Building a home bar could be as simple as clicking a few links on the Crate & Barrel website or a complicated as hiring a contractor to build one. Thankfully, stocking a home bar is easier. The first building block in any home bar should be Bourbon.
Old ForesterOld Forester is the ‘well’ Bourbon for most of the bars in a city (Louisville) surrounded by Bourbon distilleries. Buying either the Classic 86 Proof edition or The Single Barrel will prove to be a good start to a solid Bourbon foundation.
Basil Hayden’sAt 80 Proof this Springtime Kentucky Bourbon is easy to drink, accessible in every liquor store and as enjoyable as California Sunset. Basil Hayden's is a light-bodied Bourbon that will bring old and new Bourbon lovers together.
Bulleit BourbonAny one of the Bourbons made by Bulleit (Bourbon, Rye, Ten Year, and Barrel Strength) would make a fine addition to a home bar. In this case, stocking a basic home bar with a bottle of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is the best move.
KB vs. NKBNo matter what level of barmanship you’re comfortable building, you’ll have to stock it with quality Spirits. Some may argue that only Kentucky makes the best Bourbons and Non-Kentucky Bourbons are a poor alternative. The honest answer is, they both have high-quality products that will make any home bar shine.
Non Kentucky BourbonAlthough 95% of Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, many great Bourbons can be found outside it as well. For instance:
Hudson Baby BourbonTuthilltown Spirits Farm Distillery is New York’s first distillery since 1920. It produces Hudsony Baby Bourbon - some of the best Corn-based Bourbons this side of The Mason–Dixon line.
George RemusGeorge Remus is distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana or as it was once called Whiskey City, U.S.A., by MGP of Indiana (formally Seagram's - Yes, THAT Seagram’s). It’s a secret weapon that will throw any Bourbon snob for a loop.
Cask StrengthIf you’re not sure what the term cask (or barrel) strength means or why you should add it to your home bar - the answers are simple. Cask strength Bourbon is the non-diluted Spirit fresh from the barrel. With little to no water added to the original product, it comes out at strength 58–66% (ABV).
It is not for the timid. It packs bold flavors that are not found in regular Bourbons. And those bold flavors are why you should add it to your home bar. We suggest choosing from these:
Angel’s EnvyIf you want a dead-on representation of how a cask strength Bourbon should taste, add the Angel’s Envy Cask Strength to your home bar then let your friends have a taste. Being right never tasted so good.
This is another great example of fresh out of the barrel American Whiskey. Stagg Jr. Barrell Proof Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a powerful amber delight that might need some ice chips or a splash of mineral water to relax the taste for the newcommers.
Single BarrelSingle barrel (or single cask Whiskey) is a higher division of Whiskey, where each bottle comes from a single aged barrel. This is not a blend of various barrels to form a consistant taste of hue.
Four Roses Single BarrelThis is one of the best examples to put in your bar. Four Roses Single Barrel delivers a sweet slap to the palate due to the large amount of rye in the mashbill. It’s a well-balanced Bourbon that should be considered the Ambassador of Single Barrel Bourbons. Get yourself a bottle and have no regrets.
Evan Williams Single BarrelThis is NOT a subtle Bourbon. It is big on flavor and makes no apologies. Coming out the Heaven Hill Distillery at just under 90 proof, Evan Williams Single Barrel is an intense floral Leather noted Bourbon that will not dissapoint.
Any of the Bourbons from this list would make a fine addition to any home bar. If you have a favorite that isn’t on this list let us know. We’d love to hear any suggestions or recommendations.