By Rhonda Cammon
SOTG Food + Spirits Editor
Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when entertaining at home is to have a fully stocked bar or spirits cabinet. If you’re a collector of fine spirits from around the world, you could have a bar cart embedded with diamonds with garden gnomes holding it up and angels pushing it from room to room.
But if all you have is a bottle of Seagrams Gin, a can of pineapple juice, Takka Vodka and that one bottle of Hennessy White that you purchased six years ago in Jamaica, you might as well display your struggling array on a piece of plywood on top of two milk cartons sitting on your porch.
My point is, no self-respecting person hosting an event at home should go without having a fully stocked home bar. It’s as simple as grabbing a few classics and then building from there. Below are a few of my favorite basic spirits that should fit nicely on any home bar, whether it’s in a cabinet, on a counter or atop what normally exists as your coffee table.
Gin – Tanqueray Rangpur Gin possesses way more floral notes than the juniper notes that you might associate with regular Tanqueray or other gin brands. It pairs nicely with a variety of juices, seltzer water, and acids. If you can’t find this, I also recommend Hendricks, which you can find just about everywhere.
Aged Rum – I have been on an aged rum kick for nearly a year. Drink it neat, with a couple of cubes of ice or in a traditional daiquiri and your golden. I’m currently drinking AfroHead Rum (around $36) from the Bahamas and Abuelo ($11) from Venezuela.
Bourbon – I live in Tennessee, so enough said. My husband would recommend Bookers if you’re looking something you can drink neat and not bust your pockets. My personal go-to is Four Roses. I keep a bottle of this stuff stocked at all times. Not having a Bourbon on deck is like not having milk, eggs or cold water in the fridge—trust me.
Scotch – Ladies, here’s a free tip. If you invite a man to your house and you have Macallen 12 stocked, you’ll be a keeper in his eyes. I also enjoy Basil Hayden, as it is aged in rum barrels and it possesses just enough peatiness to let you know your drinking scotch with a hint of sweetness from the rum barrel. It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion and perfect with a cigar because that just adds the right amount of smoke for a true lover of Scotch.
Tequila – I prefer Herradura as a go to. You can find it almost anywhere. The price point is very reasonable and it also has a smooth finish. I haven’t had the ability to delve into tequilas the way I would really like, but soon I will. In my opinion, if you’re not a tequila aficionado, living or from Mexico, Herradura will do just fine.
Vodka – Now, here is where I will let you go wild. Simply stock whatever brand you prefer, I mean it’s vodka after all. Once you add your favorite juices or mixers, they all pretty much taste the same. I’m certain you all know what a Lemon Drop or Long Island tastes like.