Stocking the Essential Liqueurs

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If you can stock only a few liqueurs, which three would you choose? These experts offer their picks to cover all the bases, from shots and drinks to cocktails and even sippers.

Chris Visic, beverage director at the Downtown Sporting Club in Nashville, would go with Curacao, Campari and Maraschino, while Campari, Curaçao and Falernum would be go-tos for Sally Gatza, lead bartender at L.A. Jackson in Nashville.

“My three-bottle backbar would have to be Benedictine, Campari, and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao; sweet and herbal, bitter and dexterous, and bright and dry, respectively,” says Jack Keane, general manager at the Comfort Station in Cincinnati. 

L’Orgeat liqueur, Cynar amaro, and Grand Marnier are the picks from Maggie Dandrea, a lead bartender at Jack Rose, Bayou Bar and Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans.

“I’d have to have curaçao; that’s super important,” says Meredith Barry, beverage director at Grand Tavern by David Burke and Angad Rainbow Terrace at the Angad Arts Hotel in St. Louis.  “And I have to have green Chartreuse in my life; the Last Word is one of my favorite drinks. Plus, an aperitivo or digestif like Aperol that would work with sparkling wine.”

Green Chartreuse, Genepy de Alpes, and Cynar 70 are the picks from Andrew Larson, mixologist at CUT by Wolfgang Puck at Rosewood Washington D.C. 

“My top three, must-have liqueurs to stock are dry curaçao, for Margaritas and Cosmopolitans; Dolin Rosso, for Manhattans and Negronis; and Fireball, just for fun,” says Alexa Delgado, head mixologist at Lightkeepers at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami.

Byrrh Grand Quinquina, St.Germain, and assorted amari are must haves for Andrew Holmes, director of food and beverage at Chicago-based First Hospitality Group.

To cover all the bases for guests at Henrietta Red in Nashville, beverage director Patrick Halloran would choose Campari, green Chartreuse and a Curacao. “Cover bases for my own drinking habits? Apricot liqueur, Curaçao and Campari,” he adds.

“Leopold Bros. Amaro to replace Campari. Pasubio for something completely oddball. And I’m always pushing that Boomsma Beerenburger,” says Colton Wright, beverage manager at The Iberian Pig Buckhead in Atlanta. “And I’d have to have a bottle of Chartreuse VEP hidden out of sight so I could just sip it myself.”

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