How to Run a Bar: Liquor Inventory - dummies

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

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
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,
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
Rum, spiced 2 2 of each Sailor Jerry’s, Captain Morgan, Cruzan, Hook’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
Scotch, well 1 2 Black Prince, Ballantine, John Barr Gold Label, Legacy,
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
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, well 1 6 Ancient Age, Barton Very Old, Benchmark, Bellows, Early
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
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:
Honey whiskey 2 1 of each Celtic Honey, Wild Turkey Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennesee
Honey, Jim Beam Maple, Barenjager