I shared one of my favorite budget liquors last week, and it reminded me of the time we polled our readers on their favorite brands of gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, and other spirits. Here's a look back at the results and some of the most frequently-mentioned brands (Hello, Hendricks. Hi there, St. Germain!).
Highlights: The cucumber-and-rose specialty gin Hendricks came in for over 40 mentions in this thread! Its faux-apothecary bottle and somewhat unusual taste have won it a serious following. Other stand-outs: Plymouth (one of my own personal favorites), Bluecoat (another gin I love) and the budget-friendly New Amsterdam.
There were nearly fisticuffs, though, over Tanqueray vs. Bombay Sapphire. Tiamat_the_Red started it: "I like Tanqueray but will happily drink any gin that isn't Bombay Sapphire. I loathe Sapphire. It is NOT gin. Sapphire's just way, way, WAY too sweet and doesn't taste like gin."
Then, "Bombay Sapphire...really anything but Tanqueray. If someone gives me a drink with Tanqueray I know instantly. It tastes so sweet. It's awful," countered Tazer.
Gin — it's a polarizing liquor!
Highlights: The rum discussion really pointed up the diversity of rums available. There was no huge standout the way there was in the gin category, although Sailor Jerry and Goslings got a fair share of mentions.
Rum is also a liquor that people use for baking perhaps more than others; Myer's Dark Rum came in for a mention for that purpose.
Highlights: Whiskey is obviously a broad category (Scotch? Irish? Bourbon?) and our readers' answered ranged wide. Jameson came up over a dozen times, though, and Maker's Mark for classic bourbon. Harley Mike says, "Makers Mark makes an old-fashioned anything but."
There was also a clear divide between the readers who loved their Scotch (Laphroaig was a common refrain there) and those who find the stuff just too peaty.
Highlights: Ah vodka, the colorless, odorless, nearly tasteless spirit of Cosmos and summer punch. A good vodka is smooth and nearly tasteless, and in this thread, Belvedere came up quite a few times, as did Ketel One. Some readers went out of their way to recommend local, small-batch vodkas.
Highlights: Now, after you've stocked your primary liquor cabinet, what are your favorite non-essential liquors and special sippers? Our readers had all sorts of suggestions, including Campari, St. Germain, and — of course — homemade liqueurs.
Your turn to weigh in! Is there a major category of liquor we should hit next? Any other liquor brands in these categories you really love and want to recommend?
(Images: Liquor producers; Nora Maynard)