The mark of a true gentleman is best illustrated in the details of how he carries himself, dresses himself and adorns his surroundings (and/or chooses to do away with frivolity while doing so).
TAKING a cue from this we shall visit the gentleman’s private bar, the place where he chooses to store a small but carefully curated selection of spirits for the Gentleman to enjoy at his leisure.
It is important that the gentleman carries a selection of spirits that suit his tastes (not a message or image he wants to convey) as well as those friends, colleagues and individuals whom imbibe with him in the pleasures of a Scotch or cocktail.
[TGG Hint; for more on re-stocking you bar see The Spirit’s “6 Upgrades to your Bar”]
In keeping with this notion (of doing away with unnecessary frivolity) a gentleman must eschew any possible show of pretension, unfortunately such avoidance is at times difficult as spirits producers have worked diligently in developing eye-catching labels which are as self-announcing as the shape of the bottles themselves.
Enter the Spirits Decanter.
Unlike a wine decanter which primarily serves to air a wine (in addition to separating sediment from the w2ine in older bottling) the spirits decanter hails from an era where a gentleman may have had his favorite local distiller bottle the spirit, straight from cask, into an often ornate decanter from his collection. These decanters were often made by the lead craftsmen of the day, many still recognized today: Christofle, Baccarat and in the Americans, Tiffany’s.
The crystal decanter
Today the spirits decanter, although made somewhat irrelevant by the lighter and more transportable bottle, serves as an elegant touch to a gentlemen’s bar an does away with the unnecessary affectations of recreating a gaudy tavern, with rows of labels, in what should be an elegant pursuit of pleasure… one sip at a time.
What to look for:
Look for a decanter which suits your tastes and sorroindings; cut glass is not a taste all enjoy equally. Should a Gentleman’s personal style lean more towards minimalist, then find a decanter which expressese the same kind of lean simplicity.
The most important part of a decanter is the stopper: it must create and air-tight seal, otherwise its contents will evaporate. Although plastic is popular, sanded glass, which requires a slight twist once inserted, is far superior.
Where to keep them:
Keep decanters in an elegant setting on a bureau or in a corner table on a tray. Otherwise in the confines of a cupboard.
What to keep in them:
You’re go to spirits: Scotch, whiskey, gin, rum, etcetera. Cream-based liqueurs are best
The letter should reflect the spirit therein
in their bottles. Other items such as triple-sec or vermouth could also be kept in a decanter; but these are better-off kept stored in their own bottles.
While monogramming with one’s initials is a silly affectation having a single letter, that of the spirit enclosed, is useful if all the decanters are the same style so that a “G” would denote Gin while a “S” is Scotch.
[All the decanters pictures in this post can be found at www.potterybarn.com or at www.ralphlauren.com as part of his “Home Collection” the ‘modern’ decanters can be found at Crate & Barrell]