sweet or dry

Dry or Sweet: What Makes Your Wine Taste

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Even if you don’t have a favorite wine that you consider your “go-to”, you likely prefer either dry wine or sweet wine. While there is a wine (or several) to fit just about every taste and preference out there, what gives the wines you love their signature dry and sweet qualities? Let’s talk about the difference between dry wines and sweet wines, and what makes wine taste the way it does.

What Makes a Wine Dry or Sweet?

How sweet or dry a wine is depends on the amount of residual sugar and the length of the fermentation process. Residual sugar comes from the natural sugars found in grapes and is left over after fermentation is complete. This natural grape sugar consists of both glucose and fructose. During the fermentation process, yeast “eats” these sugars, using them to form alcohol.

Winemakers stop the fermentation process to control both the flavor of the wine and the alcohol content it contains. If a winemaker stops fermentation before the majority of the sugar is consumed by the yeast, the result is a sweeter wine. Allowing the fermentation process to go on for a longer period consumes more sugar and results in a less sweet, or “dry” wine. In dry wines, alcohols and compounds called polyphenols interact with compounds in the mouth, causing an acidic or astringent sensation that covers most of the wine’s remaining sweet taste.

How Do You Know if a Wine Is Dry or Sweet?

Residual sugar is measured in grams/liter. Commercially sold wine is organized in 5 categories of sweetness based on the amount of residual sugar it contains:

  • Bone dry – 0-1g/liter
  • Dry – 0-17g/liter
  • Off Dry – 17-35 g/liter
  • Medium Sweet – 35-120g/liter
  • Sweet – 120+g/liter

Take a glance at the bottle to find any indication of sweetness listed above, or a numeric value for residual sugar.

Popular Wines in the Middle

Wines with more tannon pair well with fresh seafood, naturally sweet foods, or anything citrusy. Popular dry varieties sold at Payless Liquors include:

  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chablis
  • Riesling
  • Moselle
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel


By contrast, sweet wines pair particularly well with sweet foods (hence, dessert wines), but also with salty, savory, and spicy foods. Popular sweet wines sold at Payless Liquors include:

  • Riesling
  • Moscato
  • Port
  • Tokaji
  • Sauternes
  • Dolce
  • Madeira
  • Dessert wines
  • Sec
  • Late harvest wines


You’ll notice Riesling is on both the dry and the sweet list. In fact, any wine can have either taste depending on the individual choices of the winemaker. Riesling is a varietal that is quite often made using both sweet and dry production methods.

Whether you prefer a glass of dry wine or you’d rather sip something a little sweeter, there is truly a wine for everyone, whether you love the extremes or those in between. We suggest a wine tasting to try out several different dry whites and dry reds, then some sweeter wines of all colors. Wine tastings are a fun way to experiment with a variety of wines until you land on your favorite. Stop by and check out the extensive selection of dry and sweet wines at Payless Liquors. Or, take advantage of our pre-order and curbside pick-up options for a convenient and safe way to shop

green spot

Green Spot – A History of One of Ireland’s Last Bonded Whiskies

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Green Spot is the premier example of an Irish bonded whiskey. That is, it is a whiskey that is distilled by a single distiller for a single season and then aged for a specific amount of time controlled by law. Unfortunately, it is one of the last true bonded Irish whiskies, part of a family of whiskies that make up nearly the entirety of bonded Irish whiskies today. How Did Green Spot Come to Be?


It all started when the Mitchell family opened a bakery in the heart of Dublin in 1805. Called Mitchell & Son, the bakery soon gained a reputation as the place to go when you were on Grafton Street to get the finest teas, candies, cakes, and baked goods. However, as the years went by, Mitchell & Son decided to try their hands at other businesses and began importing wine. In those days, wine was imported in large, fortified casks and soon, the Mitchells realized that they would be the perfect containers to mature whiskey.


The Mitchell family sent these empty wine casks to a distillery called Jameson Distillery on horse-drawn carts. They were filled with whiskey and then returned to the Mitchells, where they were aged for many years under the cobbled streets of Dublin. Green Spot got its name when the family decided to mark barrels of whiskey meant to age for ten years with a spot of green paint. Now, Mitchell & Son produce four distinct whiskeys, including:


Green Spot

Today, Green Spot is still aged for 7 to 10 years in bourbon and sherry casks and distributed exclusively by Mitchell & Son. It is known for its spicy body with hints of fruit and topped off by a lingering barley flavor. Anyone who enjoys whiskey should make time for Green Spot— there’s a reason it’s been popular for well over a century.

