Building a Bar Without Breaking the Bank

Everyone loves a good home bar.  It’s a sign of class and success, the true display of one’s appreciation for the finer things in life.  Of course, if stocked with plastic bottles of hooch, it can also be a sign of depravity. I prefer to find the middle ground and stock my bar with the quality ingredients necessary for well-crafted cocktails, but without the overzealous cliches of the label-conscious crowd.

When stocking a home bar, one should consider the purpose of the spirit.  If sipping it straight, invest in a higher quality bottle.  If mixing into a cocktail, you can usually grab from the middle shelf without sacraficing taste.  Plus, it’s important to realize that certain spirits, like rye whiskey, for example, present many excellent choices around the $20 range, whereas one has to climb the ladder toward $40 for a solid reposado tequila or aged scotch.

But to get that liquor cabinet on it’s way toward a respectable bar (and trust us, building a home bar is one of the most rewarding things one can do), Imbibe Magazine, an authority on all things drinkable, suggests the following as economical choices that will spruce up anyone’s home bar:

Gin: Beefeater, Hendrick’s, Martin Miller’s, Plymouth 

Bourbon: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare 10 Yr., Evan Williams, Woodford Reserve 

Rye: Jim Beam, Old Overholt, Rittenhouse 100 

Vodka: Belvedere, Blue Ice, Skyy, Sobieski 

White rum: Bacardi, Flor de Caña 4 Yr., Mt. Gay Eclipse 

Aged rum: Appleton Estate, Bacardi 8, Flor de Caña 12 Yr. 

Reposado tequila: Cazadores, Jose Cuervo Tradicional, Milagro

Give those a shot to start.  Add liqueurs and bitters and more exotic spirits to the mix as you go, and you’ll soon have a bar that’s the envy of everyone on your block. Or your floor, depending on the parties you throw.

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