THE COCKTAILS YOU NEED TO KNOW

MIXOLOGY IS A SKILL THAT TAKES A FEW MINUTES TO LEARN AND A LIFETIME TO MASTER, SO YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GET STARTED NOW. WITH SO MANY VARIATIONS, IT’S EASY TO GET BOGGED DOWN WITH WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAKE THIS AND THAT. STICK TO THE WAY YOU LIKE BUT DO EXPERIMENT. WHILST SOME COCKTAILS DEMAND PERFECTION AND TRADITIONAL METHODS, OTHERS LEAVE YOU FREE TO BE CREATIVE. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADD SOMETHING A LITTLE UNEXPECTED. MAKING COCKTAILS IS ALL ABOUT FLAIR; IT’S AN ENTERTAINMENT AND A GREAT NIGTHT REQUIRES A PERFECT HOST WHO CAN DO THE KILLER COCKTAIL. BELOW IS NO MEANS A FINISHED LIST OF THE PERFECT VARIATION, IT’S A START.

The Old Fashioned

Made famous and incredibly sexy thanks to Ryan Goslings making of it in the movie; Crazy, Stupid, Love. It’s a modern favourite and a cocktail you can drink all night, it its done right.

The Glass:

Rocks or Old-Fashioned

The Mix:

Sugar Cube

2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Splash of Club Soda

Orange Zest

The Method: 

Add the sugar to the bottom of the glass and wet with bitters. Crush the sugar cube and rotate the mix so that it coats the glass. Add Bourbon over large rocks and spritz glass with Orange Zest.

The Martini

The king of cocktails is by far the hardest to make, such simple and pure favours mean that it’s very easy to get wrong and a lot of the time people who can’t make it well try to cover it up with embellishments. The test of a true mixologist because this drink is all about the mix, with only two ingredients there’s nowhere to hide. If it comes with lime in it, send it back; Martinis are only served with olives and lemon. This is one drink you absolutely should be a snob about.

The Glass:

Martini….. Obviously.

The Mix:
  • 2 Ounces Gin
  • 3 Teaspoon Dry Vermouth
  • Ice cubes

Olive or Lemon zest twist 

The Method:

Stir or shake in mixing glass with ice and strain. Garnish.

The Manhattan

A bold and fortifying cocktail that some claim can go alongside the Martini in terms of taste, the legends say that J.P. Morgan would have one to celebrate the close of the trading day. A drink of harmony that is a sin to create without rye whiskey, but in every other way can be personalised, the new fashion being to add a splash or two of absinthe.

The Glass:

Martini or Coupe

The Mix:

1 ½ Ounces Rye Whiskey

1 ½ Ounces Vermouth

1-2 Dashes of Sugar Syrup

1-2 Dashes of Bitters

Squeeze of Lemon

Lemon Peel

The Method:

Stir up well with ice and strain into the glass; squeeze lemon peel on top and spritz rim. Garnish. Serve.

The Clyde Common Whiskey Sour

While not a particularly exciting or complex cocktail, it nevertheless is a favourite. The lemon acts to round of the alcohol with some sharpness, but it still lacks the flare that one looks for in a truly sophisticated cocktail. It’s a cocktail you make if someone asks for it, but not one to show-off with. It is, at the end of the day, sour sweet whiskey with some fancy fruit atop.

The Glass:

Rocks or Sour

The Mix:
  • 2 Ounces high-proof bourbon whiskey
  • 1 Ounces lemon juice
  • 3 Teaspoon sugar syrup
  • 3 Teaspoon egg white
  • Cracked Ice
  • Orange slice and cherry
The Method:  

Chill ingredients together in shaker then shake up well with cracked ice and strain into the glass, garnish with fruit and serve.

The Tom Collins

One of the most refreshing drinks to see you through a summer afternoon. Historically first served in the Limmer’s Old House on London’s Hanover Square, by waiter John Collins, it was followed by some unknown person recreating the cocktail with Old Tom Gin, the name Tom Collins was born. A sin to ever be make with sour mix, the traditional formula is the test of a great Mixologist.

