Other Drink Recipes
Other Drink Recipes

Other Drink Recipes

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Bloody Mary

I’m breaking my highball rule here, but that’s okay because I don’t think of the Bloody Mary as a highball. Though nearly every cocktail manual I own lists it as such, I take a different view. A highball just means pouring a shot or so of booze and topping it off with a non-alcoholic mixer, usually from a gun or a bottle. Fine, you can make Bloody Marys that way if you’re lazy and buy a bottled mix. But a good Bloody Mary mix is prepared in-house or at home from high-quality tomato juice and whatever other juices and spices you like. For home drinking, I mix mine à la minute. I juice lemons; I dash in bitters. I go to at least as much work as I do when mixing a cocktail. So screw it, it’s a cocktail, not a highball.

The Ultimate Fully-Loaded Bloody Mary

About This Recipe

YIELD: makes 1 cocktail
ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Cocktail shaker
THIS RECIPE APPEARS IN: The Bloody Mary: The History and Science of an Oddball ClassicThe Food Lab, Drinks Edition: The Ultimate Fully Loaded Bloody Mary

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon celery salt or (or plain kosher salt, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 lemon, cut into two wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or less to taste)
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Franks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish (or 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish)
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces high-quality tomato juice
  • 1 stick celery

Procedures

Place celery salt in a shallow saucer. Rub rim of 12-ounce tumbler with 1 lemon wedge and coat wet edge with celery salt. Place lemon wedge on rim of glass. Fill glass with ice.

Add Worcestershire, soy, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and horseradish to bottom of cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and add vodka, tomato juice, and juice of remaining lemon wedge. Shake vigorously, taste for seasoning and heat, and adjust as necessary. Strain into ice-filled glass. Garnish with celery stalk and serve immediately.

 

  man

  

Manhattan

If there were no other reason to include this drink on this list, I’d still put the Manhattan here for the best reason of all: your grandmother drinks them.

Now, I’m pretty flexible on the Old Fashioned and the Martini. Mix an OF with mezcal or rhum agricole and I’ll shake your hand; shake up an ultra-dry martini, and I’ll drink it happily. But please, no weak bourbons in my Manhattan. Give me a bourbon with a muscular rye-heavy mashbill, or just give me rye to begin with.

Mix it sweet or mix it perfect (half sweet vermouth, half dry), but don’t bother with a dry Manhattan, seriously.

[Photograph: Jennifer Hess]

The classic cocktail, made with rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

Manhattan Cocktail

About This Recipe

YIELD: makes 2 cocktails
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: mixing glass, cocktail strainer

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces rye whiskey
  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: 2 Maraschino cherries

Procedures

Pour the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until outside of shaker is very cold to touch.

Place a maraschino cherry in each of two chilled cocktail glasses. Dividing evenly, strain the contents of the shaker over cherries and serve immediately.

oldfash

Old Fashioned

The origins of the word “cocktail” are lost to history, but the first definition we find in print comes from an 1806 newspaper from upstate New York. A cocktail is called “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters…” Over the course of the 19th century, the cocktail picked up a number of additions and refinements: liqueurs, fortified wines, various bits of garnish, et cetera. Eventually, some drinkers came to prefer a simpler form of cocktail, the type their grandfathers might have enjoyed, and so they’d ask the bartender to make them an “old-fashioned” cocktail, of booze, sugar muddled into water to form a syrup, and bitters.

If you want to experience the ur-cocktail, or if you just enjoy deliciousness, the Old Fashioned is the drink for you.

Note that the original definition called for spirits of any kind. You can make a tasty Old Fashioned from whiskey, of course, but also from tequila, mezcal, brandy, rum, genever, and to a lesser extent, aquavit or gin. I have even been desperate enough to attempt a vodka old fashioned, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Stick with more robustly flavored spirits.

Fixing a cocktail for your dad on Father’s Day can be tough. If your father is the type to enjoy the occasional glass, chances are he’s been drinking the same bourbon or scotch for years because, well, that’s what he likes and always has. But this is supposed to be a special day, a time when you break with your habits but still stay inside your respective comfort zones. So try something different; just remember, when you’re preparing a drink for your father, there’s one simple rule to follow: don’t screw it up.

