Wednesday Wet Bar

My parents did not have a huge stash of alcohol in the house, growing up.  Or if they did, I didn’t know about it.  I knew that my Dad would get bottles of Crown Royal from some relatives at Christmas.  Somehow, based on this, I determined that having a well-stocked home bar was part of being an adult.  

Through a comparatively mild introduction to alcohol after coming of age (other than sneaking brandy from my best friend’s parent’s bar one time in high school, I’m pretty positive I never had alcohol until I turned 21), I recognized that while having a well-stocked home bar might indeed be one of the signs of adulthood, it was also really good economics.  I could invest in a mid-range quality/price bottle of liquor which would last me a lot longer than the high-priced drinks at a restaurant or bar.  I’ve never been one to routinely order a glass of wine or other spirits with dinner when dining out.  I’m just too cheap.  I refuse to pay for a single drink when I could pay just a little more for an entire bottle of better quality liquor from which I can easily concoct a dozen or more individual drinks.  
Now that I am an internationally recognized bartender, I have decided that it would be fun to share some wisdom or recipe from my experience each week.  I hope you’ll feel free to chime in with suggestions, questions or recommendations as well.
What are some of my guiding principles in home mixology?
1.  Let’s be reasonable.  What I want is a good tasting drink.  I enjoy a cocktail a few times a week.  I want it to taste good but I am not trying to impress anyone.  I buy mid-range liquors that taste good to me.  In recent years boutique liquors have become all the rage, but  I’m not concerned about having the most impressive/expensive/obscure labels on hand.  What I have is generally recognizable to folks familiar with liquor.  I believe in stocking a good cross section of liquors.  In that respect, quantity and quality need to be properly balanced.  I’d rather have a few mid-range liquors to choose from than one or two high-end trophy bottles. 
2.  Strong is better than weak.  My margaritas are my signature drink, and they continue to evolve with time.  They also continue to force people to sit down and clear their throats a few times after their first sip.   I believe that a drink is better too strong than too weak.  You can sip a strong drink for a long time, or water it down with ice.  You can’t do anything to improve a weak drink except gulp it down and hope for something better next time.
3.  Exploration is half the fun.  I’m willing (even eager) to try drinks that sound interesting, rather than whatever drink might be hot at the moment (not that I’d know, frankly).  While I have a few rock-solid standbys, I enjoy trying new things and offering people new things to see if I can guess their tastes.
4.  Be comfortable.  That being said, I like being able to offer people something they like rather than insisting on something exotic because I happen to have fermented banana leaves that need to get used up.  In a similar vein, while I’m happy to muddle some mint or other botanicals, I don’t really have the time or energy to create a new farmer’s market drink.  Again, I tend to favor the classics rather than the latest how-many-herbs-can-you-stuff-in-this-glass-and-still-have-it-be-liquid creations.  
5. Special requests & suggestions are welcome!  I enjoy knowing what other people like and am willing to work to acquire the ingredients necessary to make a requested drink.  
6.  If it’s not beer, I’m willing to try it.  I just don’t like beer.  Never have.  I love hard cider, but actual beer tastes like horse pee to me.  I can tolerate it if I have to, but would rather drink water than a beverage I don’t like.  The closest I come to liking beer is a good Hefe Weizen with a slice of lemon.   I will drink any wine or hard liquor you like, and will strive to make you a drink you like to those ends.  If you want beer, you should bring it with you because I won’t have any on hand.  Sorry.
Hopefully this will be of interest to someone.  If not, maybe I’ll just amuse myself with it.  

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