The Glass:

Highball or Collins Glass

The Mix:
  • 2 Ounces Gin
  • 1 Ounces Lemon juice
  • 4 Teaspoon Sugar syrup
  • Sparkling water

Slice of lemon

  • Ice
The Method:

 Pre chill the glass. Shake up well with ice and strain over the ice into the glass. Top it up with sparkling water and garnish with a thick lemon slice.

The Bloody Mary 

No drink brings more praise that hung-over morning than the well made Bloody Mary. A truly great mix goes beyond the simple recipe and brings something new to it. Add some horseradish and just a little bit more Tabasco than you think, this is not just a fancy tomato juice and when made right the Bloody Mary should be a bloody good cocktail.

The Glass:

Highball

The Mix:
  • Coarse Salt
  • 1¾ Ounces vodka
  • 2½ Teaspoon lemon juice
  • 7 Ounces tomato juice
  • 4 Dashes Tabasco
  • 8 Dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon horseradish
  • Pinch celery salt
  • Ice cubes
  • Celery stalk

Slice of lemon

The Method:

Rim the edge of the glass with salt. Tumble the ingredients gentle over each other in a shaker. Do not shake it. Pour just as gently over a lot of ice and garnish with a stalk of celery and slice of lemon. Add pepper to top. Serve.

The Mojito

The clean and simple favourite that packs the punch you need. The cuban cooler is once again a cocktail that separates gentleman from boys and ladies from women. A drink that should have nothing but style about it, to make it well takes the little bit more effort. A real mojito should be served tart and while Bacardi is traditional try something a little more adventurous and with something a little more raw to really bring out the mint.

The Glass:

Old Fashioned Glass or Highball.

The Mix:
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar syrup
  • 2 Ounces white rum
  • 4 Teaspoon lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Soda water
  • Sprig of Mint 
The Method:

Clap the mint leaves in your hands and muddle with sugar syrup in a mixing glass. Add rum and lime juice and stir before topping with crushed ice. Top off with the soda water and add more ice if necessary before garnishing with the sprig of fresh mint.

The Margarita

The Margarita is one of those drinks that has unfortunately lost a lot of elegance due to its constant portrayal in pop media being touted around by scantly clade women in smoothly makers. However, the Margarita is a cocktail of ingredients rather than mix and relies on the quality of the tequila. Silver tequila is an absolute must and really should be something with some pepper to it or something a little more raw and unfinished, but always 100% pure Agave.

The Glass:

Cocktail Glass

The Mix:  
  • Coarse Salt
  • 2 Ounces Tequila
  • 1 Ounce Cointreau
  • 1 Ounce Lime juice
  • Ice
The Method:

Pre chill and frost the glass, salting the rim with lime juice just before serving. Shake up well with cracked ice and serve. A true margarita has no need for further garnish.

The Negroni

Hailed as the mixoloigst cocktail, the Negroni is most definitely an acquired taste, and can take a LONG time to truly appreciate. However, once you do you’ll find it has more balance that a lot of other cocktails. The Negroni is the cocktail you make, if you are serving people who know cocktails, but only if you know how to mix it. Well.

The Glass:

Rocks or Cocktail Glass

The Mix:
  • 1 Ounce Gin
  • 1 Ounce Campari
  • 1 Ounce Sweet vermouth
  • Ice

Orange slice

The Method:

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into glass over fresh hard cut rocks or Ice ball. Spritz the glass rim with orange peel and then garnish with orange zest.

The Death in the Afternoon

If the New Gentry was ever to be defined by a cocktail it would be this one, so obviously you need to know it. The Death in the Afternoon. Absinthe and Champagne. Enough Said. Created by Ernest Hemingway it is decadence and elegance in a cocktail.

The Glass:

Champagne

The Mix:

Absinthe

Champagne

The Method:

Prechill Glass. Add jigger of Absinthe to glass of Champagne. Done.

About the Author

Luke Fussell

Editor-In-Chief, seeker of the peace, part time chandelier cleaner, a legend in his own time, oppressor of champions, soldier of fortune, world traveller, bonvivant, all round good guy, international lover, casual hero, philosopher, wars fought, bears wrestled, equations solved, virgins enlightened, revolutions quelled, tigers castrated, orgies organised, bars quaffed dry, governments run, test rockets flown, life president of the Liquidarian Society of Great Britain and Ireland (apply to website for membership).

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