This one’s hard to screw up. The Old Fashioned is one of the most venerable of cocktails, predating not only the motor car but the presidency of Abe Lincoln. Properly made, it’s strong, but not too much, and sweet, but not too much; most important, it’s dead simple to make, and absolutely delicious.

There’s too much orthodoxy thrown about with cocktails, so instead of indicating a “right” or “wrong” way of making this, I’ll simply say this is the traditional way from the Old Fashioned’s youth. It differs from most Old Fashioneds you’ll find today in its absence of fruit and soda water; the former makes the drink sweeter than is strictly necessary, and the latter makes it weaker. If you use a decent whiskey—which you should—you won’t need the additional sweetness or the distracting flavors from the fruit; and if you add a couple of good-size chunks of ice to the glass, the time you spend chatting with your dad over the drink will take care of the additional dilution.

My kids are still at the chocolate milk and root beer stage, but in another couple of decades I look forward to sitting down with them on a Sunday in June, and having them take care of what I want (for a change). When they do, if they bring out one of these, I’ll know I did at least a few things right.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

Old Fashioned

About This Recipe

YIELD: makes 1 cocktail
RATED:

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey (use something good, but not over-the-top)
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar (or 1 sugar cube)
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters; Angostura is traditional and works well; Fee Brothers’ Whiskey Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned Bitters are better

Procedures

Place the sugar in an Old Fashioned glass and douse with the bitters; add a few drops of water, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and give a few good stirs to further dissolve the sugar, then add a couple of large ice cubes. Stir a few times to chill; garnish, if you like, with a slice of orange and a cherry, though it’s perfectly fine to skip this step. If you’re accustomed to topping the drink with soda, at least give it a chance once without; your father brought you up to be open-minded.

marg

Margarita

I would love to say that everyone remembers their first margarita, but we all know that’s not true. I think it’s even possible that no one remembers their first margarita.

I admit, sometimes when I’m out to dinner at a Mexican or Tex-Mex place and I want a margarita, I don’t always care whether it’s made with fresh ingrdients or from pre-mix. But I will never buy pre-mix for my home bar, and neither should you. The margarita is a simple recipe, just three ingredients, so there’s no excuse for pre-mix. Get a good tequila (100% agave), a decent triple sec, and fresh limes, and you’re almost guaranteed a great drink.

Note: Fresh-squeezed lime and lemon juice are an absolute must for this recipe—the bottled stuff pales in comparison. To make simple syrup, measure an equal volume of granulated sugar and water into a small saucepot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely melted. Allow to cool before using. Extra simple syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

This recipe uses the International Bartenders Association’s ratios of tequila, cointreau, and citrus juice, which makes a pretty strong margarita. Feel free to add extra syrup or to water it down some to suit your own tastes. To make short work of your lemons and limes, read our citrus juicer review here.

Fresh Margaritas

About This Recipe

YIELD: makes 10-12
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
THIS RECIPE APPEARS IN: Equipment: Citrus Juicers

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, from 6 to 10 lemons
  • 3/4 cup lime juice, from 8 to 12 limes
  • 3 1/2 cups high quality tequila, preferably reposado
  • 2 cups Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 2 quarts ice cubes

Procedures

Combine all ingredients in large pitcher and stir to combine (you’ll probably need to make two batches, unless you have a very large pitcher). Serve immediately in salt-rimmed glasses filled with ice.

mai

Mai Tai

My tiki-swilling friends are all saying now, “About time you got a tiki drink on here, Dietsch.” It ain’t every bar that does a Mai Tai correctly; in fact, it’s probably still relatively rare to find one that does, unfortunately. Which is all the more reason to learn how to make them at home. The hardest part is finding everything you need: two rums (preferably, though one will do, if it’s a rich-tasting dark rum), orange curaçao, and orgeat (try the one from Small Hand Foods.) Shake everything and strain it over fresh ice. (Heck, you don’t even have to do that; I’ve often just dumped the entire mixing glass into a chilled rocks glass and called it a day.)

If you’ve ever been to a luau-themed party or exotic bar, or sipped your way through a beach vacation, chances are you’ve been served a mai tai. Unless you’re especially lucky or just happen to have a thing for tiki drinks, however, chances are even better you’ve been served a fraud.

