It’s pretty safe to say that craft cocktail culture is spiking worldwide. The upside is that we’re drinking and rediscovering classic drinks and inventing new ones every day. The downside is that going out and getting sloppy on cocktails is expensive, sometimes prohibitively so.
Mixing cocktails is a little science, a little sensory, a little storytelling, and a lot of joy. If you’re willing to spend some time learning and experimenting, you’ll have a skill for life (and a lot of drunk friends).
I’ve bartended off and on for the past 15 years in various countries. Most recently in a high-end cocktail bar in Berlin called Victoria Bar. Here are a few thoughts on how to make a home bar without having to mortgage the house, or dip into the kid’s college fund every time you want to drink more than one $15 Old-Fashioned.
Cocktails are deceptively simple: a base, an enhancer and bitters. That’s it. The mixing of said ingredients is what makes each drink special. Some people barely like the shadow of the bottle of Noilly Prat Vermouth looming over their gin for a Dry Martini. Others want a 50/50 mix. Luis Buñuel probably has my favorite Dry Martini recipe. Put your glass in the freezer the day before (a 6 ounce rocks glass will do). Add three large cubes of deeply frozen ice (at least below -20F). Over the ice add 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters and 1 ounce of Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth. Stir very lightly for about 10 seconds, maybe 15. Drain the fluid away, preserving the ice. Pour 4 ounces of English gin (I like Plymouth) over the ice and gently stir once. Serve. No Garnish.
See? That’s pretty easy. It’s also delicious. Down and dirty, as I like to say.