here adds a nice earthy and spicy finish, while the barley in the mash gives it a little funk. If mixing with vodka, one with some actual taste makes things a little more interesting. Find it listed at any liquor store for $38.49 LTO.

27. Cocchi Americano Rosa – In summer, I tend to drink a lot more fortified. This rose-hued Piedmontese beauty has a base of Brachetto and Malvasia wine spiked with a variety of herbs and fruits, most notably rose, ginger, citrus, and cinchona. It’s ridiculously tasty served chilled over ice, perhaps with a slice of grapefruit. It’s even better when stirred into refreshing summer cocktails. Find it at specialty stores for around $35.

28. Bigallet China China – Made by Bigallet, a French syrup and liqueur maker in the Alps since 1872, China China is a bitter made from neutral grain alcohol heavily infused with bitter orange peels. Think of it like Amer Picon (read more here) but at the proof it used to be (40%). Try it in a Brooklyn cocktail. $35.00.

29. Tanqueray No.10 Gin – Named after the still of its origin, this classic London Dry may just be my #1 gin contender; sublime in a Martini, citrusy-tart in a G & T, and outstanding in a Negroni. You can even find it listed at any retail liquor store for $41.25 – a steal considering its quality. Try it with a twist of grapefruit peel the next time you make a Martini.

30. Giffard Passionfruit Syrup – From the French company famous for its liqueurs now sells more of its syrups here in Vancouver. Find them at Legacy, Modern Bartender, and other specialty shops. One of my favourites is the Passionfruit, which goes for around $15. It adds a tart and tropical fruitiness to mixed drinks and sodas. They last long, are of high quality, and are totally shelf-stable.

Cocktail | Spritz D’Asti


30 ml Cocchi Americano Rosa
15 ml Tanqueray 10
5 ml Giffard Passion fruit
90 ml Moscato D’Asti

Method | Pour ingredients in order over ice into a rocks glass. Alternatively, you can premix it, chill it, and bottle as shown. Then enjoy outside… legally, of course.


IMG_6220Shaun Layton has helped maintain YVR’s bar scene for ten years. He was the opening Bar Manager at L’Abattoir, where he recently passed the baton to William Johnson. He runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff here and as far away as St.John’s. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. In 2012, he was recognized in as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.


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