You want to mix a simple nice drink for yourself, or your parter or a few friends. And you are thinking, maybe I can use that bottle of something, so you start searching for drinks with it. Good luck. You will find plenty of drinks with six-seven ingredients, some of those you never heard of…
I am not a bartender, but there are a few reasons I think this post is relevant after all:
- I am not so impressed with many drinks I order, despite they are made by professionals and contain fancy ingredients – I can often do better myself
- A lot of those extra ingredients are suger-syrup-artifical-flavour-stuff, that is not very nice
- I think, putting many ingredients in a drink just camouflages everything – if I put bourbon in it I want bourbon flavour
I use the established names of drinks when I know them. I do not invent names. You can often find multiple recipies for the same drink – if in doubt, trust the other source.
I have made a short list of simple base ingredients that are often used.
- Lemon (they are a bit bigger, and yellow)
- Lime (they are a bit smaller, and green)
- Sugar (Simple Syrup, see below)
- Coca Cola
- Dark Rum
- Bourbon whiskey
The sugar can be turned into Simple Syrup. Mix 1 part water and 1 part sugar, heat in microwave oven, stir/heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, cool (quickly with plenty of ice or slowly in fridge).
Glases and preparation
Cocktails are usually nice to serve in a Martini glass (to the far right above). For long drinks a Highballglas (middle) works fine, and a not too small whisky glass is also good for mixed drinks.
Most drinks should be served ice cold. Often it is enought to just add enough ice to the glas and pour the ingredients on top. If you are going to make many drinks, put the bottles in the freezer or fridge in advance.
A drink shaker is nice if you want to serve ice cold drinks without serving them with ice. But you need much ice and little drink content if you do not want your drink diluted by water. Most of the time, if you keep fruits and soda in the fridge and allow yourself to serve with ice, you will be fine. A real bartender would probably disagree here.
Drinks with just the Basics
Even with just the basics you can produce some very nice drinks.
- Gimlet: 4 parts Gin, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, martini glass
- Vodka Lime: 4 parts Vodka, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, martini glass
- Whisky Sour: 6cl Bourbon, 3 cl fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, the white of one egg (egg optional: shake well with plenty of ice in shaker), you might want to sweeten this drink with a little simply syrup if you added too little sugar
- White Lady: 1 part Cointreau, 1 part Gin, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas
- 4 cl Bourbon, juice from 1/2 lemon, juice from 1/2 orange, fill up with 7-up in a highball glass
Blue Curacao can produce drinks that look amazing (it is extremely blue, and if you mix it with something yellow, it turns very green), but it is trickier to make them taste good too.
- 1 part Blue Curacao, 1 part Bourbon, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas
- 1 part Blue Curacao, 1 part Dark rum, 1 part lemon juice, martini glas
- Arch de Triumph: 4cl Calvads, 2cl lemon juice, 2tsp sugar, (stir well with ice) serve in martini glass
- Apple Car: 4cl Calvados, 2cl Cointreau, 2cl lemon juice
- 4 cl Southern Comfort, squeeze 1/2 lime and leave pieces in highballglass, fill up with Coke.
- 6 cl Southern Comfort, 3 cl lemon juice, the white of one egg, shake well (like whisky sour, but using (already sweet) Southern Comfort instead of Bourbon and sugar.
- Margarita: 4 cl Tequila, 2 cl Cointreau, 2 cl fresh lime juice. Serve in martini glass. Remember to add salt to the edge of the glass (make wet with lime, dip in salt)
Vermouth / Martini
- Dry Martini: 6 parts Gin, 1 part Vermouth, martini glass, garnish with an olive (a piece of lemon or lime is also nice)
- Comfort Dry Manhattan: 4 parts Southern Comfort, 1 part Vermouth, martini glass
Long Island Iced Tea
Take a big glass, fill with ice. Then add 1cl Gin, 1cl Tequila, 1cl Vodka, 1cl White Rum, 1cl Triple Sec (or Cointreau), 2cl Lemon Juice and fill up with Coke (5cl, taste and try). I like to replace the Tequila with Laphroig (to make a Lapsang-iced-tea).
Ginger Ale is nice to mix. Fill a glass with ice. Squeeze and add a few lime wedges. Then add your choice of Vodka (Moscow Mule), Jack Daniels (Jack & Ginger) or Jameson (very nice). Finally fill up with Ginger Ale.
New Yorker: 4cl Bourbon, 1 lime wedge, 2-3 dashes (half teaspoon) grenadine. Stir well in glass with ice.
2cl white Rum + 2cl Cointeau + 2cl Lemon + a little Raspberry vodka + a smashed raspberry, in a cocktail glass with plenty of ice, was quite good!