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Great Ideas For Making Home Bar Awesome

Few things are better than getting home at the end of a long, tiring day, turning up the music on your stereo, and mixing yourself a freshly made cocktail. In our humble opinion, it’s the finest way to unwind, and when done correctly.

Having a top quality home bar is a delight that just keeps on giving. The more you explore the fascinating and varied world of fine wines, artisan spirits, and tempting mixers, the better it all becomes.

However, taking your home bar experiences to a whole other level is something which does take some planning and thought… although it’s the kind of thing you won’t mind adding to your to-do list, as the pleasure the results bring vastly outweighs any effort you put in. To help you raise your home bar game, we’ve come up with ten fantastic ideas that’ll make your home bar the envy of your friends, and the highlight of your day.

Develop Your Signature Cocktail

If you don’t already have a signature cocktail - one which reflects your personality, your taste in spirits, and which you make better than anyone else you know - it’s high time to rectify this! Every drinks lover should be able to whizz up at least one fantastic cocktail with their eyes closed, and which has been tweaked and tailored to suit the minutiae of your personal preferences. It might take some time (and plenty of experimenting) to hit that sweet spot of perfection, but once

you get there, you’ll be able to mix your favorite mixers and spirits for ultimate satisfaction every time. What’s more, having a signature cocktail never fails to impress a date!

Have at least one ‘all-time greatest’ spirit

The world of spirits is a vastly varied one, and as any connoisseur will tell you, there’s usually a vast difference between those bottles at the top end of the market, and those which everyone and his dog has in their liquor cabinet. If you’re a particularly big fan of a Scotch single malt, for example, or of Cuban rum etc., do yourself and your bar a favor by picking up one of the best bottles you can afford. You’ll instantly raise your home bar game to entirely new levels,

and will open doors to new levels of aroma, character, and flavor. The path or connoisseurship awaits!

Develop Real Passion for a Spirit

Every spirit has its own personality, its own history, and no shortage of stories to learn and explore. Whether you’re a gin drinker, a Bourbon fanatic, or an Armenian brandy aficionado, learning more about your favorite spirit will pique your curiosity and develop your passion, leading you to appreciate it all the more. Your palate will be developed, and you’ll become the one your mates will turn to when it comes to top recommendations and advice.

Learn to Mix the Classics

Classic cocktails gain their classic status for a reason - because they’re real crowd-pleasers, and they’ve evolved over time to have a broad appeal. Knowing how to mix up the classics is one of the best ways to turn your home bar into a real feature for your friends and loved ones, and it’s sure to give your social status a proper kick-start as you continue your journey to becoming the host with the most. Perfect gin and tonic, a flawless Old Fashion, a sublime dry Martini…

these are just a few of the basics you’ll then be able to fine-tune to your own preferences.

Experiment with Flourishes and Garnishes

Garnishes are often overlooked as something a little frivolous and unimportant, but ask any experienced mixologist, and they’ll jump at the chance to tell you what a massive difference they can make. Take gin as an example - today’s gin scene is massively varied and exciting, not least because gin distilleries are using a broader palette of botanicals and extracts than ever before. Each of these allows the cocktail maker to highlight certain flavors through the use of

garnishes, and inject a certain je ne sais quois to the cocktail that allows it to truly hit the high notes!

Explore Aromatics and Tonics

The gin scene over the past decade has undoubtedly gone interstellar, and more and more people are exploring the potential of the ever-growing range on offer. One way to take your spirits game (and to be fair, this is mostly about gin, but other spirits could be included here) to another level is to explore different aromatics and matching tonics, which provide herbal and spice notes to your cocktails which deepen the flavor and highlight secondary and tertiary notes in the spirit.

Popular choices include saffron, anise, hibiscus flowers, and caraway, and these can be picked up at any good bottle shop or even supermarket.

Know Your Serving Temperatures

Few things are more unpleasant than sipping on a room temperature Martini, or an over-chilled and flattened glass of quality wine. All alcoholic drinks are massively affected by temperature, and knowing the ideal temperatures for serving and enjoying your spirits and wines can really make a big difference to how they come across on the palate. Read up on temperatures and ideal serving conditions, adjust the dial on your cooler, and hit that sweet spot every time!

Don’t Forget the Glassware!

Sure, the glassware isn’t probably as important as the quality of the spirit you’re drinking… but that’s not to say it’s completely insignificant. Having a home bar is all about decadence, enjoyment of life, and treating yourself to something special. As such, having beautiful or unique glassware is an easy way to dial up the pleasure, and make a bigger impact when serving cocktails to your friends and guests. Get yourself something special, and be sure to stand out from the crowd.

