thoughts on drinking, life and mixing the two.
Liquor Store Archaeology (as described in Jason Wilson’s Boozehound) is my new favorite hobby. I call it “digging for dusty bottles.” This is where you go to liquor stores that have stood the test of time, sometimes surviving many changes of ownership and yet the inventory sits for years waiting for a happy hunter. I have posted on this before in my post titled Liquor Store Find!!!!! and I am going strong digging up rare old bottles of booze.
Part of the whole craft cocktail thing is accurately resurrecting and recreating historical cocktails. However, so many classic brands have either disappeared or changed their recipe over the years that this can be a challenge. From what I can figure, some of the Grail-like missing items are Suntory Hermes Orange Bitters, Kina Lillet and the 78 proof variety of Amer Picon. There were many others, but thanks to guys like Eric Seed of Haus Alpenz, many of these once lost or elusive items are now back in the U.S. market. Until just a few years ago, ingredients like Suze, Creme de Violette, absinthe and many others were hard to find or unavailable.
You never know what you will find, but like traditional archaeology it can take time, lots of digging and luck. You don’t always need to find a “grail” to have a good day. Sometimes an older bottle design or just something fun and obscure can be great. Once you develop a reputation as a bottle hunter, people may actually just give you stuff they find or inherit. This is a great way to try new things while unearthing items from the past. Sometimes you can even barter the price down; after all, one man’s trash is, as they say…