How to Run a Bar: Liquor Inventory

When you inventory your new bar there are many brands to consider, and levels. Well liquor is the most basic, least expensive type of liquor. It’s what your bartender pours when someone orders a “gin and tonic” but doesn’t specify, or call, a particular brand. Premium liquor is a step up from call liquor, and super-premium is a step up again.

Each liquor brand has its own website these days, and most include recipes for using their products. Check out a few of the drink recipe databases at these sites to get a feel for the many choices you have:

Whether you decide to go with well or premium liquors, here is a liquor list many bar keepers think are essential to stock in your bar.

Liquor Bar Stock Inventory/Storage Brands to Consider
Aperitif 3 4 Campari, Dubonnet, Lillet, Fernet Branca, Aperol, Amaro
Dry vermouth 2 2 Martini & Rossi, Noilly Pratt, Punt e Mes
Sweet vermouth 2 2 Martini & Rossi, Noilly Pratt, Punt e Mes
Vodka, super-premium 2 12 (6 of each) Grey Goose, Ciroc, Chopin, Level, Belvedere, Skyy90, Prairie Organic
Vodka, premium 2 12 (6 of each) Absolut, Smirnoff, Skyy, Stolichnaya, Finlandia, Three Olives, Vox, Fris, Ketel One, Tanqueray Sterling, Imperia, Ultimat, Svedka, SV Supreme, Glacier, Kuhl, Kru
Vodka, well 1 12 Popov, Gordon’s, Gilbey’s, Lairds, Van Gogh, McCormick, Dark Eyes, Barton, Boru
Orange-flavored vodka 1 2 Absolut Mandrin, Stoli Ohranj, Skyy Orange, Smirnoff Orange, Pinnacle Orange
Lemon-flavored vodka 1 2 Absolut Citron, Stoli Citros, Skyy Citrus, Smirnoff Citrus, Three Olives Citrus
Raspberry-flavored vodka 1 1 Absolut Raspberri, Stoli Razberi, Smirnoff Raspberry, Three Olives Raspberry, Pinnacle Red Berry
Vanilla-flavored vodka 1 1 Stoli Vanil, Absolut Vanilia, Skyy Vanilla, Smirnoff Vanilla, Three Olives Vanilla, Pinnacle Vanilla
Gin, super-premium 2 3 of each Plymouth, Tanqueray 10, Hendrick’s, Bombay Sapphire
Gin, premium 2 3 of each Beefeater, Bombay, Hendricks, Tanqueray, Damrak
Gin, well 1 6 Seagram’s, Gordon’s, Gilbey’s, Barton, McCormick
Rum, white, premium 2 3 of each Ocumare, Mount Gay Eclipse, Bacardi Gold, Oronoco
Rum, dark, premium 2 3 of each Mount Gay Extra Old, Gosling's Black Seal, Angostura 1824, Bacardi 8, Pyrat
Rum, white 2 3 of each Bacardi, Ronrico, Cruzan, Whaler’s, 10 Cane Rum
Rum, dark 2 2 of each Bacardi, Goslings, Myers’s Original, Rhum Barbancourt
Rum, spiced 2 2 of each Sailor Jerry’s, Captain Morgan, Cruzan, Hook’s, Whaler’s
Rum, coconut 1 2 Malibu, Cocoribe, Whaler’s Coconut, Cruzan Coconut, Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut
Rum, flavored 2 2 of each Bacardi (Big Apple, Grand Melon, Limon, O [orange flavored], Razz [raspberry], Vanila, Coco [coconut], Bacardi Ciclon [blend of rum, tequila and lime]); Cruzan Rum (coconut, orange, pineapple, banana, vanilla, and citrus-blended rum called Junkanu); Whaler’s (coconut, vanilla, pineapple, and banana); Mount Gay (vanilla and mango); Captain Morgan Parrot Bay (coconut, pineapple, mango, and passion fruit)
Rum, well 1 6 Castillo, Ron Llave, Bellows, El Dorado, McCormick