Five Refreshing Vodka Summer Cocktails To Impress Your Friends With

In our heads, we all know instinctively what a truly wonderful, refined, and delicious summer cocktail should be like. As soon as the thermometer starts creeping up (and, importantly, staying up), we start craving cool, crisp, refreshing, and clean characteristics in our drinks - essentially, the precise characteristics which make vodka such a world-beating spirit.

They say that truly great vodka should taste of very little bit a sharp winter’s breeze. However, it’s exactly this brisk iciness that lends the great Eastern European spirit par excellence its versatility, and it’s for this very reason why it’s the ideal choice for your summer cocktail menu. Sure, most vodkas don’t pack much of a punch of flavor on their own. That said, they provide the perfect base on which to build mountains of refreshing, summer flavors, and the ideal foundation for some undeniably game-changing cocktails.

Vodka tends to work most successfully with fresh fruit flavors (especially berries), and freshly cut herbs. Why? Because in a vodka cocktail, you want to put those vibrant flavors at the forefront of your drink, and vodka really does allow you to make stars of a handful of humble ingredients. As well as this, vodka loves being paired with bubbles, so don’t be shy with your Champagne or ginger ale - these are classic vodka cocktail mixers for a very good reason!

We’ve picked out five of our absolute favorite summertime vodka cocktail recipes for your enjoyment during the hotter months of this year. If you’ve avoided vodka since your college days, it’s perhaps time to revisit this remarkable drink by approaching it in wholly new and exciting ways. If you’re a long-time fan of this cleanest of spirits, you’re bound to love these bold and flavorful recipes. Perfect for a pool party, ideal for al fresco picnics and drinking sessions, and wonderful enjoyed under the sunshine anytime,anywhere, and with anyone… these summer vodka cocktail recipes are bound to become brand new favorites. Enjoy!

The Volstead

You don’t have to look very far in New York City for vodka cocktails which play with the classics, and bring new life to old favorites. The Volstead is a fantastic example, and has become a firm favorite for visitors to the iconic Lazy Point bar. Like all great vodka cocktail recipes for summer, it makes great use of bright, zesty, fruity flavors, and uses simplicity and elegance as the basis for a truly refreshing and sophisticated tipple. Want to replicate the classy liquidity of a

Long Island beach at your next pool party? This is the cocktail for you! Muddle four of the strawberries in a cocktail shaker with the simple syrup. Add the other ingredients, plenty of ice, and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with the remaining strawberry. Perfection!

Basil Gimlet

This cocktail is a brilliant take on the classic gimlet, given a sophisticated Mediterranean update and a cooling, summery makeover. You don’t necessarily have to include all of the garnishes in this recipe (there are probably more than you really need, to be fair), but if you’re going for the wow factor at your next garden party, then this recipe really is going to hit all the right spots.

  • 1 tbsp. celery salt, for the rim
  • Orange wedge, for the rim
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 2 dashes celery bitters
  • Basil leaf, for garnish
  • Lime wheel, for garnish

Pour the celery salt on a small plate, and moisten the rim of an Old Fashioned glass with the orange wedge, then run the rim through the salt. Set the glass aside.

Take your cocktail shaker, and add the other five ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously, and then strain into the Old Fashioned glasses along with more cubed ice. Garnish with the basil leaf and lime wheel, and enjoy

Russian Spring Punch

If you want to pay homage to the spiritual home of vodka in your summer vodka cocktails, then you won’t be able to resist this particular. ¾ oz. vodka

  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ crème de cassis
  • Champagne, to top
  • Edible flowers, to garnish (pansies, preferably)

Combine all of the ingredients in a punch glass over shards of ice. Add floral garnish, and sip decadently

The National Republic of Texas

This delicious cocktail probably isn’t the first drink that comes to mind when you think of Texas. However, it was invented for South By Southwest, the music, arts, and film festival which takes over the wonderfully innovative city of Austin each year, and screams volumes about the way that Austenite’s wish to be seen by the wider world. Refreshing, cool, crisp, and inventive, it’s a fantastic vodka cocktail

which really highlights the versatility of vodka as a cocktail base. Try it and see for yourself!

  • 1 oz. citrus vodka
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz. Sherry
  • ½ oz. honey syrup
  • Grapefruit wedge to garnish

Pop all of the ingredients (except the garnish) into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake well, then strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with the grapefruit, and relax.

