How to restock your home bar to make it through the rest of winter
With Dry January blessedly behind us, it’s time to restock the home bar, depleted from the holiday season and neglected ever since. Here are five seasonal essentials to get you through the rest of winter.
Since a good VSOP Cognac will set you back nearly $100, brandies are a better fit for mid-winter budgets. St. Remy Reserve Privée benefits from having spent extra time in small French oak barrels, and the end result is a rich, complex and delicious spirit. $39.95. LCBO 313288
For those who prefer the sweet, bold and spicy flavours of American rye, the supply-demand situation is a source of endless frustration, since the most coveted ryes and bourbons get snapped up pretty fast. Best advice? Find a Canadian alternative you like instead. Our pick is Lot 40 Canadian Whisky, since it’s one of the first Canadian whiskies in memory to have a pronounced rye character. $39.95. LCBO 382861
With agave spirits, the rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. Not that expensive tequilas are necessarily good, rather, that bargain tequila is usually awful. Switching to mescal, for its smokier, earthier profile (that works wonders in a margarita), is usually a pricy trading-up move. Not so with Los Siete Misterios Mezcal, which is lovely for mixing and straight sipping alike, and with a price so good it must be the result of a glitch in the matrix. $52.95. LCBO 439497
Truth is, there are plenty of good rums around the $30 mark. But since we’re switching things up, it seemed like a good time to point out that Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça is a clean, fresh and slightly fruity sugarcane spirit that can be swapped in for light rums in many cocktail recipes. Plus, the company’s commitment to sustainability and ethical labour practices is truly impressive—which is a hard quality to find in a spirit made from sugar—so splurging a little on this product seems well worth it. $44.45. LCBO 486662
Boozy coffee on a bitter winter day is a treasured guilty pleasure. But to make this drink without risking diabetic coma, some new cream liqueurs have popped up, the best of which is Rumchata, a natural-tasting rum-based cream liqueur inspired by horchata, a cinnamon-rice drink that’s popular in Latin America. It’s the same price as Bailey’s and much tastier, which is why it’s a bartender favourite around town. $30.95 LCBO 380865