Traditional recipes

Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong? (Slideshow)

Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong? (Slideshow)


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The do’s and don’ts of home bartending

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We shake a cocktail when the ingredients are of different weights. Mixers like citrus juices are heavier than liquor, and need to be shaken in order to emulsify, aerate, and bruise the cocktail. A good rule of thumb to remember: only shake a drink that uses juice, egg, or cream in its recipe. Experiment with my version of a Cosmopolitan for a delicious shaken cocktail.

Click here for the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan recipe.

Know When to Shake ‘Em

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We shake a cocktail when the ingredients are of different weights. Experiment with my version of a Cosmopolitan for a delicious shaken cocktail.

Click here for the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan recipe.

Know When to Stir ‘Em

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I blame James Bond for the most common mistake made by a surprising number of professional bartenders out there: the propensity to shake absolutely every cocktail they serve. Bond’s preference for a shaken martini should be the exception, not the rule. When mixing a cocktail that contains only spirits, alcoholic mixers (like vermouth or Cointreau), or wine, stir the drink to maintain clarity. The result is a silky, cold, and well-balanced cocktail that is not aerated or bruised. Try this recipe for a Yellow Jacket adapted from Kosmas & Zaric’s fantastic book, Speakeasy, to master your stirring technique.

Click here for the Yellow Jacket Recipe

Keep It Clean and Tidy

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Nothing can ruin a good drink faster than poorly-rinsed shakers and strainers. Sticky prep surfaces are just gross, and can also contaminate an otherwise delicious cocktail. Errant pieces of fruit garnish or spills on the floor are dangerous slip and fall hazards. Make sure you pick up, rinse out, and wipe down between every cocktail you mix.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Perhaps the most overlooked detail of any bar, home or professional, is the quality of the ice. Small cubes and melty ice will guarantee a subpar, watered down cocktail. To start, invest in several silicon ice cube molds that make ice larger than one inch cubed. The more surface area to the ice, the slower it will melt, and the purer your chilled drink will be. When you mix, make sure your ice is well-frozen. If you’re really serious, make your ice using distilled water for the cleanest product possible.

Shake It Like You Mean It

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My biggest bartender pet peeve is lazy shakers, and they’re everywhere. Half-hearted shaking will result in a hodgepodge of a cocktail that’s usually not worth drinking. When you shake your drink, fit your pint glass firmly into your shaker cup, bring it up above shoulder level, and hold it parallel to the floor. Shake it vigorously for at least fifteen seconds, and often longer if using bigger ice cubes. Don’t hold back. If you think you’re shaking too hard, shake harder. You’ll know it’s ready when the outside of the shaker cup is frosty.

Learn the Art of Muddling

Like slothful shaking, improper muddling ruins more cocktails than bad liquor ever did. To do it right, make sure you have a long muddler so you don’t scrape your knuckles on the rim of the glass, and that it’s not made of lacquered wood (that stuff chips off and gets into your drink). Muddle in a pint glass or shaker cup — something sturdy — on a stable surface. Standing over your cup, press down and twist until all the juice is squeezed out of the fruit and the herbs are bruised but not pulverized. Try this recipe for my Jalapeño Mojito to perfect your muddling skills.

Click here for the Jalapeño Mojito Recipe

Pay Attention to Your Ingredients

If you’re throwing a cocktail party, and your guests are lining up, take this advice from a pro: slow down, take a breath, and pay attention to what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’re liable to mistake Scotch for bourbon, salt for sugar, or lemon for lime. Plus, you don’t want to serve a sloppy drink. I promise your guests would rather wait another minute for a delicious cocktail than get a gross one sooner.

Taste, Taste, Taste

If you like to cook, you know you’d never serve a dish you hadn’t tasted. The same should be true for the cocktails you make. Use a drinking straw like an eye dropper, and make sure the drink tastes the way it should. If it doesn’t, you can always adjust it.

Measure Everything

Sure, it looks impressive when your bartender quickly counts out a cocktail’s ingredients using a speed pour spout, but the fact is, most bartenders are really bad at it. They serve inconsistent drinks, and waste a lot of liquor in the process. Use jiggers for measuring your cocktails, and you’ll be guaranteed to serve the best drink possible every time. I keep three sizes: ½-ounce, 1-ounce, ¾-ounce, 1 ½-ounce, and 2-ounce.

