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In my home bar, I have some tequila, rum, vodka, and bourbon. Each of these types now has two or more brands (the extras were gifts), which take up space.

I'd like to keep my home bar simple and just have one bottle of each type.

  1. What issues are there with doing this?
  2. Is this safe?
  3. How will this affect the cocktails I might make?
  4. How should I calculate the new alcohol level?
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If the bottles are standard everyday bargain brands then I don't see much problem with mixing them together by type. However it would seem a shame to take a premium bourbon and mix it with something cheap. As for your other question, I'd guess it is as safe as having separate bottles. Unless the cocktail recipe specifies a specific brand I doubt it will affect the result much. As far as alcohol content, most gins (for example) are going to be similar in ABV so mixing won't change things much. Calculating the ABV of the result is a weighted average. Take the ABV of bottle A times the volume in bottle A add the ABV of bottle B times the volume in bottle B and divide the result by the final volume.

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  • My sentiments exactly.
    – Ken Graham
    Dec 25 '20 at 22:06
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I have a fairly opposing view to Eric's so thought I should post it as a separate answer:

While there may be some spirits that may be okay to mix almost all spirits have distinct differences between brands.

Vodka: if you have plain vodkas, designed to have as little taste as possible, and just add alcohol to fruit juices etc, these will be good to mix. I would not suggest doing this with for example a Stolichnaya, or Bison, or other distinct vodka, or with any flavoured vodkas.

Gin: you really cannot mix gins, as they all have very different flavours from the mix of botanicals. In fact that is the whole point of keeping multiple bottles. Tequila: Unless you have really cheap tequila (the kind you use for shots and hide the taste with salt/lemon) they all have distinct tastes, and it would be a shame to mix them - they all make different margaritas, for example.

Rum: again, even within the main groups of dark, light, overproof, spiced, navy etc you have a multitude of flavours, so mixing these will dilute the very notes they are famed for.

Bourbon: between bourbons, Kentucky whiskey, Tennessee whiskey and others, there are huge differences in sweetness, smokiness and other notes. These are also a no-no for mixing.

Also, don't even think about doing this with whisky

To answer your specific questions:

  1. you'll take away the flavours
  2. it's perfectly safe
  3. they will taste different, but depending on the mixers and your guests' palates, that may be a good or bad thing
  4. if you mix equal quantities, the new alcohol level will be the average of the two

Disclosure: I currently have 12 gins, 3 vodkas, 8 tequilas/mezcals/reposados, 6 bourbons, 11 rums and 32 whiskies in my drinks cabinet. They are all so different, mixing them would be a huge waste.

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    This is a good answer. In mine, I assumed the OP had only basic spirits.
    – Eric S
    Jan 3 at 22:50

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