Tempered Spirits

Homemade Cocktails — Experiments, Critiques & Travels

Liquor Stores

Atlanta & Georgia

Mac’s Beer & Wine (Midtown Atlanta):

  • Excellent selection, with a large number of spirits in all categories, including some hard-to-find items (especially rum & gin).
  • Notable Finds:
    • Gin & Genever: Ransom Old Tom, Mayfair London Dry Gin, Knickerbocker, Bols
    • Brandy: Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac, Les Domaines Grassa Armagnac; Daron, Chardon, Busnel Calvados
    • Rum: Richland Rum, Smith & Cross, Scarlet Ibis, Lemon Hart 151
    • Agave Spirits: Mescal Los Nahuales
    • Bitters: Bittercube Bitters and Bittermen’s are available here, though it’s cheaper to buy the bulk pack of Bittercube directly from their site.
    • Liqueurs: Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Rothman & Winter Apricot and Violette, St. George Absinthe. No Plymouth Sloe Gin, that I know of.
    • Vermouth & Aperitif Wines: Byrrh, Cocchi Americano, Bonal, Barolo Chinato, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Carpano Antica, Dolin, Martini — everything you’d need.
    • Excellent port selection, including Kopke.
  • Long, long ago (i.e. 2004-2005), Van Winkle bourbons were sitting, untouched, on the top shelf in the whiskey section, back before the craze started. I’m sitting here kicking myself, wondering why I never bought a bottle (or three) — I’m guessing it’s because I couldn’t afford it at the time. I’ve been informed that the waiting list is 2 years long and 60 people deep. Good luck.
  • They’ve beefed up their choices by an insane amount in the past few years. Great location, as well. The best liquor store in Midtown. However, they pass on their debit/credit card fees to the customer, so be prepared to pay a couple bucks extra unless you use cash.

Last Visit: April 13, 2013

Toco Hills Giant (North Druid Hills):

  • Excellent selection, and I mean excellent. It looks a bit dumpy, and is stuffed to the brim with bottles inside, but they have a number of things that even Mac’s and H&F don’t carry.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy! The only place I know of in Atlanta that stocks it regularly!
    • Whiskey: Great selection.
    • Gin: Selection is excellent, with options unseen elsewhere. Blade & Rusty Blade, Greylock, Ethereal, Rehorst, Botanist, Caorunn, Smalls, Magellan, Cold River, all St. George Gins
    • Rum: They carry a few rums I’m unfamiliar with or haven’t seen elsewhere (no Rhum Clémént, but they do have Rhum Neisson). Lemon Hart 151 now available.
    • Brandy: Nice grappas available (Poli).
    • Tequila & Mezcal: Del Maguey and Espolon found here.
    • Liqueurs: Bitter Truth (everything but the bitters), Marie Brizard, Créme Yvette, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, Leopold Bros. (but not their absinthe), Combier, Combier Royale, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.
    • Fortified Wines: Dolin, Vya, Carpano Antica, Punt e Mes, Cocchi Americano and Vermouth di Torino.
    • Amari: Nonino, Ciociaro, Meletti.
  • Wine occupies the entire second half of the store, and their selection of sherry, port, and madeira is very good (quite a few Lustau sherries on hand).
  • Don’t bother with the Velvet Falernum: cloudy and growing (go to Pop’s or H&F instead).

Last Visit: March 22, 2013

Green’s Discount Beverage Store (Ponce and Buford Highway):

  • Good selection, particularly for gins.
  • Most importantly, however, they stock Dolin vermouth (though I’ll have to double-check for the Blanc). Also, they carry the Holy-Of-Holies, Plymouth Sloe Gin (at least, at the Ponce location)!

Tower Wine & Spirits (Doraville, Atlanta):

  • Good selection.
  • Plymouth Sloe Gin found here once (a happy day), though it doesn’t seem to be stocked regularly anymore. Jefferson’s Straight Rye Whiskey and Ransom Old Tom Gin, Leopold’s Gin, and Boomsma Genever available here. Gin selection almost matches Mac’s in Midtown. Rum selection is a bit lacking. Yellow Chatreuse can be found here. I haven’t seen Carpano Antica vermouth here, despite what Atlanta magazine has said.