Keep Glass Away From Ice

You know what looks exactly like ice inside an ice bucket? A shard of finger-slicing, gut-shredding glass. Never, ever, ever use a glass as an ice scooper, because even the smallest chip that ends up in a drink could be very dangerous for whomever is drinking it. If you do happen to break or chip glass into your ice (which happens), all that ice needs to be thrown away, and the container thoroughly cleaned.

Keep Your Sticky Fingers Out of the Glass

I see this all the time, and it drives me nuts, so let me be clear — there is a proper way to hold a glass, and that’s around its middle or by its stem. Don’t stick your fingers inside the glass, or hold it around its rim. Always wash your hands before making drinks, and keep them clean as you go. Whatever oils, sweat, or gunk are on your hands are likely to contaminate the flavor of anything you pour into that grubby glass. Also, it’s nasty.


Cocktail

A cocktail is a term relating to any type of alcoholic mixed drink. Most commonly, cocktails are either a combination of spirits, or one or more spirits mixed with other ingredients such as fruit juice, flavored syrup, or cream. Cocktails vary widely across regions of the world, and many websites publish both original recipes and their own interpretations of older and more famous cocktails. [1] [2] [3]

The origins of the word cocktail have been debated. The first written mention of cocktail as a beverage appeared in The Farmers Cabinet, 1803 in the United States. The first definition of a cocktail as an alcoholic beverage appeared three years later in The Balance and Columbian Repository (Hudson, New York) May 13, 1806. [4] Traditionally, cocktail ingredients included spirits, sugar, water and bitters, [5] however, this definition evolved throughout the 1800s, to include the addition of a liqueur. [6] [5]

In 1862 Jerry Thomas published a bartenders’ guide called How to Mix Drinks or, The Bon Vivant's Companion which included 10 cocktail recipes using bitters to differentiate from other drinks such as punches and cobblers. Cocktails continued to evolve and gain popularity throughout the 1900s, and in 1917 the term "cocktail party" was coined by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri. With wine and beer being less available during the Prohibition in the United States (1920–1933), liquor-based cocktails became more popular due to accessibility, followed by a decline in popularity during the late 1960s. The early to mid-2000s saw the rise of cocktail culture through the style of mixology which mixes traditional cocktails and other novel ingredients. [7]

In the modern world and the Information Age, cocktail recipes are widely shared online on websites like Allrecipes.com and Food.com. Cocktails and restaurants that serve them are frequently covered and reviewed in tourism magazines and guides. [8] [9] Some cocktails, such as the Mojito, Manhattan, and Martini have become both staples in most restaurants [10] and pop culture phenomenons, martinis specifically being associated with James Bond due to the Goldfinger phrase "shaken, not stirred".


How Viral Recipes Shut Out BIPOC Food Creators

Birria tacos, feta pasta, and viral quesadilla hacks celebrate white appropriation at the expense of the ingenuity of chefs and cooks of color.

You scroll Instagram and see the same foods over and over again. Birria tacos. Elote. Feta pasta. Quesadilla "hacks." Popcorn salad. Taco tomatoes. Nachos being made on a counter. Fruit sherbet punch being served from a toilet. Yes, a toilet.

If you&aposve been on social media in any capacity, you&aposve seen some of these viral dishes saturate your timeline.਋ut why do the videos feel so dismissive of safe and proper cooking techniques? What about respecting ingredients? Why are these dishes being made by someone who isn&apost well-versed in the cuisine? More often than not, the entire dish feels like an afterthought something that someone threw together for the sake of going viral. Viral food trends feel like the equivalent of submitting your essay at 11:59 p.m. because you just had to have something turned in regardless of it being any good or not. The lack of intention behind these foods irks me.਋IPOC chefs and cooks like me aren&apost able to do things half-assedly and get far in this industry.

For us, to even get our feet in the door of both the food media and restaurant industries, we have to be twice as good as everyone else. Before the content even gets made, we have to push past the gatekeeping, fight to be given equal pay and a livable wage, and struggle to be respected in and out of the kitchen. We have to fight back against cultural appropriation within the culinary world just to be seen and heard. In the age of social media, culinary creators have to not only be a cook and recipe developer they have to be a brand manager, food photographer and editor, writer, and online customer-facing personality for mainstream food media that is ultimately centered on whiteness. And when we don&apost fit into the neat little box of whiteness, it&aposs harder to make professional strides the way other, often mediocre, food personalities can.

The real reason why I'm exhausted about viral food trends is because they're centered on whiteness and being palatable to the masses.

