The Cost of a Drink

Starting a home bar costs money. The basics—whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, rum—will run you $100, assuming an average of $20 a bottle. This will take you part of the way. After you’ve added soda, bitters, citrus juices, sugar, and tonic water to everything you can, you’ll need to buy some of the more obscure ingredients necessary (orange bitters, maraschino liqueur, crème de cassis, etc.) for a few more key drinks.

What if you had none of the ingredients? What is the true cost of that first drink? Here are the costs of three great classic cocktails. For prices, I’ll use New York’s Astor Wine & Spirits:

Aviation Cocktail:
Liter Plymouth gin, $25.99
750 ml Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, $21.96
750 ml Rothman & Winter’s Crème de Violette, $23.99
Total = $71.94

Martinez Cocktail
Liter Plymouth gin, $25.99
375 ml Vya Sweet Vermouth, $12.99
750 ml Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, $21.96
Total = $60.94

Sazerac
750 ml Jim Beam Straight Rye, $21.99
Liter KüblerAbsinthe, $53.99
5 oz. bottle Peychaud’s Bitters, $5.99
Total = $81.97

I tried to be reasonable with the gin and rye, but for the vermouth and the absinthe, I was a little more discerning. Choosing a good absinthe is difficult these days, because everyone is trying to make one. I opted for Kübler, a Swiss brand of 106 proof absinthe, in this little exercise because it’s an old company (dating back to 1863) and it’s the first in Switzerland to bring back an old-style absinthe since the country lifted its ban on absinthe.

My point is that the average home bartender better want to make these cocktails, because he—or she—will have to pay for them. Fortunately, maraschino liqueur appears in a lot of drinks and, like crème de violette, is relatively cheap.

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One Response to The Cost of a Drink

  1. Pingback: The Cost of a Drink: The Trident Cocktail |

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