The 12 Bottles

The bottles of the 12 Bottle Bar are (in no particular order):

  1. Leopold's makes a tasty G&T.

    Leopold’s American Small Batch Gin

    There’s a crisp citrus quality that pervades Leopold’s, and it’s so damned clean tasting that, ultimately, it beat out my long-time champ, Plymouth, if only by a whisker.



  3. The Rittenhouse Julep

    Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Straight Rye

    Rittenhouse is a fabulous bottle that’ll only set you back about $20. Sure, there may be better rated brands on the market, but not many. And they’ll cost you a bit more.



  5. Remy Martin VSOP Cognac.

    Remy Martin VSOP Cognac

    The Remy VSOP is 55% Grande Champagne and 45% Petite Champagne — the most central and, arguably, the finest Cognac grapes grown.



  7. Orange Bitters

    The newest member of the 12 Bottle Bar family (replacing Peychaud’s) but hardly the meekest. Orange Bitters are the key to several classic cocktails.



  9. Magical Bitters

    Angostura Bitters

    The Caribbean’s Angostura bitters are the perfect accompaniment for sea-faring gin and rum drinks.



  11. Orange Liqueur

    Orange Liqueur

    With three phenomenal brands to choose from — Gran Torres, Grand Marnier, and Cointreau — it’s hard to go wrong here.



  13. Redbreast Irish Whiskey

    Redbreast Irish Whiskey

    Triple-distilled in pure pot stills and aged for 12 years, the result is an unblended masterpiece of flavor and smoothness.



  15. Kübler Absinthe

    Kübler Absinthe

    Founded in 1863, Kübler is from Val-de-Travers, Switzerland, the birthplace of Absinthe. The same family that made Kübler then produces it today.



  17. Bols Genever

    Bols Genever

    The origins of genever go back five hundred years. I like to think of it as a “proto-spirit”, a common relative to modern gin and whiskey.



  19. Pusser's Rum

    Pusser’s Rum

    Crack a bottle of Pusser’s and take a wiff. If you don’t say “wow”, see a doctor. Then, take a sip. Taste the undernotes of vanilla and pineapple, and as you do, keep this in mind — this isn’t a flavored or spiced rum.



  21. Vermouth

    Sweet Vermouth

    Sweet Vermouth is key to several classic cocktails, namely the Manhattan.



  23. Vermouth

    Dry Vermouth

    You can’t make a Martini without Dry Vermouth, which makes this bottle key to any home bar.



Here’s what didn’t make the cut.

18 responses to “The 12 Bottles

  1. What are the other six!? Don’t leave us hangin’!


  2. I am a huge fan of Redbreast. I find it has fuller flavor than Jameson’s 12 yr old and really appreciate the pure pot still, but do have a ton of respect for Jameson’s 18. I also like Bushmills Black but think it too sweet b/c of the sherry cask aging to rank as an Irish whiskey in a 12 bottle bar. I even prefer Jameson’s 18 over Middleton’s Extra Rare, but it seems to me that the latest bottling isnt as nice as some of their previous. Do you have a dollar value in mind? And if so, with the 12 yr old Jameson and 12 yr old Redbreast being fairly similar on the shelf, why do you not consider the Jameson? And this is coming from a previous Bushmills fan.

    • I LOVE the Jameson line, so if you have the 12 y.o. Jameson — and you enjoy it in drinks — by all means. There is a school of thought, however, that says blended whiskey just doesn’t work well in mixed drinks. Being a fan of Jameson Sours, I don’t completely agree. I think, overall, you’ll find that I tend to pick bottles with bolder flavors — I just like tasting the alcohol in my drinks.

      Which year of Midleton are you disappoint in? I have a 2006 but need to pick up a few bottles of 2009 to celebrate my son’s birth (one for me, one for him).

  3. I like the cut of your jib. These days I too try to keep a more limited bar, but I try to update it according to the season. Applejack in the fall, Drambuie in the winter, gin in the spring, white rum in the summer, etc.

    But this is an incredible list. Even though I cannot abide by the “new” Noilly Prat formulation.

    • Daniel, first and foremost, thanks for reading! I took the liberty of checking out your corner of the blogiverse, and I can heartily recommend it to all who read this. Go here now: FussyLittleBlog

      Like you, I come at this from a food perspective. We’re Slow Foodies in this house, and I completely agree with you with regard to seasonality. With Phase One of 12 Bottles, the goal was to cover the bottles and to create a “greatest hits” of drinks to be made with them. I struggled with the question of seasonality but ultimately decided that I couldn’t present a concise list without including the Manhattan.

      Going forward, seasonality will be a key factor — but I’m sure I’ll crack out of turn now and again. More than anything, I’ve been awaiting for months (and will have to continue to wait for months) to get to Hot Buttered Rum. I hope you’ll stick around.

      Cheers, David.

      PS – Have you tried Dolin Dry Vermouth?

  4. Pingback: Twelve Bottles « FUSSYlittleBLOG

  5. Pingback: The Cocktail and The Sling | 12 Bottle Bar

  6. Pingback: MentalPolyphonics » Cocktail Minimalism

  7. Hello this is swani a bartender at the American bar savoy wanted to thank you for the excellent job you are doin for the industry ,got to know u more from mr Michael Taylor cheers

    • Thank you, Swani. I’m very honored to have you read the blog. I guess I owe Michael a round (or several) next time we’re both in London — we know where we’ll be drinking.

  8. theheavilytattooedbartender

    Hey twleve bottles,

    My name is Tom and I’m a bartender in Edinburgh. I recently came across your site after one of my bosses mentioned it to me. I think it’s an awesome concept, and the drinks that you’re coming out with from the Golden Age are cool. I write a blog too, it’s pretty young and still getting off the ground, but it would be a pleasure for you to take a look sometime.

    Look forward to keeping up to date with your future posts.

    Regards, Tom

    • Thanks for the note, Tom. Great blog you have there — I plan to spend a bit more time reading through it.

      In the meantime, anyone reading this should definitely give it a look.

  9. Wonderful blog: I got my “big smile of the day” from it. Although not much of an imbiber, I am always intrigued by the unique and high quality in the alcohol line., Becoming a competent mixer is close to the top of my bucket list. Many a year ago, Trader Joes obtained several cases of Plymouth gin (I think from British Naval stores because the bottle size didn’t work well for packing onto destroyers). I found it wonderful with a very fresh taste; however, I can’t seem to find it locally. Recently, I discovered Hendricks gin and it has replaced Bombay Safire as my gin of preference. Because of your blog, I am eager to try Leopold’s American Small Batch Gin.
    The oddity I have on my shelf is Prunell, a liqueur made (I think) from prune pits (can this be?) My late husband, who came from Germany, bought it after an extensive search for it. It is very tart and I can’t imagine it would ever mix with anything at all, but goes well with espresso. I will revisit your blog often.

  10. Another orange liqueur to consider: Creole Shrub. Rich, sweet, spicy. Great in Margaritas.

  11. Pingback: The Cocktail and The Sling | 12 Bottle Bar

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