liquor store layout

Liquor stores can sometimes be overwhelming based on the multiple types of liquor and under what primary alcohol category various liquors fall. Liquors go far beyond simply vodka, gin, whiskey, or wines, and there are distinctive qualities of many types of liquors that earn particular liquors placement under these broad categories. With all of this in mind, where can you find specific types of liquors at the liquor store?

Navigating the Liquor Store

As a general rule, the color of liquor as it corresponds to the main type of clear or dark liquor is where you can usually find various styles of liquor. For example, brandy can be found under the darker liquor categories and Everclear is usually found in the clear liquor categories. 

If you are having trouble locating a certain type of liquor at a liquor store or, if you want some brief details about what a certain type of liquor is, this guide is for you. We will explore under what categories many popular liquors are located within the store, as well as what distinctive details about many types of liquor you should remember when shopping. Read on to find out where you can find types of liquor at the liquor store. 

How Are Liquors Arranged at a Liquor Store?

In most any given liquor store, you will find that the store features different signs explaining the types of liquor you can expect to find in this section. Beers are usually easy to find since these beverages are mostly found in the middle of the store or in a cooler. 

These major liquor categories are vodka, gin, rum, brandy, whiskey, tequilas, and bitters. As you can probably already figure out, all liquors will typically fall within the formulations of these broad categories. 

Then there is the wine category, and all types of wines can be found in the section of the store labeled as such. 

If you cannot find something, there is a good possibility that it may be kept behind the counter, or the different sections are categorized differently based on the preferences of the store runners. Feel free to ask for help if you get lost. 

With liquor categories established, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most popular types of liquors and where you can find them in a liquor store. 

absinthe at liquor store

Where To Find Absinthe In The Liquor Store

Absinthe is a popular alcoholic beverage originating from Europe during the 18th century. This green or translucent-colored, bitter spirit is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world, and most of its potency derives from a chemical known as thujone, which is what causes the intense euphoria that comes with 100% pure absinthe. 

In the United States, absinthe was once banned for retail sales, but this was lifted in 2007, granting that all formulations offered for sale are thujone-free. 

As for where to find absinthe at the liquor store, this can vary from location to location. Some stores may place absinthe in the bitters category, it’s very own category, or reserve the product behind the counter to sell by request only. 

Where To Find Triple Sec In The Liquor Store

Triple Sec is a popular, orange-flavored, highly fragrant liquor that can be served neat or more popularly, as an ingredient in mixed drinks. Triple Sec is made from rectified alcohol and has an alcohol volume of between 15 to 40%, but the type of alcohol is not what categorizes this popular mixer. 

Triple Sec is usually placed in the section of a liquor store for liqueurs, which is a type of mixer not meant to be served neat due to the flavors that liqueurs like Triple Sec can add to stiff, neat drinks. 

Additionally, some liquor stores may also choose to place liqueurs like Triple Sec along the aisles of popular liquors such as vodka or tequila, which corresponds to the liqueur’s popularity as a mixer. 

Where To Find Brandy In The Liquor Store

Brandy is a dark liquor that has been renowned for its bold and pungent taste, particularly as an after-dinner drink. Brandy differs greatly from other types of dark liquors, such as whiskey or bourbon, and this comes from the liquor’s formulation process from the distillation of various types of wines. 

This distillation process for Brandy is unique in how the distillation process is used on base wine, which is the very first process during the fermentation of wine. Instead of continuing the fermentation process for the wine, it is distilled, which causes the wine components to separate from the alcohol, which gives brandy its distinctive taste. 

Brandy comes in many different types, such as Cognac, Armagnac, and Pisco. In many liquor stores, you will find that brandy has its very own section in the store, which is where you can shop for the various types of brandies. If not, you can locate the main part of the store that contains dark liquors, and you will likely find brandy in this section. 

Where To Find Marsala Wine In The Liquor Store

Marsala wine is a unique type of wine due to its potency and its formulation process that includes various types of liquors added to the wine during the distillation process. This type of wine was first created in Marsala, Italy and likely dates back to at least the medieval era in Europe. 

