Cocktails - like all fine things - have a culture, style, and traditional all their own, some of which is flair, but most of which comes from praticality and serving the best drink possible.
There are hundreds of styles of glasses, making it completely impractical for any home bar to stock all the options. Thankfully, that's a good thing - cause you only need five, which you can add as get excited about different styles of cocktails. The first three are absolute essentials, and the latter two are designed for specific classes of cocktails that are important to their enjoyment.
1. The Martini [or Cocktail] Glass: Traditional v-shaped
Turns out, James Bond had it all wrong. A martini is a drink that contains only spirits, and benefits quite a bit from stirring rather than shaking. Stirring creates a heavy, silky feel on the tongue, and avoids what connoisseurs called "bruising" the drink (integrating air bubbles). Of course, it's all about how you like it, but we hope you'll give this classic-style martini a try.
Just remember: a 3:1 gin (or vodka) to vermouth ratio keeps things refreshing, cold and balanced.
I remember when I first learned of mead...sophomore English, and we were working through Beowulf for the the first time, and the poem opens as the king has just built the great mead hall, Heorot. A whole building dedicated to something to drink? Must be delicious... I'll have to get my hands on some.
Ten years later, and I still haven't made my way to actually trying any, but buddy, with this sweet mead how-to, you better believe I'm gonna.
Rose's Lime Juice was created as a means to preserve citrus juice without alcohol in the 19th-century. And there's no better way to feature its unique properties than with a gimlet, a cocktail fashionable in the post-prohibition, Art Deco heyday of the 1930s and 40s.
The Jell-O shot - creating tiny flavored gelatin cups using vodka, tequila, or rum in the place of water - actually dates farther back than most of us would imagine... i.e. college campuses sometime in the 50s and 60s. The earliest recorded recipe, called "Punch Jelly," is found in the Bon Vivant's Companinion, writted by Jerry Thomas in the early 1860s.
Which means that the straight-up cherry or lime powder mixed with cheap liquor approach is a little antiquated, and could use an update.
Enter My Jello Americans, some youngsters from Philadelphia, who are committed to "the future of the Jello shot."
Featuring recipes like:
The Bloody Mary
The Old Fashioned, in many ways, sets the standard for cocktails. It may be the first drink ever actually called a cocktail, since that word's oldest written use references a recipe using whiskey, water, sugar, and bitters. It's name lends itself to an essential piece of drinkware, the old-fashioned (or rocks) glass, an 8 oz tumbler that house thousands of short, mixed drinks. And its very name, which comes from the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1880s, certainly posits it at the head of the cocktail table.
And they're fun, and quite easy to make. Here's how:
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or one sugar cube)
- 2 dashes
If you've ever made any sorta of beverage - a cocktail, iced tea or coffee, lemonade, etc - you've learned some basic science - sugar does NOT dissolve in cold liquid with a simple stir. It takes either 1) LOTS of agitation or 2) a warmer liquid. Sometimes, this is a good thing, as granular sugar is often a key ingredient to a drink that involves crushing or muddling, like a mint julep or a mojito. And sometimes, it's really annoying and inconvenient.
So, the beverage-world has long used a liquid sweetener known as "simple syrup" to incorporate sugar into drinks. It uses a basic "simple" ratio of 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Some approaches call for as much as 2:1 sugar to water, which increases efficiency, but I'd keep it 1:1, or at most 1.5:1. See, simple syrup provides not only sweetness to a drink, but also volume. AND, most cocktail recipes will presume a sugar level of 1:1, so it's best to stick with what the pros use.
Hello, and greetings from the ManMade Space Age Bachelor Pad! With a clink of our martini glasses, we're officially declaring May 2010 "Cocktail Party Month." Throughout May, we'll be featuring classy cocktail recipes, tips to stock your home bar, techniques, and all the food, fun, and ambience that goes into creating a classic cocktail party.
And we want YOU to throw your own cocktail party, so we're gonna help out. The week of May 24-29, we'll be hosting a ManMade Giveaway and supplies all the goodies you need to start becoming a master mixologist. So, stay tuned.
To start things off, let's pretend it's still two days ago, and make a
ManMade reader Stephen sent in this heads-up on an awesome sound festival that happened last week: BarBot 2010, a cocktail party served by RoboBartenders. Imagine the soundtrack - a little 8-bit bossa nova? Some Switched-On Esquivel! or Moog-y Martin Denny?
"BarBot is a celebration of cocktail culture and man-machine interface. Get a drink from an actual robot. Chat up a snarky electronic bartender. Listen to some graceful tunes being played by robotic music makers. And, after downing your sixth martini, you can finally admit that it’s the geeks who shall inherit the earth."
It seems like the original cocktail making robot fest is Roboexotica in Germany, where the robots above and below - Hobot and Bar2D2- were featured.