Take your cocktail shaker, and add the other five ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously, and then strain into the Old Fashioned glasses along with more cubed ice. Garnish with the basil leaf and lime wheel, and enjoy


It’s never been the easiest of cocktails to pronounce, but when it comes to ultimate refreshment and holiday-themed drinks, the Sgroppino is up there with the best of them all. It’s not the most well-known cocktail in the wider world, but head to the beautiful city of Venice during the blazing heat of summer, and you’ll find plenty of trendy bars serving up this grown-up slushy on the canal sides. After one sip, you’ll see exactly why it’s such a crowd-pleaser…

and the chances are, you won’t want to be drinking anything else all summer long.

  • 1 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • 1 scoop lemon sorbet
  • 3 oz. Prosecco, plus an extra splash
  • Mint sprig, for garnish

Take a stainless steel bowl, and whisk together the vodka, lemon sorbet, and a splash of Prosecco until you have a nice slushy consistency. Add the remaining sparkling wine, and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour into a Champagne flute, and garnish with a mint sprig.

There you have it - five incredible summer vodka cocktails that are sure to help you stave off the heat of summer, while tickling your taste buds in a glorious fashion. Give them a try today, and see which one you’ll soon be adding to your repertoire!

Five Whiskies Under $50 That Are Perfect for Beginners

Like all the best things in life, falling in love with whisky is a journey. It’s a route which can take many years to walk, and one which is sure to throw up plenty of fascinating surprises, meandering stories, and wonderful flavors along the way. There’s something truly special about talking about this fine old spirit with a seasoned whisky connoisseur - somebody who really knows how to make the most of a quality dram, and who can discern all those unique characteristics which

make each bottle special - but in order to get to that level, we all have to start somewhere.

If you’re a newcomer to the world of whisky, and are looking to dive into its myriad delights and begin exploring its many forms, it’s probably best not to start with that $800 bottle of The Dalmore hidden behind the counter at your local spirits store. Now, there’s little doubt that such bottles have plenty of incredible flavors to impart, and are sure to take you on a sensory journey that won’t quickly be forgotten. However, until you’ve trained your palate, gotten yourself used to the different styles and notes of various whiskies, and generally acquired the sensitivity to make the most of it, the chances are a lot of those subtleties will just pass you by… and that would be nothing short of criminal.

As with all truly great hobbies, whisky appreciation is something which is best begun with baby steps. Our general advice? Get yourself a nice array of mid-range whiskies which aren’t going to break the bank, and begin training your palate to recognize the differences between them, and the kinds of flavor profiles and aromas they offer. There are actually plenty of superb whiskies out there for under $50, which range from cheaper releases from big-name distilleries, to hidden gems trying to find their place on a competitive market. Once you’ve made these first paces on your whisky journey, the sky’s the limit as to what you can add to your collection!

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck right in. Here are our top five whiskies for under $50 which no beginner’s whisky collection should be without. Cheers!

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

To say that quality Japanese whisky has been making huge waves on the scene for the past decade would be one heck of an understatement. If you’re just getting into whisky now - in the second decade of the 21st century - then it would be nothing short of churlish to overlook the output of the land of the rising sun; these spirits are truly exemplary, and demonstrate a clarity of vision and depth of flavor which is among the best found anywhere on earth.

This bottle from Nikka is a truly superb example; it’s a gorgeously blended combination of single malt and grain whiskies, which have been married in casks for six months. The result is an intense and deeply fruity whisky, which really packs in notes of oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and other mulling spices.

Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Walk into any pub or hotel bar in Scotland and ask for a decent glass of Scotch. Nine times out of ten, the bartender will smile to themselves, and reach for a bottle of Glenlivet 12. This is a Scotch Whisky which really set the bar for so many others to follow, simply because it never fails to tick all the right boxes for what we want from a quality drink. 200 years of experience has led the guys at Glenlivet to know exactly what they’re doing, and despite having a price tag between $30-$40,

this whisky drinks like a top-of-the-range bottle and seriously impresses. A perfect introduction to Scotland’s finest export.