Spawned from the rum-soaked genius mind of Trader Vic” Bergeron, the mai tai is one of the most regal refreshments in the exotic-drink universe. Originally made with 17-year-old Jamaican rum, imported French orgeat, Dutch curaçao and fresh-squeezed lime juice, the mai tai quickly became a phenomenon; it also quickly became perverted. Hordes of Trader Vic-wannabes took wild stabs at recreating Bergeron’s long-secret recipe, and the result is what we all-too-often experience now: a sweet, murky drink filled with assorted fruit juices and syrups, with little resemblance to the original swoon-worthy concoction.

Of course, it was probably destined to happen. In the heyday of the Polynesian palaces, owners such as Bergeron considered their recipes to be trade secrets, and ripping off or attempting to clone a competitor’s drink was a common practice. Plus, Bergeron even changed his own recipe: the mai tai became so popular that supplies of the original aged rum were depleted, so the restaurateur had to improvise the flavor by mixing two other types of rum.

As winter lurches toward spring, it’s a good time to reach for the rum and the flowery shirt. So put on some Martin Denny, mix up a mai tai and start peering down the calendar; warmer days are up ahead.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

Mai Tai

About This Recipe

YIELD: makes 1 cocktail
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: cocktail shaker

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Jamaican rum (Appleton Extra is a good choice; for a bit more authentic flavor, substitute 1 once of Saint James 15-year Hors D’Age rum for 1 ounce of the Appleton)
  • Juice of 1 medium lime, about 1 ounce (save the shell for garnish)
  • 1/2 ounce curaçao
  • 1/4 ounce orgeat
  • 1/4 ounce rock-candy syrup (simple syrup with a drop or two of vanilla extract)
  • mint for garnish

Procedures

  1. 1

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of fresh mint.

cosmo

Cosmopolitan

Yes! The Cosmopolitan is on this list! Why the hell not? It’s a popular drink, and so if you host parties with any regularity, someone will ask you for one. (I made so many at one party, I should have premade and bottled them.) And you know what? It’s a better drink than you think it is.

Sidecar, Whiskey Sour, Margarita, Daiquiri. These drinks have something fundamental in common: they’re all sours. Sours are fundamental cocktails. Take a base spirit, add citrus, and polish it off with a sweetener, usually (but not always) triple sec. Tweak the balance as you will, but sours made well are always delicious.

Sidecar: brandy, lemon juice, triple sec. Whiskey sour: Bourbon, lemon, triple.Margarita: tequila, lime, triple. Daiquiri: rum, lime, simple syrup.

Let’s try a different base spirit: citrus vodka. To finish out the Sour Experience, add the requisite triple sec and citrus, in this case, lime. For variety, add another fruit flavor: cranberry, why not?

The Cosmopolitan is a cultural touchstone because once upon a time, Dale DeGroff got one into the hands of Madonna at the Rainbow Room and it became the drink to be seen with. Then HBO and SJP, of course, made the drink ubiquitous and clichéd.

Nevertheless, sours are fundamental cocktails, and the Cosmopolitan is, simply stated, the best Vodka Sour around.

Cosmopolitan

About This Recipe

YIELD: 1 cocktail
ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 4 minutes
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Cocktail shaker and strainer

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces citrus-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau, preferably)
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice (fresh, fresh, fresh; no Rose’s)
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Procedures

  1. 1

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

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Mint Julep

A few years ago, we lived in an apartment with backyard access. In addition to grilling out, smoking cigars, and enjoying cocktails on the veranda, we kept a garden. One year, the mint came in so abundantly we had mint juleps every day for a week. That was a great week.

Time for a Drink: Mint Julep

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 ounces bourbon, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, to taste, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water (or use 2 tsp. simple syrup)
  • 8 to 10 leaves fresh mint
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish
  • Crushed ice

Procedures

  1. 1

Place the sugar and water at the bottom of a julep cup or tall glass and stir until sugar is dissolved (or speed the process by using simple syrup). Add the mint leaves and gently bruise with a wooden muddler or a wooden spoon. Take care not to overwork the mint, but swab the sides of the glass with the mint’s aromatic oils. Half-fill the glass with crushed ice and add the bourbon, stirring to combine. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until the outside of the glass frosts. Add more crushed ice if needed to fill, and generously adorn the drink with sprigs of fresh mint. Serve with a short straw, so the fragrance of the mint bouquet will greet the drinker with each sip.

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