Collecting Dust - How to Use More of Your Back Bar
In almost every bar there are the same culprits that sit there stagnating and screaming to be used again. You know the ones, fashionable at one point in time but now losing their appeal and resigned to the back shelf. It’s a huge shame for such great spirits to be forgotten by so many. There are of course a few patrons they keep them for who order them every now and again.
I took to Twitter to ask the bartenders of the world which bottles often go untouched and picked the ten most popular to pair with recipes to help you lower your holding stock and bring those spirits back into the spotlight.
Pimm’s No.1 is a fruit cup or could even be considered a liqueur based on gin. It is highly popular in Britain in the summer, especially around the time of the Wimbledon tennis tournaments. Outside of this time though, it has a tendency to go unused. Enter The Pimmlet, a Gimlet made with Pimm’s.
- 50ml (1.7 oz) Pimm’s No.1
- 25ml (.84 oz) Tanqueray
- 10ml (.33 oz) Fresh lime juice
- 10ml (.33 oz) Simple syrup (2:1)
Shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Pernod is notoriously difficult to use because of its aniseed notes. It can be hard to pair with other flavours without overwhelming the drink. The Aniseed Julep does a great job of keeping it subtle.
- 40ml (1.35 oz) Maker's Mark bourbon
- 20ml (.67 oz) Pernod
- 12 Fresh mint leaves
- 10ml (.33 oz) Simple syrup
Shake and fine strain into Julep cup with crushed ice. Garnish with large mint sprig.
Irish Cream is hard to use in drinks because of its sweetness and consistency. Nobody really wants a dessert style drink in the middle of the evening, so more elegant recipes are usually few and far between. This Killdare recipe is a sexy little number indeed. Smooth with a great kick.
- 50ml (1.7 oz) Old Tom style gin
- 15ml (.5 oz) Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 2 dashes Chocolate bitters
Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The secret to using Genever is to play upon the malt flavours rather than the more subtle juniper notes. Imagine it more like a Scotch and you will find it easier to work with, as in this Eik Rook (Dutch for oak smoke). In this case, even with the lemon, stirring works better than shaking as it doesn't cloud the drink and adds just the right amount of dilution.
- 30ml (1 oz) Genever
- 22.5ml (.75 oz) 10 yr Irish whiskey
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 5ml (1 tsp) Pure agave sweetener
- 5ml (1 tsp) Fresh lemon juice.
Stir well and strain into a chilled martini glass.
This Spanish liqueur is bursting with blueberry flavour with hints of aniseed too. A Pacharán Sherbet Collins is the perfect summer drink to cool you down.
- 50ml (1.7 oz) Zoco Pacharán
- 15ml (.5 oz) Lemon Sherbet sugar syrup*
- 15ml (.5 oz) Lemon juice
Shake, pour into ice-filled Collins glass and top with soda. Garnish with a few blueberries.
(*2:1 cups sugar and water, muddled lemon peel and 30ml Limoncello)
Many bartenders and drinkers are put off by the colour of this liqueur and usually have flashbacks to the 80’s, where blue cocktails with rude names were massively abundant.
- 25ml (.85 oz) White rum (editor's note: try Guajiro Blanco from the Canary Islands! Silver medalist in the 2013 NY International Spirits Competition)
- 15ml (.5 oz) Blue Curaçao (such as Bols)
- 15ml (.5 oz) Raspberry cordial
- 15ml (.5 oz) Fresh lemon juice
Shake and pour over ice in a Collins glass. Top up with cloudy lemonade or bitter lemon fizz (in which case add about 5ml Simple Syrup before shaking.)
Here’s a great recipe for those of you who are huge caffeine addicts, like a boozy version of an iced latte from a coffee shop!
- 15ml (.5 oz) Coffee Liqueur
- 15ml (.5 oz) Vodka
- 15ml (.5 oz) Pedro Ximinez sherry
- 15ml (.5 oz) Licor 43
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 75ml (2.5 oz) Condensed milk
Blitz with ice in a blender. The thickness of the end product is determined by how much ice you add. Pour into a latte glass and just add straws.
Limoncello is such a great liqueur because it has that balance between sweet and sour. The Motox cocktail really accentuates that.
Muddle 1 slice of fresh ginger (thumbnail size) with 10 fresh Coriander (Cilantro) leaves in the bottom of a shaker and then add:
- 40ml (1.35 oz) Vodka
- 25ml (.85 oz) Limoncello
- 25ml (.85 oz) Pineapple juice
- 25ml (.85 oz) Apple juice
Shake and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a coriander leaf.
This Whiskey liqueur seems to only be popular with a certain generation. Its heather, honey and complex spice notes are based around Irish whiskey and an ancient heather wine recipe.
- 25ml (.85 oz) Irish Mist
- 25ml (.85 oz) Irish cream
- 25ml (.85 oz) Coffee Liqueur
- 50ml (1.7 oz) Cream
Shake well and pour over ice.
Crème de Menthe
This mint liqueur, although a great breath freshener, is notoriously difficult to get along with because of its toothpaste type mint flavour. 9 times out of 10 it is found in dessert style drinks such as the Grasshopper. Here’s a classic example of another way to use it:
- 50ml (1.7 oz) VSOP or XO Brandy
- 22.5ml (.75 oz) White Crème de Menthe
Shake and serve in an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice. For a Green Hornet use green Crème de Menthe instead.
Now that you are armed with an arsenal of great recipes, those bottles will be shining again in no time! I can guarantee the customer satisfaction will be through the roof when you’re able to suggest a great cocktail for those that enjoy a tipple or two from the back shelf.