Most imbibers leave the mixing to the bartenders and mixologists, and with good reason.
We city-dwellers are spoiled by having some the most creative minds in the world masterminding cocktail recipes at the city’s finest establishments.
That doesn’t mean cocktail enthusiasts can’t take a few tips from the pros and create surprisingly dashing and delicious drinks at home!
First, a few pieces of basic bar equipment:
You’ll also need glassware. These are the basics:
These items are not essential, but if you can splurge, I also recommend:
Beyond these few tools and the and the hand-eye coordination involved in stirring and shaking, the most important part of creating exceptional cocktails is using exceptional ingredients. This means choosing artisanal spirits and fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Artisanal might sound pricey but, if the budget allows, top-quality spirits will make a world of difference when you serve your guests or yourself after a long work-week!
The word “artisanal” should evoke notions of hand-crafted, natural products made in a traditional manner and at low yields. Yes, all of these qualifications mean a slightly higher cost at times, but they also ensure a terrific tipple!
Make your first forays into mixology successful by focusing on classic cocktail recipes that don’t require crazy preparation or super-long lists of ingredients.
For beginners, I recommend The Eastside Cocktail and The Manhattan for their simplicity and appeal. The former will be shaken and the latter stirred.
The Eastside Cocktail (Click here for the One-Click Recipe)
• 2 oz gin
• 1 oz fresh lime juice
• 3/4 oz simple syrup (1 part sugar dissolved into 1 part water)
• Mint leaves
1.) Place about 8 mint leaves, one 1/4-inch slice of cucumber, and simple syrup in the shaker and muddle gently until ingredients are well-mixed. Use broad end of wooden spoon in absence of the muddler.
2.) Add fresh lime juice and gin, fill 3/4 full with ice, then secure mixing glass into shaker and sha
3.) Strain in
to cocktail/martini glass and garnish with floating slice of cucumber.
The Manhattan Cocktail (Click here for the One-Click Recipe)
• 2 oz sweet vermouth
• 2 oz rye whiskey or Canadian whiskey
Add ingredients and ice to mixing glass. Stir well and strain into a cocktail/martini glass.
Some parting tips for the home mixologist:
When shaking a cocktail, really shake that bad boy! We want to get these lovely molecules moving.
When stirring your cocktail, stir with purpose but not so hard as to bruise the ice — that will only water down your drink.
Finally, chill all glassware before use. We want our cocktails as cold as possible and that simple step will create a better cocktail!