We who like to mix drinks at home do it for many reasons: First, it’s cheaper than drinking out. Second, it’s fun to mix your own drinks at home. Third, it’s even more fun to mix drinks for other people at home. Any self-respecting home bartender should have a mental Rolodex Excel spreadsheet of favorite classic cocktail recipes. Even if these aren’t fully memorized, you should be able to find the recipe in your home library at quick notice to serve them to your friends.
Today, I present the 5 essential drinks that I think everyone should be able to make. I’m not including any highballs here. If you can’t mix up a gin and tonic or a whiskey and soda without a recipe, you’re not ready for Cocktail 101. Take some remedial classes and get back to me.
A Manhattan is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Commonly used whiskeys include rye, Canadian whisky, bourbon, blended whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey.
Ingredients: Maraschino cherry (Garnish), Dash Angostura bitters, 2 oz Rye or Canadian whisky, 3/4 oz Sweet red vermouth
Preparation: Stirred over ice, strained into a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 Sugar cube, Few dashes plain water
Preparation: Place sugar cube in old fashioned glass and saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Garnish with orange slice, and a cocktail cherry.
A cosmopolitan, or informally a cosmo, is a cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.
Ingredientd: 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) triple sec
3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons) cranberry juice
1/4 to 1/2 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons) fresh lime juice
One 2-inch orange peel/twist
Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. (We like the extra bite of extra lime juice, so we use 1/2 an ounce in our cosmopolitan cocktails. However, use what is best for your taste). Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with orange peel/twist. For an extra burst of flavor, peel the orange twist over the filled cocktail glass. This way, the orange oils spray into the glass.
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet” and E. B. White called it “the elixir of quietude”.
1.25 oz. Smirnoff Green Apple
0.25 oz. apple schnapps
1 splash(es) sour mix
1 slice(s) apple
Add vodka, sour mix and apple juice. Shake with ice and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass. Garnish with an apple slice.
Ingredients: 2 oz Tequila, 1 oz Lime juice, 1 oz Cointreau
Preparation: Rub the rim of the glass with the lime slice to make the salt stick to it. Shake the other ingredients with ice, then carefully pour into the glass (taking care not to dislodge any salt). Garnish and serve over ice.