Scotch, super-premium 2 3 of each Johnnie Walker (Black, Gold, Blue, and Green), Dimple, Chivas, The Famous Grouse, Glenlivet, Dewar’s 12-year-old reserve, Highland Park 12-year-old, Macallan 12-year-old, Bowmore 37-year-old (Wow! A $1,000 bottle behind the bar. That’ll start some conversations.)
Scotch, premium 2 3 of each Cutty Sark, Grant’s, Ballantine, J&B, Dewar’s White Label, Macallan, Bowmore, Johnnie Walker Red
Scotch, others 2 1 of each Vat 69, Teacher’s, Bell’s, Whyte and Mackay, Passport, Buchanan
Single malt scotches 4 1 of each Cragganmore 12-year-old, Dalmore 12-year-old, Glenmorangie 10-year-old, Aberlour 10-year-old, Balvenie Doublewood, Glenfiddich 12-year-old, Glenlivet 12-year-old, Glenrothes 1989/1992, Macallan 12-year-old, Macallan 18-year-old, Auchentoshan 3 Wood, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Bowmore 17-year-old, Isle of Jura 10-year-old, Laphroaig 10-year-old
Scotch, well 1 2 Black Prince, Ballantine, John Barr Gold Label, Legacy, McAndrews
Whiskey, premium (rye) 2 1 of each Jim Beam Rye, Wild Turkey Rye, Rittenhouse
Whiskey, white 1 1 Everclear Lightnin’, Jim Beam Jacob’s Ghost, Death’s Door, Buffalo Trace White Dog
Whiskey, well (blended) 2 1 of each Fleishmann’s, Carstairs, Imperial, Barton Reserve, Wilson, JW Dant, Philadelphia
Tennessee whiskey 2 2 of each Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel
Canadian whisky 2 2 of each Canadian Club, Canadian Mist, Crown Royal, Seagram’s V.O.
Bourbon 3 1 of each Jim Beam 4 and 8 years old, Maker’s Mark, Booker’s, Basil Hayden, Wild Turkey, Old Crow, Knob Creek, Old Grand Dad, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit
Bourbon, specialty and single barrel 3 1 of each Specialty Brands: Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s Small Batch, Booker’s Small Batch, Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select, Elijah Craig 12-year-old Selected Barrel Bourbon. Single Barrel Brands: Blanton’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Elijah Craig 18-year-old Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon, well 1 6 Ancient Age, Barton Very Old, Benchmark, Bellows, Early Times
Tequila, super-premium 3 3 of each Grand Patron Platinum, Don Julio Real, Tres Generaciones, Riazul Reposado
Tequila, premium 3 3 of each Avion, Jose Cuervo 1800, Milagro, Patron Silver, Grand Centenario, Kah, Herradura, El Jimador, Cazadores, Milagro
Tequila, flavored 2 1 of each Hornitos Lime Shot, Margaritaville (coconut, lime, passion fruit, mango, and tangerine), Gran Centenario Rosangel (hibiscus), Agave Loco (Pepper)
Tequila, well 1 6 Montezuma, Baja, Cabrito
Brandy 2 2 of each Christian Brothers, Korbel, Cornet, Calvados, Cardinal Mendoza
Brandy, well 1 2 E & J, Royal 1889
Cognac, premium 1 1 Remy Martin Louis XIII, Hennessy Cognac Paradis, Hennessy Cognac Richard, Martell Cognac Cordon Bleu
Cognac 1 1 Courvoisier, Delamain, Hennessy V.S., Martell V.S.O.P., Remy Martin V.S.O.P., Alize V.S.
Armagnac 1 1 Sempe, Germain-Robin Alambic, St. Aubin, Salamens
Irish whiskey 2 1 of each Bushmills, Jameson, Powers, Tullamore Dew, Clontarf, Michael Collins, Red Breast, and Ray’s personal favorite: Midleton
Honey whiskey 2 1 of each Celtic Honey, Wild Turkey Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennesee Honey, Jim Beam Maple, Barenjager
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