by Shaun Layton | This is the eighth in a series of posts on building a home bar, five bottles and one drink at a time. I’ve listed bottles 31-35 below (see also 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35). 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).
36. Booker’s Barrel Proof bourbon | If you’re looking for a high octane, true expression of an old school bourbon, this barrel proof is one of the best. Pro tip: it is listed, and on the shelf at the LDB. Also, with a price point of $59.99, it represents one of the best bottled values in BC. (Don’t laugh, my American friends; it’s $50 in Washington state!) If you like your Manhattans strong, this is your jam.
37. Giffard Menthe Pastille | This mint liqueur was first created in 1885 by pharmacist Emile Giffard (the first born of the Giffard dynasty), who named it after mint sweets. The minty herbal elixir is best served digestif style (after dinner), or try it in a stirred classic cocktail like a Stinger. It’s a SPEC product, so head to Legacy to grab a bottle ($27).
38. Smith & Cross Rum | New to the BC market, weighing in at $39.99, — not a bad deal for such a great product! Smith & Cross is distilled in Jamaica using Wedderburn and Plummer pot stills. At Navy strength, this one is good in small amounts. I love using it in dash form to add complexity and balls to stirred drinks. It also makes a beauty of a Daiquiri.
39. Boker’s Bitters | Founded in 1828, this brand of bitters can be found in a lot of classic, old school recipes. It’s now being made out of the UK by a fellow named Adam Elmegirab. Bottles aren’t cheap, but a single dash goes a really long way. Try it in dark and stirred cocktails, a la Manhattan, Crusta, or Martinez.
40. Averna | Amaro is so hot right now, and after teaching a seminar recently on the Italian bitter family, I was reunited with this Sicilian darling. Collecting Amaro is a great way to bolster that back bar, as the bottles look great, keep well, and are well priced. At $34.99, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and reminds me of a favourite guilty pleasure, the root beer float!
Cocktail | Kingston Manhattan
30 ml Smith & Cross rum
30 ml Booker’s bourbon
25 ml Punt E Mes Vermouth
2 Dashes bokers bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass; add ice; stir for 30 seconds; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.