7 Must-Have Bottles for Stocking Your At-Home Bar

Gather your friends, you're partying at home tonight

By Seattle Mag November 2, 2015


Setting up a home bar with local products has never been tastier—or easier—even if you don’t have a lot of space.

We’ve picked seven bottles (four of base spirits, two of liqueurs, and one of bitters, all available at larger Seattle liquor stores) from Washington to get you situated, and cocktail recipes using the very same ingredients and some bar staples to help get your party started. Now, all you have to do is call a few friends!

Woodinville Whiskey Co. Straight Bourbon Whiskey
$40, 750-ml bottle
Just released this past September, this bourbon is the first outside of Kentucky to be aged (for more than five years) in a full-size 53-gallon barrel. It uses all Washington-grown ingredients and is aged in-state, specifically, Quincy. woodinvillewhiskeyco.com

BroVo Spirits Jammy Red Vermouth
$18, 750-ml bottle
With Washington’s big wine biz, it’s about time we had good local vermouth, and this is made in Woodinville. Jammy starts with a base of Merlot, and then is flavored with cherries, hibiscus, ginger, Tellicherry peppercorns, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, cacao nibs and decaf coffee beans. brovospirits.com

Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
$20, 146-ml bottle
It’s hard to go wrong with any of Seattle-based Scrappy’s bitters, but in setting up a tight and tasty bar, pick orange (orange bitters have been in use for more than 150 years), made with a mix of fresh and bitter oranges and secret herbs and spices. It’s a treat. scrappysbitters.com

Wildwood Spirits Kur Gin
$29, 750-ml bottle
The 2014 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition Best in Show award winner, this gin has a London dry style by way of Bothell, Washington. The combination of a number of guarded secret botanicals, along with Seville orange, Douglas fir and Braeburn apples, gives it its signature taste. wildwoodspiritsco.com

Skip Rock Distillery Belle Rose Rum
$30, 750-ml bottle
It’s good to have a silvery rum when starting your bar, and this Snohomish-distilled one fits the bill perfectly, thanks to its light nature and slight aging. The tropical fruit notes and sweet hints (think vanilla and butterscotch) bring summer to soirées year around. skiprockdistillers.com

Sidetrack Distillery Blackberry Liqueur
$24.95, 375-ml bottle
While the range of liqueurs made on the Kent farm at Sidetrack is wide (including intriguing picks such as its shiso liqueur), for versatility and depth, the blackberry is hard to beat. An ounce with sparkling wine is exquisite, and it goes swell in drinks. sidetrackdistillery.com

Sound Spirits Ebb + Flow Vodka
$37, 750-ml bottle
While this Interbay-distilled vodka has been out for a few years, it still stands at the head of the vodka pack. Its memorable flavor—rich and earthly, with a hint of sweet at the end—comes from the 100 percent Palouse malted barley used to make it.

Recipe Ideas
Tasty concoctions, selected by seattle magazine cocktail writer A.J. rathbun, using the seven essential washington-distilled liquors to stock in your locavore liquor cabinet

I like my Manhattans old school, which means a pretty strong mix. Luckily, it lets the bourbon shine. Also, while the bitters here aren’t perhaps traditionally of the orange variety, they sure work well.

  Cracked ice
  2 1/2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. straight bourbon whiskey
  1/2 ounce BroVo Spirits Jammy red vermouth
  2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
  Rainier cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass half full with cracked ice. Add the bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

Abbey Cocktail
This is a nice one for brunch, as long as your brunch attendees like a fairly strong cocktail and have an affinity for gin. And if they don’t, well, why are you inviting them over anyway?

  Cracked ice
  2 ounces Kur gin
  1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
  2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
  Maraschino cherry, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass half full with ice cubes. Add the gin, orange juice and bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

The Orchard Sea
I created this especially for Seattle magazine, because I love mixing with the locals. It’ll bring a nice late-summer fruitiness to your long winter.
  Ice cubes
  1 1/2 ounces Skip Rock Distillery Belle Rose rum
  1 ounce Sidetrack blackberry liqueur
  1/2 ounce BroVo Spirits Jammy red vermouth
  1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass half full with ice cubes. Add the rum, blackberry liqueur, vermouth and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass.
Behold, The River
This is an effervescent and unfussy drink that is characterized by loads of flavor. It’s an ideal pick-me-up after a long day of work and before a bounteous dinner.

  Ice cubes
  1 3/4 ounces Sound Spirits Ebb + Flow vodka
  1 ounce Sidetrack Distillery blackberry liqueur
  1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4 ounces chilled club soda
1. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice cubes. Add the vodka, liqueur and lemon juice. Shake well.

2. Fill three-quarters of a highball or comparable glass  with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the soda. Stir carefully, but thoroughly. 


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