Cleaning out Grandma’s Liquor Cabinet

Beer/Drinks, Randoms, Travels

So my grandmother just moved out of one of my favorite American cities – Baltimore!  Home of the Wire, the Orioles, the best Blue Crab in this galaxy, a fantastic NFC defense, and…apparently…one of the most interesting old-school liquor collections I’ve ever seen.  If you’ve moved as much as I have – you know that it isn’t fun at all.  Moving lots of glass is even less fun – especially when it is filled with the remains of rare and mysterious liqueurs and bitters.  So here are a few gems that we discovered.

The first of this mysterious collection came in the form of a strange apertif – “Palo Morey”?  Anyone have any ideas what this is?


Note the tools required to uncork...

My meager attempt at a web search revealed what seems to be a similar liqueur:

Palo de Mallorca –  a spirit obtained by the maceration and/or infusion of cinchona bark and gentian root (gentina lutea) with sugar, caramelized sucrose and ethyl alcohol. Its name is derived from cinchona bark (also known as palo quina), which originally came from South America and became known in Spain thanks to the Countess of Chinchón. Cinchona bark contains various different substances like quinine, which gives it a bitter, astringent taste but has antipyretic and anti-malarial properties.

It turns out that this stuff was actually still drinkable, although I’m fairly sure that determining this took several months off my life.  It is incredibly interesting to see how thick this type of liqueur becomes over time.  It’s hard to see in the photo, but this thing had LEGS – about the viscosity of a thin molasses or WD-10.


Anyway – we tossed it.  I’m really hoping that one of you dedicated readers doesn’t tell me that the bottle was worth 30 grand.  Moving on…

Next on the block was pretty much the coolest wine bottle ever, containing the most destroyed cork and oxidized wine known to man.  This was a 1965 Château Cissac, a winery in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation (or “controlled wine area”) of the larger Bordeaux wine region of France.  Odds on this was a pretty good wine during its day.  Now…no longer so…


All those little pieces in the sink are from my repeated attempts to get the cork out without pushing it into the wine.

This wine did have what I think is on of the greatest wine labels I’ve ever seen.  Talk about classy.


Has anyone ever had to clear out old liquor cabinets?  Any interesting finds?