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I’ve never been one to spend outrageous amounts of money, or even substantial amounts of money on something I don’t intend to use for a long time, but lately that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Call it a compulsion, or a quest for quality, or what have you, but lately money has been flowing into the cash registers of fine beverage purveyors across the Southland. BevMo!, Wally’s Wine, even quite a few trips to CVS (though these trips were gift-card fueled and focused of gift packs and cheaper, more readily available items). I’ve always been one to buy rare or hard-to-find items, and it seems with liquor it’s no exception. All of the “cheap stuff” I have, I’ve bought at CVS using mostly gift cards. They have been running a great deal as of late, bring in a new or transferred prescription and receive a $25 gift card that can be used on anything in the store. Having been sick recently, I stocked up a nice little pile of these cards, and since nothing at CVS is worth buying (at least at their regular prices) except for prescriptions and alcohol, I went on a tasting tour of their liquor section. Things that I had never tried, or used rarely, or I just thought were plain interesting, but in no way hard to find items, I got there. Jägermeister, the two varieties of Starbucks liqueurs, Southern Comfort (which I’ve developed a fondness for since trying it with Randy), etc. The second store I’ve been frequenting as of late is BevMo!. It all started with one mass purchase a little over a year and a half ago. They were running a deal online, save $10 on a purchase of $100 or more, or save $25 on a purchase of $200 or more. So I decided to go all in and snap up a bunch of liqueurs that I liked, or had heard of but never tasted, and were not readily available at the local grocery. This included banana schnapps, tequila liqueur, blue curacao and limoncello and orangcello of Italian origin. That raised a few eyebrows, given the large number of bottles in the shipment, but I explained it away as just wanting to try new things and getting a good deal, which of course, was true.

After that I had been watching a lot of DVDs on wine making, wine tasting and one particularly amusing DVD by John Cleese called Wine for the Confused, and afterwards, due to an interest in wine as well as several $25 gift card offers, I joined Wilfred Wong’s wine clubs through BevMo! and ended up with 18-20 bottles of his top low-price picks, and $75 worth of gift cards. So of course, I had to go spend those too. Each time I bought a few of this, and a few of that, mostly things that I had been wanting, or heard about on variouscocktail blogs . The only bad thing about having a gift card to BevMo! and being a cocktail nerd is that you never spend just the amount of the gift card. Each time I went with a $25 gift card in my pocket, I left with a bill of $180 - $200. Of course, I got a lot of things that I had really wanted to find, such as Gallardo, Noily Prat Vermouth to replace my Martini and Rossi, half a dozen bottles of bitters and finally some Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (thanks Torrance BevMo!).

You would probably think that after BevMo! I didn’t need to go anywhere else. But no, it didn’t even stop there. I was having trouble finding some Stroh 80 and found a lead online stating that Wally’s Wine and Spirits might have a bottle. So off I went, hoping to get there before they closed at 7:30 and wondering what else I would find there. I have to tell you, that place is amazing. Not only is their wine selection top notch (if a little pricey because they’re more a high-end specialty shop), but their spirits collection ranges from the mundane (Smirnoff anyone?) to the exotic (I finally found a bottle of Crème de Violette to make a proper Aviation!).

For a while after my trip to Wally’s, I thought I’d finally found enough, though I did go back to BevMo! a couple more times for some supplies. Then, my brother-in-law decides to take a trip to Paris. Paris! Well, to say what I’m sure you probably already guessed when I said Paris, I proved to a tee my favourite sign that you’re a cocktail snob. You know you’re a cocktail snob give your traveling friends detailed descriptions, pictures, and directions to specific liquor stores abroad when they ask if you want any souvenirs. Yes, I had to get some authentic Absinthe. So here we are, a week (and two nifty Absinthe spoons later) at the start of this new site, and a little introduction to what I’m all about when it comes to spirits. Next up, a list of what spirits I have.