Marsala wine typically has a fairly potent alcohol content due to both the fermentation process for the wine added to the liquor addition during formulation. Various types of brandies are the most popular type of liquor used in the formulation of Marsala wine, but you can find certain brands of this wine that use vermouth or even sherry. 

Since Marsala wine has a rich and sweet flavor with just the right amount of boldness, this wine is commonly used in cooking for a variety of different dishes. 

Marsala wine is almost always found in the wine section at liquor stores. If your local liquor store has different subsections within the wine section, check the cooking wine section. 

Where To Find Vermouth In The Liquor Store

Vermouth is one of the most popular liqueurs in the Western world. This fragrant, fortified wine is typically available as either a sweet or dry liquor to add a burst of aromatic flavors to various mixed drinks. 

The formulation for vermouth can trace its origins back to Ancient China and has long been used as a flavor booster in popular drinks such as martinis and Manhattans. 

Vermouth is sometimes classed as a liqueur, but since the drink is a form of wine, it can also be found in wine sections throughout liquor stores as well. 

bitters liquor store

Where To Find Bitters In The Liquor Store

Bitters are a type of alcohol that is fermented from botanical matter, such as herbs, bark, roots, and bitter fruits. This type of mixer is named such due to the bitter or bittersweet taste of the alcohol, and this is favored for drinks that need a cutting agent to balance out sour and sweet flavors. 

Bitters are also an acquired taste and can be popular mixers for gin and vodka. Bitters can trace their origin back to Ancient Egypt, and were used for centuries as remedies for stomach cramps and colds.

When it comes to liquor store placement, bitters usually have their very own section labeled as such. Since many bitters are mixed in clear liquors, you may find the bitters section near the vodka or gin sections as well. 

Where To Find Blue Curacao In The Liquor Store

Blue Curacao is a type of bitter that is fermented from the peelings of the bitter orange fruit known as laraha. This liqueur gets its name from the popular blue food coloring that is added to what is a clear liqueur after the fermentation process. 

Blue Curacao is sometimes classed as bitter, but the drink may also be classed with liqueurs if a liquor store has a section devoted to various kinds of liqueurs. 

This drink has a bitter and sweet flavor, which makes it popular for its sweet initial taste and a bitter aftertaste that can add a burst of flavor to any mixed drink. 

In the liquor store, Blue Curacao is usually placed within the liqueur section, but as mentioned, you may also find it in the bitters section depending on where store owners choose to place this popular mixer. 

Where To Find Everclear In The Liquor Store

There are strong types of alcohol, and then there is Everclear. This potent, up to 190 proof clear grain alcohol is banned in several states, and most of this has to do with the extreme potency of the alcohol levels within the liquor. 

Everclear is made from pure grain alcohol that is distilled in a very pure and undiluted formulation. Due to this high alcohol volume, a single 1.5 ounce shot of Everclear is enough to produce inebriation in individuals, and continued use can lead to alcohol poisoning. 

When it comes to buying Everclear at liquor stores in states where it is legal to do so, this liquor is typically kept behind the counter or, you may find it in or near the vodka and gin sections. 

Where To Find Cointreau In The Liquor Store

Cointreau is a popular orange-flavored liqueur that is used as a mixer in several types of popular cocktails. This liqueur is a type of Triple Sec and has a sweet, orange flavor that is typically served in drinks after a meal, although Cointreau is sometimes consumed before a meal. 

Cointreau was first formulated in the mid-1800s in France and was originally served as a sweet type of alcoholic beverage all on its own before it became a popular mixer. 

In liquor stores, Cointreau is almost always found in sections dedicated to liqueurs, although you may also find the drink within the aisles of popular liquors due to its popularity as an add-in. 

champagne liquor store

Where To Find Champagne In The Liquor Store

Champagne is a sparkling wine that has become notorious as a must-have component of any celebration or romantic union such as marriage. 

