5 Essential Liquors

by Lindsey LaBelle, Staff Writer


Being a well-seasoned Madisonian requires one to sample a vast array of beverages. As college students, we try to be economical about our beverage consumption, but also enjoy mixing up the drink repertoire every now and then.

According to State Street Brats veteran bartender Travis Blomberg, maintaining a varied liquor cabinet is certainly not an impossible feat. Blomberg rattled off his top five liquor picks for a college student on a budget (who also wants their stash to taste better than lighter fluid) to have at home:

  • Smirnoff Vodka
  • Bacardi Light Rum (in the flavor of your choice)
  • Captain Morgan
  • Jack Daniels
  • New Amsterdam Gin

“These liquors are by far the most popular among college students and mix well with just about whatever you happen to have in your fridge,” says Blomberg. “If you’re feeling classy, it’s also nice to have a brandy on hand, but any guest that comes into your house is sure to be able to mix something if you have those five liquors.”

Some bartenders would suggest adding tequila to the list, but proceed with caution and remember these famous words: it always seems like a good idea at the time. Should you invite José Cuervo to the party, be sure to have plenty of limes and salt.

As far as mixers go, Blomberg says it’s essential to keep Diet Coke, a tart juice (like cranberry, grapefruit or lemonade), tonic water, and sour mix on hand. These are general crowd pleasers, and each has the ability to mask the liquor while ensuring even the manliest of men maintain their dignity.

Summer is fast approaching, and whether you’ll be catching up with old friends at home or hanging out on the Memorial Union terrace this summer, no social gathering is complete without a refreshing summer drink. In the spirit of the coming season, Madison students are sharing their favorite picks for a hot summer day:

The Bootlegger

  • 1 can lemonade concentrate
  • 1 can limeade concentrate
  • 1 liter club soda
  • 5-7 sprigs of fresh mint
  • Gin

Blend the limeade concentrate, lemonade concentrate and mint leaves. This mix will be very sweet, so you’ll only need to add one or two ounces to your glass. Pour over ice, a little club soda, and your desired amount of gin. Garnish with a mint sprig.

The Crazy Monkey

  • Starbucks Coffee Liquor
  • Cruzan Banana Rum
  • Chocolate or vanilla almond milk (any flavored milk will do)

Fill the blender with ice. Pour in three shots of banana rum and two shots of coffee liquor. Pour milk half way up the blender. Serve in a margarita glass.

The July Punch

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • 1 cup light beer (Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy works best)
  • 1 orange, lime, and lemon

Fill a pitcher with desired balance of vodka, lemonade and ginger ale. Top with beer. Cut wheels of orange, lime and lemon and let them float in the pitcher.

The Bay Breeze

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice

Mix well and serve over ice in a Collins or high ball glass.


MODA Magazine does not endorse underage or irresponsible drinking. This article is intended for informative dining purposes, and these drinks should be consumed in moderation.