Cocktail 101: Stocking Up For a Storm

Cocktail 101

All the basics of the bar.


A little snowy out there. [Photograph: Wikimedia Commons]

Here it is, North America: winter. As I write this, people from the Great Plains, through the Midwest, and into the Northeast are digging out from heavy snowfalls. Some are without power. Television news always takes the same alarmist stance whenever a storm is pending: "Ah-muh-gah, you guys, it's time to hit the stores and stock up on bread, milk, chips, and frozen pizza!"

But as most of us know, the real question is, how do you stock your bar before a heavy storm rolls in? Whether beer, wine, or spirits, what do you have on hand to get you through the worst?

The problem here is two-fold: it's not just a question of what you do after the storm, when your power might be out and your streets and sidewalks are treacherous. It's also a question of what do you do while you're waiting for the storm to hit.

The Hardest Part

In our Brooklyn household, it usually goes like this: Our faithful quartermaster usually has a FreshDirect grocery order ready to go in the advance of a heavy snowfall. Once we get the warning that a pending storm might be capital-M Major, she hits the Submit button and grabs the best delivery window possible. We get the usuals: coffee, tinned fish and beans, milk, bread, and bottled water, plus hard cheeses and cured meats that can survive the loss of our fridge, if power goes out for a few days. But we also usually order in several bottles of wine and a little beer.

Our spirits provisioner, on the other hand, is responsible for the hard stuff, which means a trip to the liquor store is in order. These days, we have a truly ridiculous quantity of orange liqueur, so after stocking up on tequila, I remind the quartermaster to order limes, and we can drink margaritas until the sidewalks thaw or our livers fail, whichever's first.


And then there's the whiskey. Oh hell yes. Rum, tequila, mezcal, and even gin all make for tasty hot toddys, but what I really want to warm my old bones is a good hot brace of whiskey. Irish is especially yummy, even more so when you choose one with body and rich flavor, such as Redbreast. Take one of these before bed, and you'll laugh at a foot-and-a-half of snow.

And what's nicer as a morning warmer than an Irish coffee? Redbreast excels here, too.

So, how do you stock up for major storms? And how do you cope with all the waiting around?