ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Stocking a Home Bar on a Budget - Liqueurs, Aperitifs and Digestifs

Updated on August 4, 2015

I recently covered base liquors and some initial money saving tips in part one of this series:

Liqueurs, aperitifs and digestifs
Liqueurs, aperitifs and digestifs

In part two I would like to get into the more decadent side of a home bar.

A liqueur is normally a very sweet fruit, herb or cream based beverage with a lower alcohol content than base liquors. There is a wide range of flavors available but for the sake of this hub I just want to get into the most popular. Let's break down a few of the most widely used liqueurs in cocktail making.

Orange Liqueur

At the highest end of orange liqueurs is Cointreau and at the lowest end you have Triple Sec. When deciding which to stock your bar with you have to decide what your primary use will be. Cointreau is a delicately crafted high end liqueur and is usually used with other high end liquors to create a premium cocktail. Triple Sec taste like... Well... It tastes like hairspray. It is more suitable for the crafting of a round of Kamikazes or a pitcher of Margaritas. Personally, I have banned triple sec from the house. There are quite a few "mid"-shelf brands of orange liqueur that are in the $18 to $20 range that don't taste like hairspray.

Raspberry Liqueur

The first name that probably comes to mind is Chambord. It is delicious... and expensive. There are many more affordable brands such as Bols and Dekuyper. To find these other brands just walk directly up to the beautifully ornate, round Chambord bottle on the top shelf and look due south about 3 or 4 shelves. If you haven't figured it out yet I'm a mid-shelf type of guy. My favorite mid range Chambord alternative is Chateau Monet. I believe it is a blackberry liqueur but the price is right at around $18. The bottle is only slightly less ornate than the Chambord bottle.

Melon Liqueur

Midori is the premium honey dew melon liqueur. I can normally find it for under $20 if I shop around. There really are no mid-shelf brands of melon liqueur that I'm aware of. There are a few bottom shelf brands if you're looking to save a Hamilton.

Almond Liqueur

All the things I just said about Midori apply to Amaretto di Saronno. The reason I don't mind spending a little more on some of these liqueurs is that I don't use a lot. Most drink recipes only call for a half ounce of any given liqueur. The bottles end up lasting forever and they look prettier sitting on the bar.

Coffee Liqueur

Kahlua retails for about $15. There are some bargain brands for between $8 to &10 but once again... Pretty bottles.

Irish Creme

Bailey's Irish Cream is certainly the most popular brand out there but Mr. Mid Shelf get a less expensive brand in this case. Three reasons. First, I just can not taste the difference. Second, The bottles all look the same. Third, the wife goes through it faster than cream for coffee. She likes to Irish it up from time to time.

Aperitifs and Digestifs

Aperitifs, or the Italian pronunciation aperitivo, are drinks or cocktails that will stimulate appetite and are to be enjoyed before a meal. The two most important aperitifs to keep stocked in any home bar are Dry and Sweet Vermouth. They are wines fortified with herbs and spices. Without them you couldn't make two of my favorite old man drinks, the martini and the manhattan. Both are considered an aperitif. Martini and Rossi is the most popular and widely used brand of vermouth's and quite economical.

A digestif is meant to aid in the digestion of a meal. Bitters such as Campari and desert wines such as port and sherry are two very different examples of digestifs. My personal favorite is grappa. Say it with me with a thick accent as you drink it all in one shot and slam the glass down on the table. Grappa is fermented from the scraps of wine making. The skins, stems and seeds. And yes it takes a little getting used to. Although once I learned that it is much better chilled I can't get enough of it.

Make Your Own

An affordable and creative alternative is to make your own liqueur. Its about as hard as pouring liquor, sugar, fruits and herbs into a jar and having the patience to let the ingredients marry.

Well, we've reached the end of my two part series on Stocking a Home Bar. I'm off to the liquor store. I just realized how long it's been since I've had my grappa. GRAPPA!!!

Always drink and serve responsibly and NEVER drink and drive.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Very interesting. Hence shared. Keep on writing. All the best.

    • peepingtomb profile image

      peepingtomb 6 years ago

      Well... It all started a couple of years ago when I took this bartending course...

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Interest to you what you consider the basic. I think I just have Kahlua and some tequila. We are not frequent drinkers.


    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)