Because it really does make a difference.
When it comes to buying alcohol, there are a ton of factors that go into our decision making processes. Aside from knowing what type of spirit you’re in the market for, the next consideration is usually the price of a bottle. We tend to reach for the cheaper bottles for our own home drinking and splurge a little if we’re gifting liquor to a friend or attending a party. We’re here to make the case that you deserve top shelf bottles all the time, they might set you back a few more bucks but they’re worth it and we’re all about treating yourself more often. If nothing else, your home bar needs at least one ornamental bottle, right?
There are several reasons why premium top shelf liquors are more expensive. Premium liquor companies often use all natural ingredients in their products and employ more stringent distilling practices and a longer aging process to ensure a higher quality without the use of preservatives or added sugar. Price is not always indicative of purity or quality, so before you drop a lot of cash always be sure to Google the company and ingredients. The following are our suggestions for the basic starter spirits, we’ve done the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.
Vodka: Stolichnaya Elit
Stolichnaya Elit is a clear, grain-based vodka. Grain vodkas are the most popular and tend to be smooth and fruity. Grain based vodkas generally do not require as much distillation as vegetable or fruit based vodkas as grain typically produces less impurities during the fermentation process, all the same Stoli Elit is distilled four times which is easily why it has earned such high critical acclaim.
The official bourbon of President Frank Underwood from House of Cards, if it’s good enough for a fictional president then it’s probably worth the sixty-five bucks, in fact we know it’s worth the $65. Blanton’s has received a multitude of critical claim and recognition. It’s a single barrel bourbon, so there can be slight variations in flavor, the nose is filled with vanilla and caramel notes and finishes strong with a lingering finish. If you’re not accustomed to drinking whiskey straight, this is an excellent “training wheels” bottle to get you started.
Tequila: Casamigos Reposado
If you were unaware until now that there was an alcoholic spirit created by George Clooney available for your consumption, well today is your lucky day! Mr. Clooney, and his longtime friend Rande Gerber, decided one drunken night to distill their own tequila…you know, things rich people do. They decided that it was good enough to be mass produced, and the critics agreed. They offer all three varietals of tequila, but the repesado is our favorite. Casamigo’s Reposado is aged for 7 months with a palate that’s slightly oaky with hints of caramel and cocoa and a smooth, lingering finish. No promises that the tequila will lend you any help in the charm department, but knowing Mr. Clooney has a hand in the company means it’s worth a shot. Or four.
Gin: No. 209 London Dry Gin
A gin that scores consistently above 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, No. 209 is a five time distilled Napa Valley spirit that offers a powerful flavor profile. The nose has hints of citrus zest, juniper berry, orris root, licorice, coriander, and angelica. The palate is bittersweet, grainy, and speckled with licorice, similar to Hendrick’s but much deeper and with a longer and warmer finish. If you’ve been looking for the perfect Martini gin to keep stocked in your home bar, look no further than No. 209. Shaken with a little lime juice and a drop of vermouth and you have the cleanest and most crisply refreshing Summer Martini.
Rum: Plantation Barbados 5 Year Aged Rum
Plantation Barbados 5 years is a blend of rum from Barbados, the birthplace of rum. This blend ages first in Bourbon casks in its native tropical setting before crossing the sea to Chateau Bonbonnet in France to finish its process in small oak barrels primarily used to age Pierre Ferrand cognac. This sipping rum is packed with tropical notes of ripe fruit, vanilla, white peach and coconut. The second part of the aging process lends itself to the bourbon richness, it finishes much warmer and less sweet than most rum offerings. Keep your cans of Coke away from this one, folks. Grab a nice cigar instead.
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