Although an acquired taste by many, champagne is essentially a white wine that was first introduced in France almost by accident in the 1800s. What initially caused the drink’s characteristic bubbles and carbonation was a mistake made during the fermentation process that saw a crate of white wine undergo a second fermentation process which created a level of carbonation in the wine. 

Since then, champagne has frequently featured at special events, became a popular drink to toast at celebrations such as New Year’s Eve, and can be served either at room temperature or chilled. 

At liquor stores, champagne can be found in the wine section or, if you prefer chilled champagne, you can find it in the sparkling wine sections of coolers wherever chilled beverages are kept within the store. More expensive brands of champagne may be kept behind the counter for security purposes. 

sake

Where To Find Sake In The Liquor Store

Sake is a popular and fairly potent type of Japanese liquor that dates back to the nation’s ancient era. Sake is clear and can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled depending on the consumer’s preference. 

Sake is made by fermenting rice that has been scrubbed and polished before the fermentation process. Since the fermentation process for rice is similar to both of the processes for beer and grain liquors, sake gets its distinctive taste from these two extremes during the fermentation process. 

Due to the distinction of sake being both a rice wine and a type of liquor, it can be hard to pinpoint where the beverage may be located in a liquor store. You can check either the wine section or the clear liquor section, or since sake is a type of specialty drink in the United States, it may be kept behind the counter as well. 

Where To Find Mead In The Liquor Store

Mead is both an ancient and somewhat expensive type of alcoholic beverage that usually exists within a category of its own. 

Mead is made by fermenting honey together with hops, fruits, grains, and water, which all mix together for a taste that is both potent, sweet, and unique when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Due to the thickness of mead which comes from the hops, mead is sometimes mistaken as a beer, yet the drink also shares some characteristics with wine, but it’s neither of these two things. 

This can cause some confusion when you are looking for mead in a liquor store. It is truly up to the store where they choose to place mead, but most of the time, you will find it either with beer or in the wine section. It is best to ask since this is one alcoholic beverage that usually finds shoppers getting lost when searching for it. 

Where To Find Amaretto In The Liquor Store

Amaretto is another type of popular liqueur that hails from the Northern region of Italy. This liqueur is sweet but also has a hint of bitterness since bitter almonds are one of the fermenting substances in Amaretto. This sweet, faintly sour taste is what makes Amaretto popular in such drinks as the Amaretto sour. 

You can typically find Amaretto in the liqueur section of a liquor store, and due to its popularity, you can also sometimes find it near vodka and rum since these are the two liquors it is most commonly mixed with. 

liquor store shelves

Where To Find Schnapps In The Liquor Store

Schnapps is a sweet type of liqueur that first originated in the Scandinavian region of Europe sometime in the 1700s. The fermentation process for Schnapps includes fruit brandies, herbs, and various types of neutral or mild grain spirits that typically produce a sweet but not overpowering taste. 

Due to the confusion over what type of liquor Schnapps truly are, you may find the drink in the brandy section, the liqueurs section, or even the wine section if the liquor store does not have its very own Schnapps section. 

Where To Find Sherry In The Liquor Store

Sherry is essentially a Spanish white wine that is fortified much like the process for making Brandy. Sherry is typically distilled with brandy but some types of sherry may be distilled with a bolder type of whiskey to bring out a more pungent taste and alcohol content. 

Some sherries are very sweet while other brands may feature a richer and bolder taste due to whiskey distillation and a process known as oxidation that occurs once the sherry is placed into a barrel to undergo an aging process. 

Sherry can also be a bit hard to find in some liquor stores. It is a fortified type of wine, which means it may be in the wine section. Then again, it is also a type of brandy or even a form of whiskey depending on various types of classification. It is best to ask for help if the store does not have a dedicated sherry section. 

Where To Find Aperol In The Liquor Store

Aperol is both an Italian bitter and a liqueur since the drink has an orange, sweet and bitter type of taste. Aperol was first created in Northern Italy in the early 20th century and became a popular mixer for those who want both a sweet and mildly bitter taste to their drinks. 

Aperol can be found either in the bitters or liqueurs section of a liquor store depending on placement preference. 

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