Your Home Bar, Part V of V: The Proof Is in the John Collins

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of my home bar tutorial! This means you’ve got the ingredients, the tools, and the know-how to build your liquor cabinet and entertain imbibing guests — or just yourself! So now you can reap the rewards: HUGE SAVINGS! Plus nobody will throw you out of your own home for being wasted! I told you that you’d save money by drinking at home rather than at bars, so now I have to prove it. I’m going to list my favorite drinks, how I’d make them (cost will vary based on how strong you like your drinks and what liquor you use), what they’d cost on average at a bar without any kind of special promotion (e.g., happy hour) in effect and not including tip, what they’ll cost to make at home per drink, and how much you save (N.B. I had to do a lot of research and math to figure these out, so forgive me if any of these figures are a tad off):


Soon, this could be your life!

Whiskey sour: glassful of ice + 1 shot Jameson + sour mix

  • Bar: $8
  • Home: $0.95
  • You save: $7.05, or 88%

Cape Cod: glassful of ice + 1 shot well vodka + cranberry juice

  • Bar: $6
  • Home: $0.89
  • You save: $5.11, or 85%

Greyhound: glassful of ice + 2 shots well vodka + grapefruit juice

  • Bar: $6
  • Home: $0.90
  • You save: $5.10, or 79%

Gin and tonic: glassful of ice + 1 shot Tanqueray + tonic water

  • Bar: $9
  • Home: $2.07
  • You save: $6.93, or 85%

Pina colada: a shit-ton of ice + Mr. and Mrs. T’s Pina Colada Mix (high five for laziness!) + 1 shot Malibu (you’ll need a blender)

  • Bar: $10 (extra charge for inconveniencing the bartender)
  • Home: $2.27
  • You save: $7.73, or 77%

Martini: glassful of ice + 1 shot Tanqueray + a few drops of vermouth

  • Bar: $9
  • Home: $1.40
  • You save: $7.60, or 84%

Margarita: glassful of ice + salted rim + 2 shots well tequila + 1 shot triple sec + juice of 1 lime

  • Bar: $6
  • Home: $1.73
  • You save: $4.27, or 71%

Glass of cabernet sauvignon: 1 bottle of Charles Shaw wine

  • Bar: $6
  • Home: $0.50
  • You save: $5.50, or 92%

Shot of Wild Turkey: 1 bottle of Wild Turkey

  • Bar: $8
  • Home: $0.50
  • You save: $7.50, or 94%, plus any pride you have left

Now you are ready, young, alcoholic grasshopper, to unleash your mad mixology upon the world and drink more cheaply— and more often — than ever before! Good luck, drink responsibly, never drink and drive, and like that. Most important, have fun!

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A Magical Margarita Tour of New York

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet
through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism
to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she
has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis
, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving
to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an
online operative for such fine folks as , Neo-Factory, and
Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making,
dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she
wants is a margarita as big as her face.


  1. Tom - CHS '04
    May 6, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Excellent post series. I may have to try this home bar myself!