Blue Spot

Just like Green Spot’s maturity time was marked with green paint, Blue Spot was marked with blue, indicating that it would be aged for no less than 7 years. This whiskey has a hint of tropical fruits, as well as vanilla and cinnamon. Tasting notes come from Blue Spot’s extensive aging in bourbon, sherry, and Madeira casks.

 Yellow Spot

Yellow Spot has an array of unique spices owing to pot-still production and aging in Malaga wine casks, as well as bourbon and sherry casks. These include nutmeg, red bell peppers, green tea, and clove oil as well as notes of honey. This is also a choice for a whiskey drinker who wants to experiment with more exotic and spicy flavors.

Red Spot

The top tier of the Mitchell & Son whiskey is Red Spot whiskey, which is aged over 15 years in bourbon, sherry, and Marsala wine casks. The care that goes into this whiskey is apparent in its taste, including hints of black cherries and baked apples. The long maturation time means that the fruits and spices have plenty of time to infuse perfectly with the whiskey.


At Payless Liquors, you can find all these Mitchell & Son whiskeys and more Irish, Scotch, Canadian, and American varieties, as well as whiskeys from all over the world. Browse our website to pre-order for pickup or stop into our store to discover why this whiskey has lasted for generations.

vintage cocktail

Vintage Cocktails To Make You Feel Nostalgic

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Throughout history, there have been plenty of cocktails that had their moment in the spotlight as the epitome of glamour. Unfortunately, most of them are rarely seen in bars and nightclubs today. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be recreated easily in the comfort of your own home. Learn more about four vintage cocktails and try out our recipes to get a taste of eras gone by.

Vintage Cocktail #1 – The Gin Gimlet

Legend has it that the gin gimlet was first created by British sailors trying to prevent scurvy, a condition that occurs when a person doesn’t get enough vitamin C. A sailor would have to make sure they drink plenty of orange or lime juice when on shore leave to keep their vitamin C levels. As the story goes, sailors realized that lime juice on its own was not very tasty, so they mixed it with gin, and the gin gimlet was born. The drink gained notable popularity in the 1920s due to Prohibition, since gin was a popular spirit that could be made discreetly at home. Sadly, the gin gimlet is not as common as it used to be. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make one for yourself. Here is a simple recipe: 2 oz gin 1 oz lime juice, fresh if possible ½ to 1 oz simple syrup to taste Combine all ingredients over ice in a shaker, then strain into a glass. Add a lime wedge to the side.

Vintage Cocktail #2 – The Sloe Gin Fizz

If you’re craving gin, there are more vintage cocktail options than just a gimlet. Made from gin infused with sloes, a red fruit related to the plum, the sloe gin fizz was popularized in the 1930s by the Roosevelt hotel in New Orleans and, later, in New York City. Although they’ve fallen out of fashion, you can make your own by following this simple recipe: 1 oz sloe gin 1 oz gin 1 to 1 ½ oz lemon juice, fresh if possible 1 teaspoon sugar or simple syrup 2 oz club soda Combine ice and the other ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Add more sweetener and lemon juice if preferred.

Vintage Cocktail #3 – The Brandy Alexander

From the early 1900s into the 1970s, the brandy alexander was an insanely popular drink.

No one knows exactly where it came from, but there are many legends that lay claim to its creation, from a royal wedding in London to a bartender in New York City named Troy Alexander. Whatever the origin of this once-popular drink, you can taste it for yourself with this simple recipe: 1 ½ oz cognac 1 oz dark crème de cacao 1 oz cream Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice. Serve with a pinch of nutmeg on the top.

Vintage Cocktail #4 – The Mamie Taylor

You may have never heard of a Mamie Taylor, but chances are that you are familiar with the  spiritual successor to this vintage cocktail, the Moscow Mule. Named after the actress Mayme Taylor (the bartender who created the drink may have had one too many Mamie Taylors themselves, because they spelled “Mayme” wrong), this popular drink is reminiscent of times gone by. Fortunately, you can try one with this easy recipe: 2 oz Scotch ¾ oz lime juice 4 oz ginger beer Add all ingredients in a glass over ice and stir.

Just because we’re well into the 21st century doesn’t mean we can’t try the drinks that defined previous generations. You can find all the ingredients you need at Payless Liquors. Browse our website and pre-order online or stop into one of our stores today and start recreating a little part of history.

Spring Beers

Refreshing Beer Varieties to Try This Spring

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Spring is here! When the snow begins to melt and grass starts to grow, it’s time to match the warmer season with the ideal drinks. Think about it — you’ve hung up your winter coat for the final time this season and put away your big sweaters, so why would you keep drinking the same beer you did all winter long? It’s time to say goodbye to the season of warm cocktails and heavy beers and lighten things up. Fortunately, there are many distinct types of beer that pair perfectly with the much milder spring weather. Here are some refreshing beer choices that will liven up any spring day.