Viral food trends intersect with a variety of issues that impact the culinary industry and its workers but are mainly driven by the erasure of BIPOC cooks&apos work through cultural appropriation (specifically when white chefs share recipes without giving credit to their origin and background) and industry gatekeeping. Going viral is a quick way to bypass all those gates. It means increased exposure to your work. Exposure means professional opportunities and financial gains from sharing work like cookbook deals and brand partnerships. Influencers and lifestyle bloggers often get cookbook deals and culinary accolades without having spent much time in front of a stove or working in the culinary industry itself. 

I&aposve found that when many BIPOC people speak out against viral food dishes for their erasure of cultural significance to a particular cuisine or for using incorrect ingredients or methods for traditional foods, our concerns are quickly dismissed by folks who applaud and uphold the outdated norms in this industry. People fawn over the influencer with the largest following instead of exploring food from the lens of the cooks who grew up eating and sharing these dishes. The same influencers who almost never give credit to the people and cultural dishes that inspire them to create (and I use this term very loosely here) the most popular and successful recipes online. Personally, I know a handful of colleagues who have been asked to ghostwrite and develop recipes for cookbooks by social media gurus the cooks would have to provide all of the labor behind the project without the recognition, accolades, and financial success that comes with it. 

I remember sharing my frustration behind the now infamous feta pasta one day on Twitter. As a professional cook, seeing countless videos of a greasy, chalky, and under-seasoned pasta dish truly sent me over the edge. I knew that if I made something like this at my former job, it wouldn&apost make it to the pass and it definitely wouldn&apost make it to a guest&aposs table. I wouldn&apost even make it for a family meal. I was met with numerous replies about how delicious it was when the original recipe had 11 additional ingredients mixed into it. And that&aposs the point here: If you have to doctor up a trendy recipe, at that point, you&aposre no longer making that original recipe. You didn&apost make the viral feta pasta, you made something else. 

Shared collective trauma shouldn't be the single driving force behind pushing us into the spotlight

Cooks&apos shared frustrations over excessive, trendy foods are often dismissed as being too picky, elitist, or contrarian about things that are trendy, or not wanting someone else to cook our foods. But those aren&apost the reasons why I am "complaining." The real reason why I&aposm exhausted about viral food trends is because they&aposre centered on whiteness and being palatable to the masses. The majority of the people who have made viral foods viral are white or white-passing particularly when it comes to foods and cuisines that originate from other ethnic groups. 

The inequities that originate in viral videos are further entrenched by mainstream food media. Trendy foods make their way into mainstream media thanks to how saturated they are on our social media feeds. And at the end of the day, clicks reign supreme. The people behind these viral trends are the ones being ushered into the mainstream food media spotlight, making dishes that food industry folks wouldn&apost even dare pass to the window during a busy dinner service.

I personally wouldn&apost dream of cooking a significant dish from another culture, calling it my own without any credit to the original cuisine, and then doing it wrong. And that&aposs where the difference lies: Many BIPOC chefs and cooks aren&apost able to go viral and find success from it. We have to toe the line of being in two different worlds at once. Writer Ryan Broderick&aposs recent newsletter summed it up best: "There&aposs an entire content economy now built around videos of beautiful white women in bland unfurnished vaguely Californian homes doing repulsive things to food."

It&aposs the same thing regardless of the timeline or the feed: A constant flurry of videos with white hands often preparing and cooking non-white foods, white hands plating the food, and a white person (often a woman) smiling and eating on camera. What we don&apost see behind the multicultural dishes shared? The brown hands that spice and braise beautiful and indigenous ingredients to make savory and filling curries. The Black hands that create a delicious and culturally significant recipe like soup joumou. The brown hands that introduced corn, tacos, and quesadillas to the entire world. 

The erasure of cultural and racial significance for some of these dishes isn&apost new. It&aposs unfortunately been happening for years before last summer&aposs reckoning in the wake of George Floyd&aposs murder and the national Black Lives Matter protests. Last year, many mainstream food media outlets shared infographics or solid black squares on their feeds to acknowledge their stand against white supremacy and racism, made big announcements about how they&aposre going to address the lack of diversity within their own brand and/or professional circles, and pledged to stop cultural appropriation in its tracks. But a year later we&aposre still seeing the same thing regurgitated in a different format, thanks to viral food trends. And nothing has changed. Most brands and companies will instead take the time to simply disable comments on their social media posts that feature Black and brown creators rather than mediate and address their rabid fanbase from spewing racist vitriol in the comments section.

