A Guide To Starting a Liquor Collection

You have great taste, but you don’t have to start with high-end liquor when you are just beginning a collection. Start with the basics and keep enough on hand to keep guests happy. It doesn’t take expertise or years of experience to get a fully stocked bar or liquor collection going. All you need is the desire to invest.

Begin With the Basics

You want your liquor collection to be worth the investment. It should feature excellent taste and quality. As you begin, keep a list with you and use it as a guide to starting a liquor collection. Mark each one off the list as you find it, and you’ll have a well-stocked bar before you know it.

  • Vodka—Great for a Bloody Mary, gimlet, or martini. It also tastes great mixed with lemonade or cranberry juice. Vodka fans will appreciate you keeping your vodka in the freezer. This liquor won’t freeze—instead, it will become refreshingly ice cold.
  • Gin—Mainly used for a gin and tonic or a martini.
  • Tequila—Well-known for margaritas and tequila sunrises. People often mix tequila with soda for a fresh, savory cocktail.
  • Whiskey/Bourbon—Popular as a Jack and coke. Many also drink it straight with some water or ice.
  • Rum—Used for rum and coke, piña coladas, and mojitos.

The possibilities for these five basic liquors are endless. You will run into a huge variety of drink mixtures. Stick with middle-of-the-road prices if you are just beginning. These are just some ideas to get you thinking about what you need. Now, it’s time to add some garnishes and mixers. Keep these on hand along with your new basic liquor collection.

  • Bitters
  • Fruit (cherries, oranges, limes, lemons)
  • Simple sugar (boil one cup of sugar with one cup of water and allow to cool, then store in a container in the refrigerator)
  • Sodas (cola, sprite, tonic)

A bar stocked with these fine spirits, mixers, and garnishes will be a welcome reward at the end of a long day or the beginning of a fun Saturday night with friends. Now that you have the basics, let the fun begin with a search for unique and rare liquor to impress your guests.

A Rare Liquor Collection

Have you ever been to someone’s home and had them break out a bourbon you had heard of but never seen? Maybe it was a bourbon worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. There is something incredibly special about sharing fine liquor with those close to you. People often reserve high-end liquor for quiet, important moments. Most people sip it slowly, making sure to savor the exquisite taste. This kind of liquor can create a strong bond between connoisseurs. It is a worthy investment for liquor enthusiasts.

You should choose rare liquor for your collection according to your taste. However, you should also step out of your comfort zone and rely on your imagination. Think about what friends and family might enjoy while in your home.

Finding a Rare Liquor

Before choosing a rare liquor, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with quality bottles. Doing some research online and speaking with experts will help you determine what you want. It can become a fun endeavor; you could experience the thrill of purchasing a special bourbon or tequila in high demand. Once you know what you want, don’t hesitate when it becomes available. You could face reading a “SOLD OUT” label if it gets snatched up quickly, and then you’ll have to wait.

How Much Should You Be Willing To Pay?

This question isn’t easy to answer, and it depends on an individual’s specific situation. However, there are some guidelines.

How difficult is it to find or replace the item you are considering? If collectors have been waiting for years to get one bottle, then be prepared to pay a very high price. And if that brings you joy: great! If it makes you cringe, then think about buying something unique, but not quite so rare.

Bourbons, for example, are extremely popular right now. You could pay fifty dollars or tens of thousands for a bottle. Obviously, the more expensive bourbon will be very rare compared to the cheaper bottle. The interesting thing is: you never know which one has the taste you prefer. A high price tag doesn’t guarantee that you’ll love the taste. It does, however, make for great conversation, and helps guests feel special.


Maybe you love nothing more than sipping on some Maker’s Mark at the end of a hectic week. But perhaps your best friend prefers an ice-cold beer. Everyone has their preferences, so keep the refrigerator stocked with beer. Craft beer is wildly popular, so it isn’t a bad idea to have a variety so people can choose their favorites. Make sure you note which beers go in the fridge and which you can keep at room temperature. In other words, don’t serve your Irish friend a cold Guinness!


Wine lovers will truly appreciate your efforts in creating an impressive wine collection. Wine is sipped slowly, and unless you have large crowds, a few bottles kept in stock should suffice. If you’re a wine aficionado, then you focus on wine in a more serious way.

Keep a variety of reds and whites for different tastes and pairings. Like beer, keep temperature in mind for storage. Consider investing in a wine refrigerator for wines that must be kept cold.

Serving Your Guests

Now that you’ve read this guide to starting a liquor collection, it is time to prepare to serve your guests. Keep a variety of glassware on hand, such as beer glasses and wine glasses for both red and white wine. You can also get glasses designed for a variety of mixed drinks, bourbons, and whiskeys.

Decide on where you will store everything. Keep the area neat and clean—avoid clutter. Get creative with bar ideas. You can turn unused cabinets or a cool old hutch into a bar counter.

Have plenty of ice ready to go and an ice bucket at the bar area if possible.

And now, simply enjoy. Your hard work and effort in preparing and investing will pay off as your guests consider you a welcoming and excellent host.

A Guide To Starting a Liquor Collection