Sour Beers

If you have never tried a sour beer before, spring is the perfect opportunity to start. In fact, spring is the season many breweries begin brewing these tasty beers with a bite. Don’t let the name “sour” dissuade you from trying out these unique beers, because they come in a variety of different strengths and flavor profiles, many with hints of fruits and berries. The exciting thing about sours is that they are fermented with wild bacteria and yeasts, giving the brew master all kinds of tools to work with when exploring new flavors.


While a very hoppy IPA may have kept you warm during frigid winter nights, now is a suitable time to try lighter, more flavorful varieties. An IPA flavored with berries or soft vanilla flavors evokes the sensation of the flowers and fruits and berries that are now beginning to grow. Meanwhile, a citrusy version can be a fresh approach to a warm weather favorite.

Blonde Ales

Springtime means spring break is here, a time when many people travel to warmer climates for some much-deserved vacation time. Fun in the sun often means you’ll want a lighter beer to stay hydrated, and a blond ale is just what you need. These golden beers are easy to drink and don’t feature strong malts or hops, perfect for a refreshing beach beverage.


If you’ve never heard of a Witbier, now is the time to give it a taste. Witbier is a Belgian-style beer that gets its name because of its hazy, whitish hue. Witbiers owe their color to the wheats and aromatics involved in the brewing process, and an orange peel adds the perfect touch to this coriander and citrus-forward beer. Witbiers may be lesser known than the other types of beer on this list, but that won’t be the case for long.

Hard Seltzers

This one might be breaking the rules a little bit. After all, hard seltzer is not exactly a beer. However, if you find yourself not in the mood for beer, chances are, you’ll find the perfect beverage in today’s ever-widening selection of fruit-flavored hard seltzers, teas, and lemonades. Hard seltzers are perfect for keeping you refreshed in the spring sun.

It’s been a long winter, but we’ve made it through, and now is the time to celebrate! Payless Liquors has the largest selection of beers in the Indianapolis area, many of them ideal for warm spring weather. Browse our website to pre-order or stop in to talk to our knowledgeable staff to pick out just the right beer to pair perfectly with the springtime sun.


What Irish People Really Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

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When you think about St. Patrick’s Day, your mind likely fills with ways you can celebrate with family, friends, and a few Irish drinks. Many Americans celebrate by dying beer green, or even with an Irish Car Bomb, a drink enjoyed by filling up a shot glass with whiskey and Irish Cream and dropping it into a glass of Guinness. While these drinks are a great time, they differ in many ways from what people traditionally drink in Ireland. If you want a more authentic St. Patrick’s Day experience, these are few of the drinks that will have you living the real Irish experience. Irish Coffee

What better way to start off St. Patrick’s Day than with a drink that will wake you up and get you in the right mindset for celebration? Good news: the Irish Coffee is a drink actually enjoyed by real Irish people. A traditional Irish Coffee results when you brew your favorite kind of coffee, mix it with a shot of Irish whiskey and top it with a bit of Irish Cream (usually Baileys). You have a long day ahead of you, so you might as well start it right.

Black and Black

A Black and Black is the perfect traditional drink for someone who enjoys Guinness but wants to add a little extra flavor to it. To make a Black and Black, you simply take a shot of blackcurrant juice and add it to your Guinness beer. For the unfamiliar, blackcurrant is a berry grown in Europe that looks a little bit like a grape. Blackcurrants are notoriously tart with delicious hints of raspberry and blackberry-like flavors. When you add this to your Guinness, be prepared for a drink that is a little bitter. However, it is also a very flavorful one that is definitely worth your time.

Dublin Mule

A Dublin Mule is a twist on the Moscow Mule (traditionally vodka, ginger beer, and lime) enjoyed the Irish way. The Irish prefer to use Jameson Irish whiskey in place of vodka, although it is fun to experiment and put your own twist on this Irish favorite. If you want to make your own, fill a copper mug with ice and add 2 oz Jameson. Top with ginger beer and add two dashes of bitters and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Irish Cider

The tradition of drinking hard cider in Ireland goes back a very long time. In fact, archeologists and historians have found evidence that people were enjoying fermented cider on the land that would become Ireland as far back as 5,000 years ago. Traditionally made with apples, the Irish have had plenty of time to perfect the art, and now craft ciders from multiple different fruits. Any respectable Irish pub has more than one brand of hard cider on draft.


If your idea of St. Patrick’s Day includes a pint of Guinness, you have the right idea. When you want to live it up like a true Irish person, you can’t go wrong with this Irish classic. Originating in 1759 in a small Dublin brewery, there’s a reason this dark, dry stout has been around so long.

