Monday, May 24, 2010
Happy hour at home?
With the economy still in recession more people everywhere are cutting corners wherever they can. Activities that were once considered the “norm” or “common place” are now being visited “every once in a while” or on “special occasions.” With the average price of a dinner for 2 in Los Angeles at $34.95 and $82.01 at high-end restaurants, an overwhelming majority of consumers (89%) are eating most of their meals at home rather than going out. Now that consumers are savvier than ever, not only are people choosing to eat at home more, they are also choosing to forego their favorite watering hole’s happy hour and stocking their liquor cabinets themselves.
Alcohol for all intents and purposes is a restaurant’s cash cow. The average mark up for alcohol at most restaurants can be anywhere from 150%-300%, something to think about the next time you closeout your tab and realize that you were charged $5.00 for an Amstel Light when a 6-pack cost around 7 bucks.
Liquor, even good liquor is surprisingly inexpensive when you cost it out. Here are some cost effective ways to enjoy your spirits without being haunted by their prices.
1. Redbreast 12 year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey 750 ml $39.99. I first tried this Irish Whiskey when it was given to me as a Christmas gift from a good friend. It is a very smooth and flavorful whiskey, with very little after taste. It may not be a common household name like Macallan or Johnny but can hold its own and is a great addition to any liquor cabinet. Glass at home $4.00 Glass at a bar $16.00
2. Chivas Regal 12 year blended Scotch Whiskey 750 ml $25.99. Rich in history and taste. A classic drink. Ordering a Chivas on the rocks would make any bartender smile in the same way ordering a regular coffee instead of a half caff, sugar free soy caramel macchiato would make a barista smile.
Glass at home $2.50 Glass at a bar $14.00
3. Jameson Irish Whiskey 750 ml $21.99. Considered to be one of the most popular and best selling Irish Whiskey in the world. Can either be sipped with a couple of cubes or served as a shot to keep your beer company.
Glass at home $2.25 Glass at a bar $8.00
1. Ketel One distilled from 100% wheat in the Netherlands 750 ml $28.00. Classic vodka on the same shelf as your Goose, Chopin and Belvedere. Ketel One is a cheaper and comparable if not better tasting vodka than Grey Goose. A smooth shot on the go or a good mixture of soda water or tonic will accent this vodka well. Less trendy and not as pretentious as other top shelf vodkas, perfect for those with skinny wallets rather than skinny jeans. Glass at home $3.00 Glass at a bar $10.00
2. Tito’s Handmade Texas Vodka distilled from corn six times, distilled three more times than Grey Goose. 750 ml $20.00. Unlike its more expensive predecessors. The shot is very smooth and can be taken straight without a chaser, even for non-vodka loving drinkers. Glass at home $2.00 Glass at a bar (if available) $6.00
3. Svdeka 750 ml $15.00 distilled five times from Swedish winter wheat. As a general rule liquor sold in a plastic bottle should be avoided at all cost, but the Svdeka Swedish vodka breaks the mold. The Smart Water shaped bottle is often passed over for the Skky or Absolut bottle found in all bars and most homes. Whether you are drinking it in your favorite mixed drink at home with friends or at a bar, all will be impressed with your economically viable choice for a good tasting, cheap alternative to spending a lot on more marketed vodkas that taste relatively the same. Glass at home $1.50 Glass at a bar $5.00
1. Chimay Ale Blue Abv. 9% 22 oz. $12.99. A Belgian beer made in a Trappist monastery by Monks, dating back to 1862. A very smooth and full flavored beer, which goes great with appetizers or tapas that are designed to be shared in the same way this beer is. Bottle at home $12.99 Bottle at a bar $24.99
2. Amstel Light 6-pack / 12 oz. bottles $7.99. Considered to be one of the top selling imported light beers in the U.S.A. has a very clean and crisp taste. Bottle at home $1.50 Bottle at a bar $5.00
3. Rolling Rock 6-pack / 12 oz. bottles $6.99. Classic American Lager with its signature green bottle. A very refreshing beer and dangerously easy to drink. One of the lowest calories for a non-light beer. Bottle at home $1.25 Bottle at a bar $4.00
**Please drink responsibly**
A special thanks to Allen Wolfe for contributing his extensive knowledge and edited experiences with Vodka.