9 bottles (and some cherries) under $20

HOLIDAY GUIDE: A liquor store manager tells the best deals in booze for the house party circuit

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You may be cheap, but the host of your next holiday party will never know by your booze offering.

HOLIDAY GUIDE True party pros know how to work the holiday season without going broke. The rest of us needs tips from people in the know — a designation which Amanda Womack definitely falls under. Womack is a store manager at of one of the town's best liquor stores, Cask (17 Third St., SF. (415) 281-6486, www.caskstore.com), and she graciously gave us her top picks for cheap-o merrymaking. The list includes some quality cocktail berries that Womack assures us fly off the shelves this time of year.

St. George gins, 200ml for $9 "Choose from three different versions (Botanivore, Terroir, Dry Rye) of these gins, which are made in Alameda with many of their botanicals sourced locally from Northern California and Mt. Tam."

Reyka Icelandic Vodka, 750ml for $19 "This vodka is made from the purest Icelandic spring water in Borganes, and filtered through lava rock. It's great in cocktails or on the rocks."

Cocchi Americano, $19 "Similar to Lillet Blanc, this aperitif wine is herbaceous and softly sweet. It pairs wonderfully with food and is served chilled."

Jelinek Fernet, $19 "For the Fernet lover in your life — and there are many in SF — this is a great alternative brand that is mellowed out in flavor and mixes well in cocktails."

Meletti Amaro, $18 "Enjoy as a digestif after your holiday festivities. Meletti features notes of ginger, cinnamon, and saffron."

Weller Special Reserve Bourbon, $18 "If you're a Pappy Van Winkle fan, you'll love this whiskey from Buffalo Trace Distillery. It uses a similar wheat recipe, and is from the same supplier at a great price."

Johnny Drum Kentucky Straight Bourbon, $18 "A brand you don't see every day. At 80 proof this is an excellent bourbon for sipping neat."

Old Overholt Rye, $17 "A classic lightly spiced rye that's versatile in cocktails and great for sipping."

Bank Note Blended Scotch, $18 "Featuring a smoky flavor profile, this scotch makes excellent hot toddies."

Luxardo Marasca Cherries, $16 "To top off a perfect cocktail use these beautiful (and hard-to-find) Italian cherries."

 

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