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey

We’re not the biggest followers of fashion here, but we can’t deny that it’s been exciting to see traditional rye whiskies making something of a comeback in recent years. If you’re eager to explore this spicier, sharper, and altogether more sophistication cousin of the classic American whiskey style, then we’d recommend starting with a bottle of Pikesville Straight Rye

Originally based in Maryland, Pikesville was shuttered by prohibition before re-opening again to be the one and only rye distillery in the state. Today, it’s run by legendary whiskey brand, Heaven Hills, and does a great job of showing off all that’s special about this unique spirit style. Expect spicy cloves and plenty of rye flavors, alongside a beautiful chocolate and vanilla finish - not bad for $49.99!

Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

The Emerald Isle has plenty to offer newcomers to the world of spirits, especially those who are looking for something accessible, balanced, and easy-drinking for their first tentative steps into global whisky discovery. In this sense, this 12 year bottle from Redbreast fits the bill remarkably well, and manages to be at once completely approachable, while also making no compromise on authenticity and sophistication.

There are very, very few traditional pot stills remaining in the whisky world, and Redbreast’s distillery makes a big deal out of their old-fashioned, small-batch method, which results in this gorgeously balanced spirit. Rich in texture, boasting layer upon layer of spicy notes and complex aromas, this is an Irish whiskey which punches well above its weight.

Highland Park Whisky 12 Year Old Viking Honor

If you’ve already decided that quality whisky is definitely the spirit for you, you’ll probably be on the lookout for a ‘gateway’ bottle, which bridges the gap between the beginner’s spirits and the connoisseur’s table. We can’t think of a better example than this spectacular single malt whisky from Highland Park, which captures the wild Norse spirit of the windswept Orkney Islands it is produced on.

For many beginners, the smoky, intense, and earthy nature of many northern Scottish single types of malt can be a bit too much to take in. However, this whisky is gently peated, giving a truly pleasant hint of this traditional practice and the flavors it imparts. The Highland Park whisky is then aged in Sherry casks, which brings a fruity, nutty character to the bottle which is simply delicious - there are truly so many layers of delight to discover within this whisky. An absolute bargain at around $40, and one which is sure to drive your whisky enthusiasm to new heights.

Great Dessert Wines For Valentine’s Day

Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is almost here, and that means making sure that you are prepared to put together a great date night to show your special someone how much you care. Figuring out the perfect evening is ultimately up to you, but if there is one thing we know at Seitz Liquors Store in Oxon Hill, it’s that no Valentine’s Day evening is complete without dessert. And, no dessert is complete without a wonderfully paired wine.

In today’s blog from your local wine shop in Oxon Hill, Seitz Liquors Store — We’ll give a brief overview of five great dessert wines for Valentine’s Day as well as a shortlist of wonderful desserts you can pair them with.

Port Wine

Port wine is a fortified wine — meaning higher ABV content than most other wines — that typically presents flavors and aromas of dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel. Ruby ports will be fruitier, and tawny ports will tend to be richer and sweeter.

Tawny ports pair well with pecan pie, bananas foster, and crème Brule. Ruby port, on the other hand, goes well with strawberry and/or cherry

pastries, chocolate mousse, and assorted chocolate and caramels.


Moscato is a light, sweet, white wine that comes in many different varieties. Made from the Muscat Blanc grape, Moscato originates in northern Italy near the Piedmont Region.

Moscato is known for its impressive flavors of apple, pear, peach, apricot, and other stone fruits, as well as it’s relatively low alcohol content compared to other wines.

Moscato is incredibly diverse and can be paired with everything from summer-style dessert salads with sweet fruits and candied nuts to a peach cobbler or lemon poppy-seed bread.


Lambrusco is a great choice for Valentine’s Day dessert wine seekers who are looking for a wine that will be appropriate for pairing, but not overly sweet. Lambrusco comes in both dry and semi-sweet varieties, is typically quite affordable, and works well as a dinner wine and a dessert wine, so you can check two items off your list with one wine. For dessert pairings, try Lambrusco with candied bacon or cheese, fruit, and honey board.


For many wine drinkers, Reisling is the quintessential sweet white wine. While not quite as sugary as many Moscatos, Reisling still offers a beautiful fruit-forward flavor that pairs well with everything from chocolate desserts, like candies and cakes, to peach crumble, natural-style ice-creams, and sweet pound cakes.

Ice Wine

Ice wines are a special variety of wines that have undergone extreme cold and duress while still grapes. These incredible environmental pressures create extra sweet grapes — so sweet in fact, that ice-wines are often sold in splits — or a 375ml bottle.

Ice wines are perfect for pairing with intensely bold flavors — especially blue cheeses like Roqueforts and Gorgaonzolas, making

them the perfect wines for cheese, fruit, and candied nut dessert tray.