Peek Inside A Wine Lover's Liquor Cabinet: 5 Essential Components

At home, however, even the most wine-enthusiastic among us appreciate having a special, dedicated space that houses everything we need to create mixed drinks for those occasions that call for them. This is where the "cabinet" part of liquor comes in.

Our "cabinet" is actually more of a liquor-populated, double-shelved side table in the living room, where glass bottles and tumblers clink against each other when someone walks from one room to the next in our old, uneven, creaky house. It's become a tell-tale sound in our home, like wind chimes or the unique bark of a dog or the click of a door latch closing against the strike plate.

Those sounds have personality, and so do the bottles and the glasses we use to make and serve mixed drinks. That's also what they have in common with the bottles in our wine cellar: a reason for being, in and of themselves, and also a reason for being in our particular home. Those reasons are tied to what we've experienced in the past and also to how we live now.

Here are four beverages (plus one tool) that we reach for most often.

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Amaretto

Amaretto? Again with the retro, you might (fairly) ask? Yes, candidly, and we make no apologies about it.

I could say that we love Amaretto for its romantic Italian origins, which wouldn't be completely untrue. I could also say, also not completely untruly, that we love Amaretto for its versatility in a whole variety of mixed drinks and in the kitchen as well, from almondine butter sauce at dinner to a flavoring for freshly whipped cream for desserts.

What's true most often, however, is the ridiculously basic presentation of Amaretto over ice, a short tumbler for each of us, at the far end of the night. Barely a splash and nothing simpler, but we find ourselves finding one last toast to make before bed, ending the day with a quiet, easy, double dose of sweet celebration.

Gin

I've lost count of how many friends and colleagues in the wine industry are also gin fiends, and I haven't got the algorithm figured out yet of why-gin for wine-lovers. But there seems to be a fairly clear correlation.

My personal preference runs toward Martin Miller's, after tasting it and learning its backstory a few years ago in Iceland. Though easily-found labels like Leopold's and The Botanist are popular choices among other wine lovers, the chase is on for increasingly obscure bottlings and botanicals like sage, lavender, lime and rosemary.

Sotol

I fell hard for Sotol last summer during a trip to Querétaro in central México. Though it's harder, for the moment, to track down in the US than its tequila and mezcal cousins, it's well worth the hunt for its grassy, funky nature and pine-like, earthy character. My first taste was part of a cocktail involving chili bitters, pineapple, and the excellent label called Flor del Desierto (so named for the Desert Spoon plant from which Sotol is made). You could easily enjoy it neat, or keep an eye out for more combinations and cocktail creations as Sotol gains in popularity, as it quickly will.

Cognac

Cognac is perhaps the one bottle in our liquor supply that we "eat" more than drink, and that's because of my husband's compulsive (pyrotechnic?) habit of setting it on fire when he's making our favorite tomato-cream sauce as part of dinner. Is it worth drinking more of, in the classic after-dinner fashion? No doubt. In the meantime, we're happy with its culinary accent and its function as an ambassador from the liquor cabinet to the kitchen.

Manual Hand Squeezer for Citrus Fruits

At first, I wasn't convinced. At all. I mean, do we really need another tool just for squeezing lemons when our hands work perfectly fine? "Need," no. "Want," yes, and the heavy-duty version has to do with volume (which says something about our affinity for entertaining) and momentum which, as anyone prepping cocktails for a crowd will tell you, runs out of steam at right about the same time as the bowl of lemon juice.

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"Liquor cabinet" is a bit retro, particularly at a moment like ours when bartending and mixology have been raised to a performance art at restaurants and cocktail bars around the world.

At home, however, even the most wine-enthusiastic among us appreciate having a special, dedicated space that houses everything we need to create mixed drinks for those occasions that call for them. This is where the "cabinet" part of liquor comes in.

Our "cabinet" is actually more of a liquor-populated, double-shelved side table in the living room, where glass bottles and tumblers clink against each other when someone walks from one room to the next in our old, uneven, creaky house. It's become a tell-tale sound in our home, like wind chimes or the unique bark of a dog or the click of a door latch closing against the strike plate.

Those sounds have personality, and so do the bottles and the glasses we use to make and serve mixed drinks. That's also what they have in common with the bottles in our wine cellar: a reason for being, in and of themselves, and also a reason for being in our particular home. Those reasons are tied to what we've experienced in the past and also to how we live now.

Here are four beverages (plus one tool) that we reach for most often.

Getty

Amaretto

Amaretto? Again with the retro, you might (fairly) ask? Yes, candidly, and we make no apologies about it.

I could say that we love Amaretto for its romantic Italian origins, which wouldn't be completely untrue. I could also say, also not completely untruly, that we love Amaretto for its versatility in a whole variety of mixed drinks and in the kitchen as well, from almondine butter sauce at dinner to a flavoring for freshly whipped cream for desserts.

What's true most often, however, is the ridiculously basic presentation of Amaretto over ice, a short tumbler for each of us, at the far end of the night. Barely a splash and nothing simpler, but we find ourselves finding one last toast to make before bed, ending the day with a quiet, easy, double dose of sweet celebration.

Gin

I've lost count of how many friends and colleagues in the wine industry are also gin fiends, and I haven't got the algorithm figured out yet of why-gin for wine-lovers. But there seems to be a fairly clear correlation.

My personal preference runs toward Martin Miller's, after tasting it and learning its backstory a few years ago in Iceland. Though easily-found labels like Leopold's and The Botanist are popular choices among other wine lovers, the chase is on for increasingly obscure bottlings and botanicals like sage, lavender, lime and rosemary.

Sotol

I fell hard for Sotol last summer during a trip to Querétaro in central México. Though it's harder, for the moment, to track down in the US than its tequila and mezcal cousins, it's well worth the hunt for its grassy, funky nature and pine-like, earthy character. My first taste was part of a cocktail involving chili bitters, pineapple, and the excellent label called Flor del Desierto (so named for the Desert Spoon plant from which Sotol is made). You could easily enjoy it neat, or keep an eye out for more combinations and cocktail creations as Sotol gains in popularity, as it quickly will.

Cognac

Cognac is perhaps the one bottle in our liquor supply that we "eat" more than drink, and that's because of my husband's compulsive (pyrotechnic?) habit of setting it on fire when he's making our favorite tomato-cream sauce as part of dinner. Is it worth drinking more of, in the classic after-dinner fashion? No doubt. In the meantime, we're happy with its culinary accent and its function as an ambassador from the liquor cabinet to the kitchen.

Manual Hand Squeezer for Citrus Fruits

At first, I wasn't convinced. At all. I mean, do we really need another tool just for squeezing lemons when our hands work perfectly fine? "Need," no. "Want," yes, and the heavy-duty version has to do with volume (which says something about our affinity for entertaining) and momentum which, as anyone prepping cocktails for a crowd will tell you, runs out of steam at right about the same time as the bowl of lemon juice.

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