Pop’s Wine & Spirits (Suwanee-John’s Creek-Duluth Area):

  • Very good to excellent selection, spectacular customer service. Requests & special orders, by phone, e-mail, or in-person, are no problem. If they don’t have it, they’re willing to have a go at tracking it down for you (order before Thursday night: it’s when they re-stock!).
  • Notable Finds:
    • Whiskey: 13th Colony Corn & Rye, Templeton Rye; nice Bourbon and Scotch selections
    • Gin: Plymouth, Boomsma Genever, Old Raj, Death’s Door
    • Aquavit: Linie, Aalborg, Krogstad
    • Brandy: Daron, Boulard, and Busnel Calvados; cognac selection is average; no armagnac; Spanish Brandy occasionally; Laird’s Old Apple Brandy.
    • Tequila: El Tesoro
    • Liqueurs: Marie Brizard triple sec, peach, creme de menthe, parfait amour; St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Maraschino liqueur now in stock!
    • Amari: CioCiaro, Ramazotti, Averna
  • Excellent wine selection, with a separate section for Georgia wines like Frogtown and Wolf Mountain.
  • Semi-out-of-the-way location.

Last Visit: June 7, 2013

Duluth Fine Wine & Spirit Superstore (Duluth):

  • Very good selection, but with limited amounts in stock.
  • Rhum Clément found here (I bought the last two bottles). Plymouth and Luxardo maraschino liqueur can be found here; yellow chartreuse makes an occasional appearance; no Sazerac Rye on October 23, 2012 but the remaining whiskey selection is good; always has a nice tequila selection, though no quality mezcal.
  • Visit Pop’s for way better service and slightly better products; visit Johns Creek Beverage for better selection in the brandy department .
  • Semi-out-of-the-way.

Last Visit: January 18, 2013

Johns Creek Beverage (Suwanee, Shakerag Shopping Center, Mcginnis Ferry Rd):

  • Very good liquor selection for a compact store. Not sure about the beer/wine selection.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Rittenhouse Rye found here for $17!
    • Whiskey: Belle Meade Tennessee Bourbon, American Spirits Whiskey (locally made, Atlanta/Athens/Charleston). No Sazerac Rye.
    • Gin: Aviation, Plymouth, G’Vine Floraisson, Mayfair
    • Brandy: Busnel Vielle Reserve VSOP Calvados, one or two Armaganacs, Camus VSOP Cognac.
    • Rhum Clément — white, VSOP, and Creole Shrubb!
    • Liqueurs: Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
    • Good selection of ports (Noval Black Porto) compared to other area stores.

Last Visit: April 18, 2013

Suwanee Beverage Superstore (Suwanee):

  • Very good selection, particularly with imports, liqueurs, and brandies. They also have a wine-tasting room, and their wine gurus know their stuff and are full of advice. Beer tastings are also held here.
  • Decent range of port and Madeira available, though no Kopke or Lustau (well, one or two) in stock.
  • No Sazerac Rye, but the whiskey selection is very good. No Plymouth Gin (!?), but Death’s Door Gin can be found here.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Brandy: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Camus V.S.O.P., Ivy Mountain Apple Brandy, Laird’s Old Apple Brandy
    • Whiskey: Ivy Mountain Sour Mash, Russell’s Reserve Rye
    • Liqueurs: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, Becherovka, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.
  • Convenient location — the Lauer family go-to store.

Last Visit: April, 2013

Five Points Bottle Shop (Athens):

  • Excellent selection! They have an up-to-date online catalog and pre-ordering system, convenient for browsing and purchasing. They carry a number of items regularly unavailable in Gwinnett stores.
  • Plymouth Sloe Gin (WOO-HOO!) obtained here. I begged, and they shipped to me, but that was likely a one-time deal.
  • Two locations in Athens, which I rarely visit.

