Surprisingly, 'Plumpjack' refers neither to me nor to Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff. Plumpjack is a fancy liquor store in the Marina district in San Francisco. It, together with the fashionable Balboa Cafe across the street, are owned by the former Mayor of San Francisco and current Lieutenant-Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. While I have little confidence in Gavin Newsom, I have considerable confidence in the buyer/sommelier of fancy high-end places like Plumpjack and the Balboa Cafe.
Rather than trying to figure out what are the best kinds of booze by a tedious and expensive process of trial-and-puke, I copied down the kinds on the Balboa Cafe's drinks menu and looked at the ads at Plumpjack.
Here's the list:
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
Square One Cucumber
Stolichnaya Gala Apple
Charbay Meyer Lemon
So far I have tried Bulleit Frontier bourbon and found it smooth and drinkable. I tried Woodford Reserve but found it harsh and not drinkable. Bulleit Rye is excellent.
Side-note - on no account ever buy Wild Turkey 101. Nothing recommends it but the proof and that is no recommendation at all. Wretched stuff.
Dewar's scotch comes in 10-year-old white label and 12-year-old blue label varieties. One would assume as a matter of course that the blue label would be more expensive, and it is normally. But Safeway had them both on sale such that the blue label was actually cheaper though the not-on-sale price was higher. The blue label Dewar's is smooth and enjoyable.
I have not gotten around to trying the tequila nor the Ketel One vodka yet.
Safeway does not carry either of the gins so reports on them depend on whether Trader Joe's has them.
As to the others, I have not tried them because I consider flavored vodkas to be a frivolity reserved for the young and for people given to wearing bright-colored clothing.