The Blizzard Challenge: what we learned about your home bars + Snowy Kraken Cocktail Recipe

The Blizzard Challenge: what we learned about your home bars + Snowy Kraken Cocktail Recipe

The Blizzard Challenge: what we learned about your home bars

During the recent blizzard, we made an offer to our fellow homebound, but thirsty, snowstorm victims: tell us what’s in your liquor cabinet, and we’ll suggest a drink to make.

It was a fun way for us to spend the evening. It passed the time, and teased our brains. And I think we e-served some decent drinks.

Here’s what we learned from our peek into your liquor cabinets.


No liquor collection is hopeless

There wasn’t a single cabinet too bare for us to come up with something to suggest. There was always something we could recommend in good conscience. They weren’t always the most sophisticated drinks, but they’re things we’d happily drink with you if we were stuck in your house next storm.

The Old Fashioned is handy in a pinch

Almost everyone has one bottle of spirits and a bottle of bitters. Take that and the common household items of sugar and ice, and you have yourself the makings of an old fashioned–a quite decent and respectable drink. People tend to think of it as a whiskey drink, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve made ones with tequila and rum. Why stop there?

Have you run out of sugar? Honey, agave, maple syrup, even molasses can work instead; in fact, they might even be preferable to bring some other flavors into the mix. Those alternative sweeteners can even make up for the lack of bitters, if need be.

You’ll see below that even ice can be replaced, in the right circumstances.

Your refrigerator door is your liquor cabinet annex

If you have a dark spirit–whiskey or a dark or aged rum–take a look in your refrigerator door for help. Adding some jam to the equation makes a smash like this one possible. You might not always have cranberry sauce, but how about strawberry jam? Some juice and some liqueur help the drink, but even those can be done without in a pinch. These are definitely sweet drinks, but they’re still honest-to-goodness drinks that’ll warm you up on a cold night.


photo from the whiskey smash recipe we gave to Ruby Scoops

Some balance can help

We noticed something interesting about your collections: they tend to be heavily weighted, either in the spirits direction or the liqueurs direction. Some of you have a good collection of gin, vodka, tequila, and whiskey–maybe even multiple options in one of them–but no liqueurs. Others of you have several liqueurs (St. Germain, ginger, coffee, and more), but little or no spirits.

You have your bias for a reason. If you’re a whiskey or rum or gin connoisseur, you should definitely embrace that. If you like playing with the different flavors and sweeter palette of liqueurs, that’s great too.

But shifting the balance just a bit in the other direction, using our basic list as a guide, can vastly broaden your liquor shelf’s cocktail potential. You’ll be happy with what we suggest next time there’s a storm.

Favorite Recipe of the Night

video cred: Tim Chambers

The Snowy Kraken


  • 2 oz Kraken rum
  • 1 tsp honey
  • dash of barrel-aged bitters
  • 1 wedge Meyer lemon


  • muddle lemon wedge, honey, and bitters in the bottom of an old fashioned glass
  • fill the glass with snow
  • pour in rum and stir


Roberts & June