ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Stocking a Home Bar on a Budget - Base Liquors

Updated on July 23, 2014

In this day and age we are all looking for ways to save money whenever possible. I have cut back by cooking at home more. I've kept it interesting with little effort by trying new and exotic dinner recipes at home. A cocktail or two before dinner can change your whole outlook on the situation as well. I've found that keeping a home bar stocked doesn't have to be expensive. It's possible to do on a budget with a few of these basic tips.

Shop Around

I cringe to write the words "Big Box" but savings are to be found at superstores such as Total Wine and More. They will usually offer a wider selection than independently owned stores. You should definitely shop around and compare prices from store to store. You will begin to notice that one store consistently has a better price for your favorite vodka and another may have the best price for your scotch.

Look For Bargains

Most liquor stores and outlets will offer great sale prices on a featured brand. Don't be afraid to try something new at a sale price. You may end up liking it better than your usual brand. This is how I've come across some of my favorites.

Stock Up Over Time

Stocking a bar all at once can be very expensive. I would avoid it unless you are planning for an imminent party. Buy a bottle or two with every paycheck. Build your collection and selection over time.

Conserve Alcohol

There are benefits to using a jigger or counted pours when serving drinks. Making a cocktail without the proper tools is like baking a cake without measuring cups. It just won't turn out right. You will also blow through your booze much quicker and have to make a trip to liquormart that much sooner. The older I get the more I realize that a Rum and Coke is not a glass full of rum with a few ice cubes and a splash of coke for color.

Make Your Own

Please don't build a still. That is illegal. Flavored and specialty liquors can get pretty expensive. Thankfully, you can make them yourself with little effort. It is as easy as filling a jug with liquor and whatever you want it to taste like. You just need enough patience to wait a few weeks. I've made cucumber vodka, which is great for a bloody mary or martini. I've also made vanilla vodka and vanilla brandy with real vanilla beans to great success.

Top Shelf or Bottom Shelf?

Bottom shelf liquor is certainly an easy choice to make on a budget but is probably better left for when you are making a large amount of punch, jello shots or sterilizing medical equipment.

When working with a budget you can probably rule out top shelf liquor in general. Get a special bottle when you receive an unexpected windfall and save it for a special occasion. Chances are the price you paid will thwart you from slugging it down quickly.

The "Mid" Shelf

There are plenty of brands in the "mid" shelf liquor range that are a good compromise between taste and price. You can pick any of these up for an average of $15 if you shop around. Here are some of the more popular brands:

Svedka Vodka

Svedka is imported from Sweden and distilled five times from Swedish winter wheat. The bottle design is sleek and stylish. Appearance is important in maintaing a home bar especially if your goal is to entertain. Unflavored vodka is 80 proof (40% alcohol). Svedka also comes in Citron, cherry, clementine, raspberry and vanilla flavors at 70 proof (35% alcohol).

Bacardi Rum

Bacardi is well known and popular. It has a sleek bottle design. Bacardi Superior (light) and Bacardi Gold (dark) are a great addition to any bar.

Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Silver

Jose Cuervo Silver is clear, clean and distilled from blue agave. I might sometimes partake of a chilled shoot. It is incredibly smooth and drinkable.

New Amsterdam Gin

New Amsterdam has a great bottle design that gives it a nice top shelf look.

Mid Shelf Base Liquors
Mid Shelf Base Liquors

Early Times Kentucky Whisky and Early Times 354 Bourbon

They were one of the few distilleries to remain open during prohibition for "Medicinal Reasons". Currently, Early Times is the official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby. It is more economical to buy the 1 litre bottle of early times as opposed to the 750 ml bottle. They have recently released new bourbon called Early Times 354.

Ballantine's Finest Irish Whiskey

The "Finest Blend" is the least expensive brand Ballantine's offers in its line of blended scotch whiskey's.

Soberano Solera Brandy

I was able to get this delicious Spanish brandy for a really good price right down the street. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it anymore. My substitute recently has been Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy. It is similar enough in taste to the Soberano and even less expensive.

These are just a few of the many economical base liquors available. Experiment for yourself and find what works for you.

Always drink responsibly and NEVER drink and drive.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • peepingtomb profile image

      peepingtomb 6 years ago

      Yes. Total Wine is kind of like a WalMart for all types of spirits and fermented beverages.

    • TheHoleStory profile image

      TheHoleStory 6 years ago from Parsons, West Virginia

      I couldn't figure out why there wasn't a comment box either on your hub. Maybe you can edit the hub and add a comment box. I also can't wait for your return from the Total Wine store either, with an answer. Remember now it is a beer.

    • peepingtomb profile image

      peepingtomb 6 years ago

      I can't figure out why that hub doesn't have a comment box. I'm hoping to get out to the local Total Wine store sometime in the near future to look for the Grand Cru.

    • TheHoleStory profile image

      TheHoleStory 6 years ago from Parsons, West Virginia

      Awesome hub you have here peepingtomb, I voted it up, useful & interesting. I enjoyed your other hub on beer, however there wasn't anywhere for me to leave you a comment. I also stopped by to tell you that I have another beer question for you on my mystery beer hub. This is going to be a little bit tougher then the last one. Mystery beer question #19 awaits you. Good luck!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)