by Shaun Layton | This is the ninth in a series of posts on building a home bar, five bottles and one drink at a time. I’ve listed bottles 41-45 below (see also 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40). 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).
41. Cachaca 51 | The Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, places in my top three summer drinks. I like a down to earth, almost aggressive cachaca. The only listed brand in its respective league, Cachaca 51, is great value at $26.49. You’ll be seeing a lot of this as the Summer Olympics in Rio approach.
42. Chartreuse Green | “Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a colour after it.” Quentin Tarantino, Death Proof. Made by Carthusian monks in Grenoble, France since the 1700s, this herbal elixir has over 130 ingredients. It adds complexity to pretty much any cocktail and is best sipped neat after dinner. Find it at any liquor store for $38.99, and keep an eye out for the Yellow, or it’s older V.E.P bottles.
43. Dickie’s Ginger Beer | Made by fellow Vancouverite Stephen Tufts, it’s great to see it spicing up local cocktail bars, sandwich shops, and fancy grocery stores. It comes in small bottles for the general public, plus big format as well as draught for bars! Moscow Mules on tap anyone? A perfect amount of fresh ginger gives this spirit-free beverage just enough heat to amp up any highball. Pro tip: it makes a mean Dark ’N Stormy.
44. Tio Pepe Fino | Sherry has gone back and forth for the last few hundred years from being the drink of royalty to that weird stuff in the back of Grandma’s liquor cabinet. A very misunderstood wine until the last decade or so, sherry is back in a BIG way. Fino is a bone dry wine, in this case from Jerez. Drink it chilled with pickled seafood or mix it into cocktails. These wines can be well priced ($21.99), but keep em in the fridge as they only last about a week on the shelf once opened. The dry and salty notes work great in stirred drinks, or even in a G&T!
45. Sipsmith Gin | One of only a few operating distilleries in the City of London, Sipsmith makes one of the best London Dry gins, period. Master Distiller Jared Brown is one of the smartest drinks historians on the planet, and a former Vancouverite to boot! It’s fairly new on the market (not cheap at $60 per), so make this your new go to for a very special classic Martini; mine will take a twist.
COCKTAIL | VERY DRY MARTINI
60 ml Sipsmith gin (stored in the freezer)
10 ml Tio Pepe fino sherry
Method: introduce ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice, stir for 30 seconds to taste, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.