Sunday, April 29, 2007


Over the weekend I did an audit of my liquor cabinet, as I’ve been noticing a decline in the variety of cocktails I am able to make with the booze I have on hand. The more popular liqueurs, like Cointreau, have slowly been used up, leaving the less popular liqueurs, like Black Sambuca*, clustered on the shelves, like the most socially maladjusted guests at a party who end up in a quiet corner talking about their favourite World of Warcraft moves.

Once I identified what I had, I went through my Big Book of Cocktails to identify the most common liqueurs I was missing. I made a list, and, since the local Liquor Land was having a sale, I popped up there to see what I could find.

I ended up with eight bottles, 75% of which were embarrassing. All the other men in the store were buying bottles of red wine or bourbon or crates of beer… and I was tripping around the store with Midori in one hand and blue curacao in the other. I got the feeling that maybe I was in the wrong part of town for cocktail ingredients:

Me: Excuse me, do you have any Campari?

Salesman: Campari? What’s that?

Me: You’ve never heard of Campari?

Salesman: No. Have you looked on the shelves? (goes over to the liqueur section and stares at a shelf of scotches).

Me: It’s bitter, it’s Italian, and it’s a liqueur.

Salesman: Uh huh. (moves along to the clear spirits).

Me: And it’s red.

Saleman: I see (moves along to the coffee liqueurs).

Me: Uh… never mind.

Even with half of the things I bought being on sale, the total for eight bottles (vodka, whisky, blue curacao, triple sec, cherry brandy liqueur, coconut rum, Midori and Cointreau) was $180, which is about quadruple what I’d normally spend at the bottleshop. But at least I knew that I finally had a liquor cabinet capable of generating any cocktail I could desire.

So when I got home I opened up my Big Book of Cocktails to make myself a drink, and I discovered that I still didn’t have any Frangelico… or ouzo… or advocaat… or banana liqueur…


Eventually, after looking through twenty pages or so, I discovered something I could make:


30ml gin
15ml dry vermouth
15ml melon liqueur
7ml blue curacao

Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a glass, then pour the blue curacao down the side so that it forms a separate layer. The drink is nothing short of gorgeous: a subtle shade of green with a smear of bright blue across the bottom of the glass where the curacao has settled. It doesn’t taste too bad either.

So now my liquor cabinet looks something like this:

Light Rum
Dark Rum
Coconut Rum
Triple Sec
Black Sambuca
White Sambuca
Tia Maria
Red Vermouth
White Vermouth
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Crème de Menthe
Almond Cordial
Lime Cordial
Angostura Bitters
Cherry Brandy Liqueur
Blue Curacao

You may think that this makes me an alcoholic. I say show me an alcoholic with 26 bottles of booze that he hasn’t drunk in his liquor cabinet.

*An aniseed-flavoured liqueur so overwhelming that you only need a few drops to flavour a drink. Of course I have two bottles.


Blogger an9ie said...

The salesman didn't know what Campari was? Dude!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

"You may think that this makes me an alcoholic. I say show me an alcoholic with 26 bottles of booze that he hasn’t drunk in his liquor cabinet."

I say, show me an alcoholic who keeps all his booze in one place; no emergency bottles under the bed, in the chest of drawers, in the toilet cistern, in the shed, in the car under the spare wheel, and don't forget the medicine cabinet.

At first I thought I knew about Campari; but then I thought, maybe I was thinking of calamari. But no, I'm sure some Wilbur Smith book mentioned Campari, although a Pimms No. 1 is his most frequently-mentioned tipple.


10:08 AM  

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