With only five days left before New Year’s Eve, many people’s minds are already turning to their next round of celebrations. I’ve already started to think about the holiday — what resolutions will I make, what silly hat will I wear to the party, and what specialty drink will I have?
In the celebratory spirit, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about keeping an uncluttered liquor cabinet. Similar to traditional food pantries and linen closets, most liquor cabinets have a bad habit of things going into them faster than items coming out. Before you know it, you’ll find you have three open bottles of vermouth, two dripping bottles of Rose’s lime juice and another of the grenadine, and five bottles of the exact same type of gin. (Well, at least this is what I found lingering in my liquor cabinet.)
Start by pulling everything out of your liquor cabinet and setting it on your dining table. Group like items together — shakers with shakers, vodka with vodka, etc.
Now, evaluate what you have. Unless you are a serious socialite, you probably don’t need to own three martini shakers or nine bottles of rum. Pull out any excess or expired pieces. (Expired? Remember that vermouth is made with wine, so after a few months lingering open in your cabinet it starts to taste “off.” I haven’t found evidence that it’s actually bad for you, but its flavor is definitely shot by the time it’s been open for a year. Bailey’s can curdle, and some sweet liqueurs will fade.)
Pour down the drain any liquor past its prime. Freecycle or Craigslist extra bar utensils (now is a great time to do this as other people are gearing up for their NYE gatherings). And, start calling your friends throwing end of the year parties to see if they might want to take extra bottles off your hands. Either that or decide to throw a party yourself to work through the extras.
When putting bottles of liquor back in your cabinet, consider these storage tips from the article “What is the Shelf Life of Distilled Spirits?“:
Tips for increasing liquor shelf life:
- Keep opened bottles sealed tightly. Use the original cap, a replacement cork or the wine corks that also take the air out of the bottle.
- Never store liquor with speed pourers unless you’re using them, these allow air to get inside the bottle.
- Avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold. Also, keep your liquor cabinet away from an exterior wall.
- Avoid bright, direct light.
Similar to how you sorted items on your dining table, return items to your cabinet storing like things with like things. Put shorter bottles in front and taller bottles in back so that you can always see what you’re storing.
Also, check out the fun book Ultimate Guide to Spirits and Cocktails. Have fun starting the new year with an uncluttered liquor cabinet!
Don’t forget! If you’re in the Chicago area, join Erin and some of the Unclutterer staff at The Book Cellar on Monday, December 28, any time between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.