St. Patrick’s Day With Payless Liquors

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Holiday the way it was meant to be celebrated! Whether you want to try something new, or are craving a classic Guinness, Payless Liquors has a huge selection of beverages in the Irish style. Pre-order online, or stop in and browse to prepare for this fun, boozy holiday.


Sazerac – America’s Oldest Cocktail

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Few cocktails feature a history as varied and intriguing as the Sazerac, widely regarded as the world’s oldest cocktail. According to legend, the Sazerac was invented in 1838 by a Creole apothecary named Antoine Peychaud in his shop on Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. He originally provided this drink after business hours to his fellow Masons by serving it in an egg cup, also referred to as a coquetier. This is often considered the source of the word “cocktail.” Peychaud named his drink after his favorite French cognac, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils from Limoges, France, a popular choice among the Creole community during the 19th century.

Sazerac Through the Centuries

Over time, the recipe changed throughout New Orleans, and bartenders began substituting rye whisky for the cognac as the result of the phylloxera epidemic decimating most European vineyards. Sources claim that in 1873, famous bartender Leon Lamothe changed the Sazerac forever by adding a splash of absinthe, a licorice-flavored high-proof spirit known as the Green Fairy for its characteristic green color. Absinthe is made from green anise, sweet fennel, and Artemisia absinthium, or grande wormwood. Grande wormwood contains the substance thujone, which is considered responsible for producing hallucinogenic effects—although the modern US market strictly regulates thujone levels.

Peychaud’s favorite cognac lends its name to the Sazerac House, a famous drinking establishment in New Orleans that served as the social center of the city. Founded in 1850, it quickly became the premier spot for cultured New Orleanians to drink, play cards, and discuss business matters. By 1957, the popularity of the Sazerac cocktail led Peychaud to purchase an ad in the local paper promoting his line of bitters and informing readers of its availability at the Sazerac House and other leading “coffee houses” within the city. In 1903, the Washington Post reported on “the spectacle of the immortal Sazerac,” and today, it is the official drink of New Orleans.

How to Make a Sazerac

Check out this recipe from our friends at My Kitchen for the perfect Sazerac:

1. Muddle two sugar cubes, two dashes of Peychaud’s aromatic bitters, and two dashes of orange bitters in a shaker glass.

2. Add 2 oz of your favorite whiskey to the shaker and stir gently.

3. Place two ice cubes in the shaker and continue stirring the mixture until chilled.

4. Coat the inside of two chilled rocks glasses with ¼ oz absinthe, swirling to evenly cover the glass, then discard the absinthe.

5. Rim the rocks glasses with lemon zest, pour the mixture into the glasses, and enjoy.

Visit Us for Everything You Need to Make the World’s Oldest Drink

If you’re ready to find out first-hand why the Sazerac holds the title of the world’s oldest drink, visit Payless Liquors today to pick up all the necessary supplies to make this beloved cocktail.

Our experienced staff can help you choose the right whiskey from our extensive selection, so your Sazerac turns out just the way you want. We even offer convenient online ordering for curbside pickup. Complete your order today by calling us at (317) 784-9105 or submitting the form on our website.

ready-to-drink cocktails

The Best Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

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Everyone loves a delicious cocktail, but many of us rarely have the time or skill needed to prepare our favorite drinks like a master bartender. Whether hosting a party or simply enjoying a relaxing drink after a long day of work, ready-to-drink cocktails are here to save the day. With prepared cocktails, you don’t need to buy an extensive collection of liquors or source rare ingredients that will expire before you have the chance to use them. These products allow you to avoid the hassle of muddling, straining, and shaking while offering the same impressive flavor you can expect from a professionally crafted cocktail.

If you’re interested in experimenting with prepared cocktails, check out the list below of the most popular, highest rated options available, then visit Payless Liquors today to pick up one of these tasty treats!

1. Bacardi Mai Tai – This ready-to-drink cocktail features Bacardi rum distilled in Puerto Rico mixed with exotic fruit flavors. Purchase a few 1.75-liter bottles of this delectable concoction, and you’ll be totally prepared for your next impromptu get-together.

2. Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktail – For a new, refreshing spin on your favorite whiskey, these cocktails can be enjoyed right from the bottle. With flavors like Berry Punch, Jack Apple, Lynchburg Lemonade, and Southern Peach, the only difficult part will be selecting which one to try first.

3. Jack Daniel’s & Cola – This prepared cocktail takes the guesswork out of measuring the right portions of whiskey to Coke, leaving you with the perfect mix every time. Along with the regular version, the company also carries versions with Diet Coke or Ginger.

4. Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita – When you want to relax on the beach and enjoy the best cocktails with the least amount of effort, check out these expertly mixed classics. Jose Cuervo is the most popular name in tequila for good reason, and these smooth cocktails offer the tartness we love in margaritas without the syrupy texture found in most pre-made mixes.

5. Kahlua Mudslide – Combining Kahlua with chocolate, vanilla, and buttery caramel, this creamy, decadent ready-to-drink cocktail is best enjoyed with hot coffee or chocolate ice cream for a boozy milkshake.

6. Smirnoff Grand Cosmo – This prepared cocktail mixes Smirnoff No 21, the world’s top preferred vodka, with cranberry juice, triple sec, and a splash of lime. Simply pour over ice and enjoy.

7. White Claw Hard Seltzer – Our list concludes with a brand that has taken the market by storm, Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw Hard Seltzer. In the three years since its initial release, sales of this extremely popular drink have increased exponentially, from less than half a million cases sold in 2016 to a whopping 27.5 million cases sold in 2019. Consider it a fresh alternative to mixing your own liquor and flavored seltzer or sodas.

Transform Your Home Bar with Our Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

Ensure your next cocktail hour is as easy, simple, and carefree as possible with prepared cocktails from Payless Liquors. We carry a wide selection of the most beloved ready-to-make cocktails to suit even the most discerning tastes, and our knowledgeable staff can assist you in selecting the right variety for you. Contact us today by calling (317) 784-9105 or filling out the form on our website.

indiana skyline

Indiana Spirit: The Cocktails That Shape Us

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If you’ve ever bartended, you realize that you can know a lot about a person through their drink choices. What a person drinks can often be a window into their personality. On a larger scale, you can learn a lot about the culture of a state through its official and unofficial cocktail choices. The beautiful state of Indiana is no exception. From mixes worthy of a wild weekend to a casual elevated dinner, the spirits that shape us give the wider country a peek into who we are.

Let’s Talk Jägermeister

That’s right: In Indiana, we love our Jägermeister. This liquor has a distinct black licorice taste, but even someone who isn’t a fan of that specific taste can fall in love with a well-blended cocktail that uses Jager as its base.

You would find it near impossible to enter a bar on a weekend and not hear someone order a Jäger bomb. This shot goes down smooth but can sneak up on you! With a mix of Jäger and energy drink, you’ll be shaping up for a great night out. Not a fan of energy drinks? A Jäger barrel replaces the energy drink with root beer.

Jägermeister is great for more than just shots. Jager can be implemented in many great cocktails if you are more of a sipper. This liquor is extremely versatile, and in Indiana, we know how to utilize it.

Hoosier Heritage Is a Must

If you’re new to Indiana, ordering yourself a Hoosier Heritage is a must. This “unofficial” state drink was created and adopted in 2015. This cocktail was created by Jason Foust for a contest held by the Indiana State Museum.

The base of this amazing cocktail is Knob Creek Whiskey, a nod in honor of Abraham Lincoln, who moved to Indiana in 1816 from Knob Creek Farm. With a simple yet potent mix of maple syrup, lemon juice, and apple cider, this cocktail is the perfect blend of caramel and spice.

Indiana Loves a Good Mojito

Who doesn’t love a good Mojito? The people of Indiana sure do. While the roots of the Mojito stem from Cuba, the love of this refreshing summer beverage courses through this state.

Traditionally concocted with white rum, mint, simple syrup, lime, and soda water, this beverage is at the top of most summer menus. The varieties of this classic cocktail are endless, and adding a fruity flavor comes highly recommended.

Try a Taste of Indiana at Payless Liquors

No matter what you choose to do in Indiana, you’re going to have a great time. While taking in the sights and attractions and dining in our fantastic restaurants, don’t forget to sip on a beverage that gives you a glimpse into our personality. If you’re ready to try a taste of Indiana, Payless Liquors has a huge selection of everything you’ll need to enjoy our state’s favorites of this state. Check out our website and use our 5-star rating guide to help you create your next masterpiece. Cheers!

obscure cocktails

Obscure Cocktails to Try This Winter: Drink Up to Warm Up

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Winter is the best time (and the best excuse) to experiment with fun new obscure cocktails. It’s cold, it’s dark, and odds are you’re going to be wrapped up in a blanket contemplating something good to sip on. While there are plenty of classic cocktails to choose from, there is something exciting about trying something new: experimenting with mixers, liquors, portion sizes, and garnishes is all part of the fun.

If you’re ready to spice up your cold nights with a few cocktails out of the ordinary, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our list of fun, obscure cocktails to bring some pizazz to the drab days of winter.

