Last Saturday evening I found myself 1 scotch cocktail, 1 madeira, 1 calvados, and 1 gin deep – a situation for which the blues provided no applicable song – and felt compelled to compile my personal liquor power rankings. My determining elements were simply 1)what do I always need on stock and 2)what do I, in self-managed settings, refuse to mix. My labored results:
1 – Gin – My top is the duty-free exclusive Roku Select – which has more sakura and ends up a bit sweeter than the normal. Sipsmith takes the honorable mention as winner of the traditionals.
2 – Pear brandy – Massenez or Trimbach, though the slightly softer Massenez probably edges out. No pear taking up half the bottle.
3 – Calvados – I like Pere Magloire V.S.O.P or XO but I’ve yet to test most of the pricier options. Chauffe-Coeur VSOP is what I was drinking the other night.
4 – Mezcal – I prefer the Mezcal Vago line’s yearly variable Ensamble en Barro releases. But the variability makes this an internally contentious issue.
5 – Armagnac – Chateau du Busca.
I cheated by excluding Amari and Chartreuse. Amari are too difficult to classify but my winners are Varnelli’s Dell’Erborista and Casoni’s Del Ciclista. Chartreuse I love, keep several liters of, but have never learned to touch by itself.