Although I don’t aspire to be real bartender, I don’t believe in half-assing it. Each cocktail component must shine — especially in drinks with four ingredients or less. And you know what? Cutting corners only saves you a few minutes (and a few pennies) so you have no excuse.
So step up your game and repeat after me.
I WILL NOT USE:
- Mixers. Neon-colored, high fructose corn syrup-laden “mixers” are the worst possible shortcut. They overpower cocktails and contain more sugar than… probably anything.
- Candy fruit. If you’d put it in a fruitcake or on top of a sundae, it has no place in your cocktails. Especially cherries. Try Luxardo cherries — they’re expensive, but that jar will last a long time. Better yet, make your own.
- Lemon or lime juice you didn’t squeeze yourself. If you don’t believe me, take the alcoholic Pepsi challenge. Mix and taste two gin and tonics — one with juice you squeeze from a lime, one with juice you squeeze from a lime-shaped plastic bottle.
- Frozen drinks. Hemingway drank daiquiris. Do you think he ordered them frozen?
- Flavored vodka. It’s the wine cooler of the 21st century. For real.
- Measure each component. You wouldn’t “wing” a cake. Mixing is a lot like baking — balance is everything. And be patient. Don’t attempt to “free pour” and count ounces. Where else do you have to be?
- Start small. Pick 2-3 drinks with no more than three ingredients. Make them over and over again, until you no longer need to follow a recipe and you can make them for friends while carrying on a conversation. Then learn to 2-3 more.
- Know what each ingredient tastes like. If you mix without tasting, you won’t understand how each ingredient impacts your cocktail.
- Enjoy making — and drinking — cocktails. Have fun. Save the complex drinks for the pros on nights out.
So what’d I miss? Are there any other stakes we should put in the ground?