The Sidecar

The sidecar is an old classic with an origin story dating back to WW1, but it isn’t seen on your standard drink menu much anymore. This cocktail will have you feeling fancy all hours of the day. With the simple recipe of cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice, you can’t go wrong. It is a perfect blend of sweet and sour that will have you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

French 75

This drink should be on every brunch menu! A simplistic drink that packs a punch? Sign me up. This classic drink consists of gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne (move over mimosa). This cocktail is a must for any occasion that calls for bubbly.

The Horsefeather

If you’re a mule fan, this cocktail is a must. A Kansas City staple, this tasty beverage deserves to be in glasses all around the nation. All you need for this amazing refreshment is rye whiskey, ginger beer, bitters, and lemon juice. Bold with a light kick of spice, this will fight off any winter chills with ease.

Now for the Most Obscure

An obscure cocktail list wouldn’t be complete without some, well, obscure cocktails. While these last few suggestions may seem a bit out of the ordinary, that’s the fun of this whole process. If you’re really ready for some experimenting, these final two beverages are exactly what you need.

Beer, Bourbon, and Barbeque

You read that correctly: BBQ. The great thing about mixers is that they can be more than just soda, tonic, and fruit juices. For this exceptionally obscure beverage, you need Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, Makers Mark, Evan Williams Honey liqueur, hefeweizen beer, and a bit of orange juice. Nothing like a little bit of everything all in one glass.

The Bone

You know that little rush you can get from your first sip of a cocktail? This drink guarantees to give you that feeling every time. With a simple mixture of Wild Turkey bourbon, lime juice, simple syrup, and tabasco, you’ll completely forget that it’s winter outside.

Ditch the Winter Blues With an Obscure Cocktail

Winter can feel like it will never end, but these cocktails will hopefully ease the day-to-day monotony. Choose your favorite beverage and get ready to hunker down. Payless Liquors has a huge selection of everything you’ll need to jump into the obscure. Check out our website and use our 5-star rating guide to help you create your next masterpiece. Cheers!

The Secret to Pairing Wine

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If you’re a wine lover, one of the most exciting parts of a dinner out can be trying a new dish and sampling a few ideal wines chosen specifically for the way they enhance the flavor of the food. Unfortunately, when you’re cooking at home, you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated sommelier to help you choose the right wine for the food you’ve made. However, these basic guidelines will help you achieve similar results on your own.

Step 1—Find the Basic Taste Components


While there are many different taste components found in food and wine, you only need to focus on the six most basic when it comes to pairing the two:


  • Food contains components of acid, fat, salt, sweet, bitter, and spice. Identify the tastes in your dish and simplify it to the two or three most dominant. For example, pasta with sausage and red sauce has strong fat, acid, and spice components, while a green salad with shrimp has acid, bitter, and fat components.
  • Wine contains just three components of acid, sweet, and bitter. Red wines tend to be more bitter, while whites have more acidity. Meanwhile, sweet wines have dominating sweet components.


In addition, you’ll need to consider intensity. Is your food light in intensity, very rich in fats, or high in acids? Are the wines you have on hand light in body, very acidic, or high in tannins and bitterness?


Step 2—Determine if You Want a Complementary or Congruent Pairing


Complementary pairings consider your food’s different flavor components and play against them with contrasting components of the wine. Congruent pairings play up the flavor components of your food with similar components in the wine. Both balance the food and wine on the palate, just in different ways.

For example, a high-acid white wine is a complementary pairing for a rich, cheesy dish like a grilled cheese sandwich or pasta with hollandaise or alfredo because the acid balances out the salt and fat. A congruent pairing for the same dish would be a much creamier white wine like a chardonnay. In general, red wines are more likely to create congruent pairings, while whites create complementary pairings.

Step 3—Use Our Cheat Sheet


If you have your doubts about the complementary and congruent flavors among your dishes and the wines you have to choose from, this quick cheat sheet can help you decide. In general:


  • Choose a wine that is sweeter and more acidic than the food
  • Choose a wine with a similar flavor intensity as your food
  • Pair wines based on the flavors of the sauce versus the meat or pasta
  • Absent a sauce, try these general meat/wine rules:


  • Red wines pair well with boldly seasoned red meats
  • White wines pair well with fish or chicken


The best part about wine pairing, however, is the freedom you have to break the rules. If your favorite wine is a bitter, high-tannin Cabernet Sauvignon, pairing it with a delicate seafood dish is completely acceptable so long as you enjoy it. For more information about the many varietals of wine, you can find at Payless Liquors, ask one of our trained staff. Alternatively, reserve your favorite bottle today via our online order form.