Total Wine & More (Alpharetta):

  • Very good liquor selection.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Whiskey: Great selection — includes many small-batch American whiskies. Whipper Snapper, Chestnut Farms Bourbon, Tuthilltown (Hudson Rye & Bourbon). Pendleton 1910 Rye and Masterson’s 10-year Rye (both Canadian). Sazerac & Russell’s Reserve Rye when in-season (none in November).
    • Gin: Impressive range, particularly American and British small-batch gins. Cardinal American Dry, 50-Pounds, Bellringer, Rogue Spirits Pink Spruce  Ethereal, Grey Brick, Greenall’s Bloom, Greenall’s, Darnley’s View, Nolet’s, Small’s American Dry, Junipero, Plymouth.
    • Brandy: Surprising number of calvados bottles — Beneroy XO, Fine & VSOP, Domaine Dupont Hors d’Age. High-end cognacs, little or no Armagnac, Clear Creek Apple Brandy (2 year), Poli Family Grappa, Germain-Robin California Brandy
    • Rum: St. James Rhum Agricole Ambre
    • Tequila/Mezcal: Siete Leguas, all ages — only place in Atlanta that I’ve seen it.
    • Fortified Wines:  Dolin and Carpano Antica
    • Liqueurs: ROOT an SNAP Liqueur, Leopold Bros., Luxardo Maraschino, Rothman & Winter. Larger range of absinthe than most stores, but none of the high-end ones.
    • Dessert Wine: impressive range of ports, but visit the Perimeter location for a wider range of sherry and things like sauternes.

Last Visit: May 13, 2013

Total Wine & More (Perimeter):

  • Shockingly massive selection of wines (what would you expect with a name like Total Wine?) and hard-to-find craft beer. Good selection of port, madeira, sherry, and sauternes. They carry Crispin hard cider, all varieties! No liquor at the Perimeter location.

H&F Bottle Shop:

  • It’s in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, and worth the trip — a cocktail geek’s paradise. They stock everything used at the bar, and it’s an very good selection. Greg Best, the head bartender, is often in-store.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Bitters: Amargo Chuncho Peruvian, Bitter Truth, Bittermens.
    • Vermouth & Aperitif Wines: Byrrh, Cocchi Americano, Bonal, Barolo Chinato, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Carpano Antica, Dolin, Martini, Cinzano, Noilly Prat, Lillet (including Rosé), Imbue Petal & Thorn — everything you’d need.
    • Liqueurs: Breckenridge Bitters, Luxardo (all products), Leopold Bros. (most of the lineup), Casoni 1814 Aperitivo, Breckenridge Bitters, Tempus Fugit (most products), Génépy des Alpes
    • Agave Spirits: Findencio Mezcal, Del Maguey Mezcal
  • Other stores — Toco Hills Giant and Total Wine Alpharetta — have larger, more varied selections, but H&F has whittled down their selection to the more unique European products and small-batch liquors.
  • There is plenty of bar equipment and appropriately-sized glassware, along with a wine selection that I haven’t delved into (but about which the staff is very knowledgeable) as well as local beers. They often sell “cocktail kits,” or packages of spirits that can be used to make a specific drink, as well as a “bar basics” kit that includes all of your necessary cocktail tools. There are also t-shirts and cocktail books (some of which are vintage).
  • H&F is also offering bartending/mixing/cocktail classes now, but at a steep price ($100 per guest, but you get three drinks and the liquor to mix them, not to mention appetizers and time with the bartenders).
  • Quite possibly the best feature is that the shop is staffed by bartenders, ready and willing to converse about all things related to drinking. The constantly-spinning turntable provides good tuneage, as well. Go down the street to Holeman & Finch to sample their work.

