The perfect five-bottle bar

the perfect five bottle bar

The perfect five-bottle bar: (1) Faultline bourbon, (2) Fernando de Castilla Antique amontillado sherry, (3) St. George Terroir gin, (4) Dolin Rouge vermouth, and (5) Campari

A few weeks ago, Dan’s sister Rachel asked for a cocktail lesson. Her reasoning was solid: cocktails are the perfect thing for a person who lives alone and will never finish a bottle of wine solo. And they’re fun! So true.

But Rachel’s request also came with a challenge. Because she’s starting from scratch and doesn’t want to spend a fortune stocking the bar, she wanted to pinpoint just five bottles that would give her lots of options—not to mention make her look like a cocktail genius.

The easy thing to do, of course, would have been to send her away to find vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and whiskey, along with the proportions for a sour. And hey—there’s nothing wrong with the basics. But that felt like a cop-out. I wanted to help her find her cocktail personality. And I wanted each of the five bottles to be worthy of drinking on their own.

So we embarked on an epic tasting journey.

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The Pink Boat sails to Thermidor for happy hour

Our friend Tom is kind of an all-or-nothing guy. In the last year and a half, he’s gone from being a sailing novice to an experienced single-handed ocean racer. And now he’s working up to an even bolder goal: he’s planning a solo sail around the world in The Pink Boat to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.

I don’t know much about sailing (yet), but I do know a thing or two about cocktails. It seemed only fitting to contribute to Tom’s efforts in some small way by creating a signature cocktail for him. And tomorrow night (Wednesday July 27), Thermidor will help spread the word about Tom’s Pink Boat campaign by featuring this drink on their happy hour menu from 5-8pm. Stop by to meet the sailor, hear about his upcoming voyage, and enjoy a lovely beverage!

The Pink Boat
1 ounce 209 or Aviation gin
1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Campari

Shake and serve up with a twist of lime.

What we’re drinking

The fantastic wine, beer, and cocktails continue in this edition of… what we’re drinking!

Because we like to have options.

  • Vino Volo. This place is the best thing to happen to airports since airplanes. Tasted a 2003 Medici Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. How often do you get such tasty wine in an airport? My coworker and I split a bottle for $48 ($36 retail) and it made coach slightly less painful. Let’s also celebrate that there is one in SFO now. -DD
  • 2002 Jose Michel Special Club Champagne. This is only edition #2 of what we’re drinking and I’m already running out of ways to say I love bubbles, but this is one of my favorites this year. This is a super elegant Champagne with a hint of earthiness on the nose followed by great structure and fruit. Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle from Premier Cru before they’re out. (I can’t wait to try the 1998 magnum I picked up.) -DD
  • Variations on the negroni. The classic is equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth–a can’t-fail balance of refreshing, sweet, and bitter flavors. But this drink is also exceptionally well-suited to tinkering. Alter any or all of the components and you’ll come up with something equally, though differently, delicious (but stick with the spirit-bitter-sweet formula). Recent combos at Hearsay HQ have included silver tequila, Aperol, and dry vermouth; aquavit, Aperol, and Carpano Antica; and rye, Campari, and tawny port. -JF