A Beginners Guide to Whiskey

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The “world of whiskey” isn’t just a way to describe the sheer diversity of this spirit—it’s a nod to the fact that whiskey is produced in different ways around the world and even across the United States. However, the secret to enjoying a glass of whiskey is usually as simple as understanding exactly what you like. We’ll help you get a solid start by learning more about what makes them all unique in the first place.

These major types make up the vast majority of the whiskey you’ll find on the shelves of your local liquor store:

Bourbon. This whiskey is one of the most popular spirits in the US, and for a good reason. However, there are rules surrounding bourbon whiskey—to be considered a bourbon, a whiskey must be produced in America from at least 51% corn mash, aged in a new oak barrel, and bottled at least 80 proof. Bourbons are usually smoother and sweeter than other types of whiskey and can feature vanilla or caramel notes.

Tennessee whiskey. Tennessee whiskeys like Jack Daniels and other big names in whiskey often qualify as bourbons under the strict whiskey laws. However, Tennessee whiskey must also undergo charcoal filtration according to the “Lincoln County Process” before cask aging occurs.

American whiskey. If a whiskey produced in America doesn’t qualify as a bourbon or Tennessee whiskey, it is likely produced using a blend of the two processes—or even a blend of multiple whiskey types. As a result, the characteristics of American whiskeys can vary wildly from brand to brand.

Irish whiskey. Smooth in character, Irish whiskey is ideal for mixing, sipping on the rocks, or even neat. The process involves a mash of unmalted barley, triple distillation using only mash, water, and caramel coloring, and aging in wooden casks for at least three years.

Scotch whisky. Scotch whisky (note the missing E) is usually referred to simply as “Scotch” and must undergo a very specific process dictated by Scottish law. It must be made in Scotland with malted barley and other grains, dried with peat moss smoke, and distilled in a copper still. Scotch is aged in oak barrels for at least three years and must be accompanied by an age statement so the drinker can characterize the whisky. Most Scotch is sipped on the rocks or neat.

Canadian whisky. Similar to Scotch, Canadian whisky must age in barrels for at least three years. Due to a relatively high corn or rye content, however, many Canadian whiskies taste similar to American whiskeys and bourbons; others utilize wheat or barley. Most are suitable for sipping or mixing,

Japanese whisky. One of the newest participants in the world of whiskey, Japan has begun crafting some excellent spirits in recent years. The country holds exceptionally high standards for all the whiskies it creates and has modeled its processes on the Scottish method of producing Scotch whisky. Not quite as complex as Scotch, but not as sweet as bourbon, Japanese whisky is an ideal whisky to sip or mix in cocktails of your choice.

Whether you prefer a sweeter bourbon produced right here in America or a nuanced Scotch crafted painstakingly over peat smoke, you’ll find quality examples of all the above varieties at your nearest Payless Liquors. Stop by and ask for a recommendation from one of our friendly sales staff, or reserve a bottle of the whiskey that’s right for you.


How To Choose And Enjoy A Good Whisky

Whisky beginners don’t fear – here’s how to pick the best whiskies to start

9 Types of Whiskey You Really Need to Know


Coffee Cocktails

4 Best Coffee Cocktails

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Depending on who you ask, the “right way” to drink coffee varies by country, by culture, and can even be wildly different within each household. Whether your preferences are light or dark roast, espresso or machine drip, black or with as much creamer as possible, we’d like to present our take on the “right way” to drink coffee—with a healthy dose of spirits in coffee cocktails.

Best Coffee Cocktails


The coffee cocktail offers an ideal start to any evening out, with the perfect blend of caffeine and booze. Similarly, the right coffee cocktail can provide additional warmth to a weekend morning in, with just the right kick to start your day. This list of our favorites provides a variety of ways to imbibe in your preferred coffee and some choice spirits all at once:


  1. The Perfect Irish Coffee. While many people pour a shot of whiskey into a steaming hot mug of coffee and call it an Irish, you’ll need a couple of extra steps to make this drink in the traditional fashion. You’ll need:


  • 1 cup prepared coffee
  • 2 oz. Jameson Irish whiskey
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Chocolate shavings


Start by pouring hot water into two mugs to warm them, and let them sit for two minutes. Pour out the water and add a teaspoon of brown sugar to each. Pour hot coffee over the sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Add whiskey and stir to mix. In a separate bowl, whisk heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Pour-over coffee and top with chocolate shavings.

  1. Siciliano. Forget coffee-flavored liqueur and cream in a stemmed glass—this “coffee martini” comes with far fewer frills and even more boozy flavor. You’ll need:


  • 2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1½ oz. Amaro (Campari or Averna work quite well)
  • 1½ oz. cold-brewed espresso (strong)
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • Orange wheel for garnish


Pour Amaro, vermouth, cold-brew, and simple syrup into a tall glass. Add ice until filled, and top with club soda. Strain into a stemmed martini glass or enjoy over ice.