Last Visit: July 16, 2013

The Best of Brews:

  • Situated in a rebounding downtown Duluth, they carry beer on tap and sell it in growlers and half-growlers. Great way to buy local beers in large amounts for parties and one of the few stores filling growlers in Georgia. Some beers come in 750 mL and “Bombers.” The growlers are re-usable (pay a one-time fee for a glass growler, though plastic ones are available).
  • One of two places you can buy yourself some locally-made Monk’s Mead (the other is the Whole Foods on Ponce). Check out the beers from Jailhouse, Red Hare, and Monday Night Brewing, as well.
  • The owner, Greg, will tell you everything you need to know about his beer, and be sure to check their Facebook page for updates.

Last visit: September 21, 2012

Niko’s Wine Corner (L’ville Store Now Closed):

  • Located in downtown Lawrenceville, Niko’s only carries wine and beer, but they have a great selection that is a bit atypical. They also hold wine tastings and have a wine club that samples new wines every month. They also carry wine accessories, glassware, and palate-cleansing snacks to accompany wine-tastings.
  • Carries local (Georgia) beer and wine; still has some Tres Picos 2009 Garnacha in stock (a Lauer family favorite); also carries port, sherry, and Lillet — I regularly re-stock on Kopke White Porto here. They are also willing to order for you (that includes special orders of Carpano Antica vermouth). Leslie, the owner, is very knowledgeable and helpful. Check their Facebook page for frequent updates.
  • There is also a Snellville Location that I have not visited.

Last Visit: July 19, 2012

Decatur Package Store:

  • Very good selection, if a bit limited, but they’ve chosen well.
  • There are a number of gems listed on their “Specialty Liquors” page, including Carpano Antica, Batavia-Arrak, and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. Amaro Nonino also found here, as well as a nice selection of bitters. Nice small-batch gin and whiskeys. Luxardo bitter liqueur sold here, as are Luxardo cherries!
  • Their “Tips for Bartenders” page is also rather curious for a liquor store.

Last Visit: October 1, 2011

Decatur Wine & Spirits:

  • I have not been here yet (as of October 1, 2011). Also carries a large number of hard-to-find spirits.
  • Check their inventory page to see what they have, though no vermouth is listed. A fair number of Luxardo liqueurs can be found here.

Roswell Beverage:

  • Excellent spirits selection, the whiskey shelves being some of the best around. Decent location, between Roswell and Alpharetta off 400, though the shopping center’s a bit tricky to get in to.
  • Notable Finds:
    • Whiskey: Everything but the Pappy. Breaking & Entering, High West Campfire & American Prairie, 13th Colony Corn Whiskey & Southern Rye, Corsair Wry Moon & Triple Smoke, Leopold Bros. Small Batch American Whiskey, Lion’s Pride (their whole lineup), Chattanooga 1816 Reserve, Balcones (entire lineup), Troy & Sons, Death’s Door White Dog, Beer Barrel Bourbon
    • Tequila: Very good selection, includes Tezon. Similar to Duluth Fine Wine & Spirits, above, but not quite as broad as Toco Hills.
    • Gin: Edinburgh, Plymouth, Martin Miller, Death’s Door
    • Brandy: Dartigalongue Bas Armagnac XO, Laird’s Old 7-1/2 Year Apple Brandy
    • Liqueurs: Suze, Créme Yvette (I bought their last two bottles, and it remains un-stocked), Art in the Age (entire lineup), Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb, Amaro Ciociaro, Hum Liqueur, Yellow & Green Chartreuse.
    • No Luxardo Maraschino. Absinthe is lacking. Vermouth, port, and sherry selection are wanting.

Last Visit: April 17, 2013

Online

Cocktail Kingdom: Your source for high-end barware and rare bitters. The pros, like Jamie Boudreau, use them. Yarai mixing glass recommended.

DrinkUpNY: Amazing selection, and they ship to just about anywhere. A tad pricey, especially once shipping is added in, but it’s the only source for some things we just can’t find in Georgia. Use them as a reference for brief tasting notes and buying guidelines.

One comment on “Liquor Stores

  1. Consumer Relations
    December 23, 2011

    Thank you for including Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits.
    Please visit with us in person and at http://www.TowerWineSpirits.com.
    CHEERS!

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