If we all stopped and thought about it for a moment, no matter how terrible the pandemic was (is?), there was some sort of highlight for everybody. Maybe it was more time with family, less spending on take-out meals, or more time outdoors. Whatever it was, I’m sure if you looked, you’d find it.
For the wife and I, there were lots of positives in there, but none of them are really germane to this topic except that it revealed a true appreciation of whiskey in my family. At least, an appreciation amongst the male members — the wife is not so much a whiskey fan, though she does enjoy a liqueur from time-to-time. Which is like liquor, but not quite. In the same way pink is like red, but not quite. Still, her appreciation for liqueur goes to prove what Mary Poppins said, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”
But if I’m real specific about it, it’s not all whiskeys we’re fans of, it’s really just the bourbons, the ryes and the Irish. No shade to scotch or Canadian, but despite giving them a fair shake, they just don’t do anything for us.
Anyhow, becoming a whiskey aficionado is sort of like getting into woodworking — you very quickly acquire a lot of whatever your hobby/interest. In woodworking it’s tools of the sort you covet — for some that’s chisels, for others it’s clamps.
The same is true for whiskey. Even though we started the pandemic with basically nothing, in short order we acquired a lot of whiskey of varying types and qualities. Some of it is complete trash — I’m looking at you, Jack Daniels — while some of it is incredibly good — Angel’s Envy Finished Rye is pretty stellar.
Also the same for woodworking as whiskey — price is no indicator of quality. One of the most reasonably priced Irish whiskeys is Jameson, which is quite excellent. Similarly, Harbor Freight F-Clamps are cheap as hell, but are pretty unimpeachable.
But I digress.
The point of the liquor talk is over the last two years the wife and kid and I acquired so many bottles they were pretty much taking over the top of our refrigerator, which is far-from the ideal storage area. This became all-the-more apparent when a plumbing issue in the bathroom above the kitchen meant part of the ceiling had to come down and the bottles had to come off the refrigerator. Instead, they cluttered our dining table. Which was the point at which the wife’s anxiety kicked in and she decided we needed a dedicated place to store all the sinful spirits.
Enter the liquor cabinet.
The cabinet that I built is a fairly basic red oak box — it’s amazing how much of woodworking and furniture is really just a variation on a box. Anyway, the cabinet is fairly plain, 4’ lengths of 1” x 12” finger-jointed, edge-glued red-oak panels. Because of the way they are made these panels are fairly inexpensive, and flat, and other than gluing some together to get some extra width, were the perfect material to work with.
There isn’t much to the box to distinguish it. There is an angled opening at the top, similar to a roll-top desk without the rolling top, exposing a red-laminate counter area — under the laminate is a piece of plywood that was edged by a thin piece of red-oak. While the laminate is good and durable, it wasn’t chosen for any other reason that it is durable, and I already had it on hand.
Below this are two drawers, both of which are sized to hold glassware — rocks glasses and Glencairn’s — and each sit on soft-close slides. Below this is a divided storage area that fits a good bit of the liquor we have — not all, but a good bit. To light it is a standard LED light from IKEA. The legs are fairly inexpensive hair-pin legs from Amazon.
In construction the cabinet is dadoed/rabbeted and edge-glued, with the joints reinforced by dowels. The vertical shelf-divider inside the cabinet is screwed in, with the screws hidden. The back is also screwed on.
On the whole this cabinet is approximately 24” wide, 15” deep, with the counter sitting at 36” from the ground. The interior shelving was designed to allow two 12 inch bottles to sit atop one another, but also the shelves are adjustable to accommodate both taller and shorter bottles.
At the end of the day the cabinet could have been larger, and fancier, with all the trimmings, and maybe if I wasn’t working with specific space constraints in mind, it would have been. But since it was made to sit in a specific place in our house, maxing out the size I could fit into that space was more important than making it look fancy. And, since we were able to get all of my liquor into it — at least the ‘public facing’ bottles, it met the wife’s requirements, which is the only thing that matters.