Today is the last day of the @home cocktail series and we’re going to wrap it up with some of my favorite drink recipes, and with some proper method & tips. Please keep in mind that creativity is encouraged, and I urge you to amend any and all recipes! This is supposed to be fun, and not intimidating. If an experiment ends up tasting like crap, you can always dilute it with seltzer and call it a spritzer. I do it all the time. Most of the time. I experiment a lot, ok?
Just a quick run down of a few items before we get started…
Glassware: You do not need fancy glassware. You really don’t! These are the three types of glasses I would recommend for all of your drink needs:
The highball is for standard 2-ingredient drinks (gin & tonics). You should never exceed 1 1/2 oz. of booze per highball drink, for the sake of a balanced drink…and your liver. Keep it classy, folks.
The rocks glass is great for all cocktails served over ice. The rim is wide enough to hold a decent amount of salt, and the bottom should be sturdy enough to muddle ingredients.
The martini glass is for any cocktail served without ice, or “up”. Note: When you order a cocktail “up” in a bar, I can assure you that you are not getting more booze- you are just avoiding dilution while drinking.
Avoid sour mix and artificial citrus juices at all costs.I can not stress this enough. The quality of each ingredient, small or large, will always shine through in a well made cocktail. Fresh squeezed juices are the way to go, and if you don’t have the time to do that, make sure you at least buy something decent from concentrate. A lot of grocery stores carry frozen citrus juices- just gotta look around a bit. Also, sour mix sold in stores is literally garbage.
For real “Sour”: One part orange juice, two parts each of lemon & lime juice. Done. Delcious…and real. Keep refrigerated.
Simple Syrup: (Used for sweetening cocktails without adding hard-to-dissolve granules) Two parts sugar, one part water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until sugar is completely dissolves and cool completely before using. Do not refrigerate. You can use agave syrup instead, diluted in hot water- no cooking necessary (this is great for margaritas).
Salt: For margaritas should a flake salt, never table salt. These salts are usually sold in grocery stores in a really convenient rimming container. The container itself is worth the price. I promise.
Bitters: This is not a crucial ingredient unless you are planning on making an Old Fashioned, but if you are indeed making an Old Fashioned…do not skip! This spirit is flavored with bitter botanical and herbs, and can sometimes be found in Manhattans and Bloody Marys.
Shaking a cocktail: Build your cocktail in the pint glass without ice first, to avoid over pouring any single ingredient. Once you have all your ingredients in, fill the glass 3/4 full with ice. Cover with tin, and tap to seal. Shake vigorously for at LEAST 15 seconds. Here is a video that shows you where to tap to release the seal.
And now, on to the recipes!
THE AVIATION COCKTAIL
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur, (preferably Luxardo)
1/4 ounce Crème de Violette
Shaken over ice, strained into a martini glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry or lemon twist. This cocktail is very light, tart, and floral. If you can not find Creme de Violette, using Creme Yvette works quite nicely as well. This one is my absolute favorite.
THE CLASSIC MARGARITA
3 ounces tequila blanco
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce Simple Syrup (agave even better!)
Splash orange liqueur (Cointreau prefereably)
Run a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks or martini glass and cover with salt. Wipe the salt off the inside of glass to avoid making a salty drink. Shake all ingredients over ice, and strained into glass (rocks glass should be filled with fresh ice.) Also, you can use the “For real sour” juice blend I mentioned before in place of the lime juice and simple syrup if you plan on making quite a few. Adding a splash of orange juice to the classic recipe isn’t a bad idea either.
THE OLD FASHIONED
2 oz whiskey (good bourbon or rye preferably)
1 tsp sugar
1 dash bitters
1 slice fresh lemon
1 slice orange
In a short rocks glass with a heavy bottom: Muddle the sugar, bitters, and cherry (de-stemmed). Add whiskey and stir. Top with ice and lemon slice and stir once more before serving.
2 oz. white rum
2 oz. club soda (a.k.a. seltzer)
1 oz. lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar (in the raw prefereable)
2 lime wedges
8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
In a highball (or mason jar!), muddle 6 mint leaves with the sugar. You want to to do this to break up the leaves and release the aromatic oils. You do not need to annihilate the leaves into confetti. Squeeze one lime wedge into glass and add rum. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Fill glass with ice and top off with club soda, lime wedge, and remaining mint leaves.
2 oz. gin or vodka (Hendricks is excellent for this.)
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
3 slices cucumber
Muddle 2 slices cucumber in bottom of shaker glass. Add gin or vodka, simple syrup, and juice. Fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass (or rocks glass filled with ice) and garnish with remaining cucumber slice.
I will be posting more cocktail recipes in the future, especially since I will be furthering my research by tending bar once a week! If you have any questions, or recipes of your own you would like to share please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
…Oh yeah! I promised you a surprise today! Well…here it is: Therighteousknife.com is getting some guest contributors! I have somehow convinced three of my very smart, wonderful, talented friends to do a biweekly contribution to my blog. I will introduce you to them tomorrow! I’m pretty excited about this, and hope you are too. See you tomorrow!