Three bartenders in a backyard teach you how to make three classic summer drinks on a budget: the daiquiri, the gin & tonic, and the mint julep.
Not simple enough? How about the only summer cocktail recipe you will ever need?
Lawyers need bartenders more than bartenders need lawyers. When it comes to cocktails and the names they’re given, a recipe can’t be copyrighted and a name isn’t usually trademarked, and there’s no governing body, no law of the liquor land that stops the duplication of a recipe or a cocktail name. Which makes cocktail naming—shall we call it mixonymics?—special among naming practices in the modern world: It’s the bartender tribe, not the law, that defines prior art. "Swizzle Me This,"
Michael Erard, The Morning News
I am fairly sure of these
: Ginger, orris, galengal, lovage, chiretta, angelica, elecampane, hyssop, pomerance, camomile, lavender, coriander, pepper, cloves, star anis, allspice, nutmeg, cardamon, fennel, bitter orange, rose hips, quinine, licorice, tumeric, mace, saffron.
These are possibles: marshmallow, yarrow, burdock, curcuma, grains of paradise, cubeb, wintergreen, cassia, betony, purslane, borage, sandalwood.
Deer blood is a myth
. Caramel is used as a sweetener. Your real problem is getting the proportions right.
And don't mix it with Red Bull. Drink it straight and cold.
Constitutions of Classic Cocktails
- A single image that charts the ingredients of many well loved drinks.
12 Bottle Bar
, a site dedicated to classic cocktails for the home bartender, have transformed themselves in the run up to Halloween. Now they are... 13 Bottle Bar: Blood, Booze and Beyond
, in which they review classic horror and post terrifying cocktails inspired by it. [more inside]
The Violet Hour, a speakeasy styled lounge in Chicago with no sign, has been pushing the envelope in creative drink mixing since it opened in 2005. Toby Maloney, the Violet Hour's "Head Intoxocologist", had no problem posting on a Chicago food forum and sharing some of the drink recipes
that have made his bar one of the most exciting in the country. [more inside]
It's no secret that classic cocktails
are back. Fresh fruit and house-made bitters and infusions are de rigueur, but no less important is the quality of the ice
. Good ice
and the right shake
ensure that spirits are properly chilled and diluted and improve the cocktail's flavor profile
"In the U.S., they're mixing drinks with herbs and other weird
, but in Ginza
the best guys just polish
." And perhaps no Japanese mixology master has contributed more than Kauzo Ueda, who has perfected the art of the hard shake
, a refinement over more traditional shake
. He has a disciple in NYC's Eben Freeman
, who now imparts the secrets
of the hard shake
via a video tutorial. [more inside]
This sharp-flavored, slightly medicinal liqueur, originally used as an aperitif
, remains one of the defining ingredients in many classic cocktails, including the Manhattan
, the Pink Gin
, the Champagne Cocktail
, and the Sazerac
. Some popular herbal liqueurs, such as Campari
, are essentially just big bottles of bitters. But bitters had fallen on hard times, with most bars stocking only one brand, Angostura
, or, if they were particularly sophisticated (or Southern), a second option, Peychaud's
. Orange bitters
, once an essential ingredient in the Martini
, were forgotten and impossible to purchase. Times have changed, with companies such as Fee Brothers
, the Bitter Truth
, and even Angostura
, releasing their own versions of the orange stuff. In fact, bitters in enjoying something of a renaissance, with bars experimenting with making their own
. Hobbyists, in the meanwhile, are reviving lost recipes
Jerry Thomas' Bar-Tender's Guide or How to Mix Drinks
You've Come A Long Way, Baby:
Unfortunately, you picked the wrong one, dear old Old-Fashioned
, dean of cocktails. Robert Hess's
definitive essay on the ever-changing ways of making one shows just how contentious a cocktail recipe
can be. It also bears sad testimony to how the great classics are being fruited up, iced up, fizzed up, shaken till obliteration and generally girlied, dumbed and boozed down. So how do you stand on the cherry, the pineapple and the orange? And don't even bother commenting if you're a seltzer fan! ;)
Try Saying Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Tea And Mint Julep Without Smiling:
it can't be done. Coz June is busting out all over in Bourbon country and the mint is as high as an elephant's eye. For this we all rejoice. But - wait - did you know that, for that most perfect Summer drink, the thirst-quenching nec plus ultra
they call the Julep
, "the most important ingredient is a T-shirt for the mint juice extraction
"? Oh yes! The time has come. Here comes the sun. Mmmm...
For Lent, I'm Giving Up Not Drinking Cocktails - What About You?
I collect cocktail books but there are two web sites* that are just as good as the best bartender's bible. The first is Dale DeGroff's
. The second, sadly discontinued but still invaluable, is Paul Harrington's
. Both are very personal and reveal a deep knowledge and love of this quintessentially American and civilized art form. Cocktails
may very well be the only truly democratic and universally accessible pastime. They can be made at home quite cheaply by anyone and be just as delicious as the very best served in the very best bar to the richest imbiber in the world. Not to mention their incredible Valentine's Day
potential... so what's it to be, pal? *Webtender, Drinkboy and Esquire's cocktail guides pale by comparison