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A Spirits Question from the Discussion Board

November 20, 2009

It’s been a while since Friday was a cocktail post.  But it’s high time that I start again.  Especially now that my interest in the subject has been reinvigorated from a question I was asked on the FUSSYlittleBLOG discussion board.

Did you know that the FUSSYlittleBLOG had a discussion board?  Neither did I.

But then I went and clicked on a mysterious tab on the FUSSYlittleBLOG Facebook fan page, and there were two topics underway.  Both were from readers, and both were waiting an unfortunately long time for a response.

I feel terrible about my first real social networking blunder.  So without any further ado, Rod, here is your answer.

The rest of you may also be interested in Rod’s question, which you can see here in its entirety.  But fundamentally, Rod was looking for a list of my favorite spirits.

It’s a simple question, and I wish I could give a simple answer, but as usual my preferences do not lend themselves to simple answers.

Like in many other arenas, price to value ratios are very important to me in the world of spirits.  Anyone can find a dynamite $100 scotch.  But show me the great one that’s less than $20.

With the anachronism that is the three-tiered system of alcohol sales in this country, and all kinds of varying laws and taxes by states, prices vary widely from region to region and from state to state.  So a few of my favorites when I was living in California are no longer in the rotation now that I am here in New York.

Also over time, I have simplified my tastes, and tend to steer towards classics versus jumping on the bandwagon for every new thing that hits the shelves.  There are some long and proud distilling traditions that continue to do very good work, but I do also recognize talented and interesting upstarts.

Luckily for me I have some trusted resources I turn to for guidance as well.  It helps me narrow down the field of considered spirits, and saves my wallet and my liver a lot of damage.  F. Paul Pacult and his book Kindred Spirits are sitting within arms reach right now.  And I used to look forward to Eric Felten’s cocktail column in the Wall Street Journal every Saturday, until he suspended publication of How’s Your Drink to pursue other topics.

Finally, I tend to choose spirits both high and low: Some for special treats and others for everyday sipping and mixing.  Low may be the wrong word, because the substandard does not make it through the door.  If I wouldn’t drink it neat, I won’t buy it.

That said, here is my high list of what I have in the house now, or in the recent past.
Vodka: Core Apple Vodka from Harvest Spirits, New York
Rum: Barbancourt 15 Year, Haiti
Bourbon: Bookers, Kentucky
Scotch: Macallan 15 Year, Speyside
Gin: Tanqueray, England
Digestif: Chartreuse Green, France

The low list I find to be more interesting.
Vodka: Svedka, Sweden
Rum: Myers’s Platinum White, Jamaica
Bourbon: Evan Williams 1783, Kentucky
Scotch: White Horse, Scotland
Gin: Tanqueray, England

Fixins.
Sweet Vermouth: Martini & Rossi Rosso
Dry Vermouth: I stocked up on the old Noilly Prat
Bitters: Angostura, Fee’s Orange, & Peychaud’s
Cordials for mixing: Cointreau, Drambuie, Starbucks Coffee Liqueur

There is a lot of thought and reasoning that has gone into these selections, but each one is really a post in itself.  Overall, I feel very good about this list and would defend all but two of them to the pain.  Maybe we’ll see if anyone asks further questions, either in the comments section below, or in the discussion forum on Facebook, and we’ll go on from there.

Have a great weekend.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:50 pm

    Man, you’ve got to stock up on Hendrick’s gin.

  2. November 20, 2009 5:59 pm

    Is Evan Williams 1783 different from plain ol’ Evan Williams bourbon? I discovered the latter this weekend, thanks to the counter guy at Purdy’s in Saratoga, and it is great.

    The specific application was pouring a couple cups of it in a big batch of Phillip Claypool’s recipe for Jack Daniels Baked Beans and I saved quite a few nickels with the substitution at no loss in flavor.

  3. November 22, 2009 12:38 pm

    I’ve got a pal who loves the Core vodka. Personally, I find it a leeeetle sharp, but then again I’m much happier quaffing cocktails and other sugary concoctions.

  4. NewtoForex permalink
    May 15, 2010 6:14 pm

    Pardon me. Does someone realize how to define a real Expert Avisor from fraudulent and a clear signals from fake? big thanks

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