  1. Coffee Old-Fashioned. This twist on an American staple gives you the warmth of whiskey and the buzz of espresso, all in one glass. You’ll need:


  • 2 oz. espresso (room temperature or cooler)
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • Dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • Lemon peel


Add espresso, bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and pour over ice in a rocks glass. Twist lemon peel over the drink, rub around the glass rim, and use as a garnish.


Other Coffee Cocktails


You may have noticed a lack of some of the most popular coffee-flavored drinks on our list, including the White Russian and the Colorado Bulldog. Kahlua—the coffee element in both of these drinks—is made by combining Arabica coffee with sugar, vanilla, and rum. The caffeine contents are negligible compared to using coffee itself (5 mg versus up to 200 in a cup of coffee). Therefore, we’ve kept our list to our favorite buzzy and boozy cocktails that include full-fledged coffee.

Need help finding some of the items mentioned in these recipes? Simply place an advance order online, or call ahead to inquire about our stock at your nearest Payless Liquor location. We look forward to serving you.







winter cocktail ingredients

How to Stock Your Liquor Cabinet for Winter Cocktails

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When it’s bone-chillingly cold outside, there’s nothing better than curling up beside the fire with the perfect soul-warming drink. For some, a simple mug of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate will do. However, for the cocktail aficionado, the ideal winter drink likely includes a generous helping of spirits and some cold weather-friendly mixers.

Since the best place to enjoy a few winter cocktails is in the warm and cozy comfort of your own home, you’ll need to put some thought into stocking your home bar for cold-weather drinks. However, unless you aim to build a fully stocked bar that rivals your favorite cocktail hub, there’s no reason to rush out and buy dozens of liqueurs, cordials, and mixers. Make a brief list of your favorite winter cocktails, browse our suggestions below, and use our checklist to build your winter stock list, customized to your tastes.

Popular Winter Cocktails

When it’s cold outside, you want a cocktail that will warm you from the inside—whether that warmth is due to a cozy-hot mixer or the delightful heat of a stiff liquor is up to you. Depending on your tastes, multiple winter cocktails could fit the bill, but these are the most common:

  • Spiced apple ciders, spiked with a generous helping of whiskey, bourbon, or cinnamon schnapps, and winter spices like cinnamon, anise, cloves, and more
  • Mulled wines, infused with those same winter spices
  • Adult hot chocolate, which can be spiked with whiskey or any wintery schnapps like peppermint or cinnamon
  • Hot coffee drinks, including Irish coffee bolstered by whiskey, or even a simple Irish cream and coffee
  • Hot buttered rum, featuring spiced rum topped with butter, sugar, and cinnamon
  • Hot toddies, crafted from whiskey, honey, and lemon juice
  • Old-fashioneds, featuring bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange peel, and sugar
  • Whiskey sours, including your favorite bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and a cherry
  • Martinis, either gin or bourbon, with your choice of vermouth and a lemon peel or olive


What You’ll Need to Stock Your Bar


The best thing about winter cocktails is that the sheer diversity in taste we’ve listed above can be built on a base of just a few spirits, as well as a few ingredients you’re likely to find in your kitchen during the winter months. Use this checklist (ordered from most to least critical) to develop your personalized winter bar stocking shopping list:

  • Whiskeys—you’ll find whiskey in a number of the above cocktails, and it proves a warming drink all on its own. Start with:


  • Kentucky bourbon
  • Irish whiskey
  • Tennessee whiskey


  • Gin—the piney aroma is perfect for the cold season and can be substituted for whiskey in sours and martinis
  • Spiced rum
  • Schnapps to add that flavorful kick to cocoas, coffees, and ciders. Consider:


  • Cinnamon schnapps
  • Peppermint schnapps


  • Irish cream liqueur
  • Red wine for mulling
  • Angostura bitters
  • Dry and sweet vermouth, for martinis and Manhattans
  • Apple juice or cider
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Lemons, Lemon juice, Oranges
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon sticks and Cloves
  • White and brown sugar
  • Butter


Of course, you may need additional or fewer items as your tastes dictate—there’s no point in stocking your home bar with bottles you’ll never use, and if you enjoy a nice Mai Tai in the dead of winter, we’re not here to tell you you’re wrong. However, the above list will give you a great start and allow you to prepare each of the most popular winter cocktails in the comfort of your home bar. For more recipes, bar stocking suggestions, and insight into what’s new at Payless Liquors, check out our blog and five-star rating guide.