Shared collective trauma shouldn&apost be the single driving force behind pushing us into the spotlight, which was made evident last year. And that same trauma shouldn&apost be part of gaining success and notoriety in traditionally white food spaces. Before then, it was common practice for brands and publications to hastily approach us for work during key celebratory months in the year, most notably Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, or the Lunar New Year. And that&aposs something that mainstream food media still needs to sit with and unpack. 

BIPOC food creators shouldn&apost have to be well-versed in only one kind of cuisine and be pigeonholed by our nationality or background. We shouldn&apost be tokenized as the official voice of a cuisine we grew up with. We need to see a variety of Black and brown hands preparing and cooking all kinds of food online, the same way white food personalities do: Going viral outside of our own communities and embracing all of the professional successes and opportunities that come with it. In the meantime and until that happens, we&aposll be in our own little intersectional corners of the internet, creating recipes and cooking without the fanfare of becoming the new, trendy social media darling.


If you’re looking to mix up great cocktails that you’ll want to serve again and again, you’ve come to the right place. It’s easy to find the drink you want here – whether you’re looking for your favourite brand, mixer or other ingredient of choice. There are 'Classic Cocktails' like the minty, zesty Mojito, 'Easy Cocktails' such as a Vodka Tonic, or 'Amazing Cocktails' as in the honey and bergamot-flavoured Golden Flip. You can create a delicious vodka cocktail, opt for Edible Cocktails or branch out with non-alcoholic 'Mocktails'. Choose one that fits your tastes, or pick anything that appeals – either way you can’t go wrong.

Until recently, if you asked people what they’d consider the perfect occasion to enjoy a well-made cocktail, they’d cite the cocktail party. This time-honoured event with a Martini served in the chilled v-shaped glass to a roomful of people, has been the default image. Sure enough, the first cocktail party is reputed to have been held by a Mrs Julius Walsh of St Louis, Missouri in 1917, with around 50 guests turning up before lunch to enjoy recent inventions like the Martini and Aviation at her colonial-style home, and it’s been styled on that moment ever since.

Until now that is. Thanks to the explosion of interest in cocktails, and the good work we’re doing here at thebar.com, many people are realising that there’s no need for a major social event to prompt a proper cocktail. You can mix and stir at any time – whether relaxing at home with a great film on the TV, enjoying the match with a few mates, catching up with a friend or sharing dinner. There doesn’t have to be a formal backdrop, and your cocktails will be all the better for it.

Smirnoff No.21 vodka, Gordon’s gin, Captain Morgan rum and Johnnie Walker whisky can provide the base, with delicious fresh juices such as orange, cranberry and pineapple as mixers. Or you can top your spirit of choice with tonic, lemonade, cola or ginger ale for a tasty, fizzing blend.

The Screwdriver cocktail for example, is a 1960s creation where you just add tangy orange juice to vodka. It’s so called because oil workers in the US stirred it together with a screwdriver, but there’s no need to rifle through your toolbox – a spoon will do just fine.

Then there’s the inspiringly named Cuba Libre, symbol of this infamous tropical island in the Caribbean that’s the source of so much mythology and glamour. The Cuba Libre is just rum mixed with cola, plus a lime garnish. Meanwhile, a Highball describes any spirit plus mixer, in a long glass with ice – and it dates all the way back to the 1890s.

The oldest are often the best

Simple, right? A classic cocktail doesn’t involve major shaking, straining, blending or body contortion – in fact often the oldest ones are the simplest. Nor does it require you to have a backpack full of shakers, muddlers and sieves, ready to unleash on your unsuspecting guests at any moment. You can play your part in cocktail history with relative ease. That’s why we want to take you through some of the oldest cocktails out there as the calendar unfolds.

Wimbledon, for example, has adopted the Pimm’s and lemonade, and the Mint Julep is now the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in the US, so let’s follow their lead. With friends over to grab some sunshine and grilled food at your barbecue, pour together Pimm’s and lemonade over ice. Or mix up the intensely aromatic Mint Julep as the meat and veg sizzle. You don’t need a proper muddler to extract the delicious mint leaf oils. A little friction from the sugar granules with a rolling pin will do.

When you’re planning a wedding reception, birthday party or housewarming, jot down a range of delicious cocktails. A Martini, Moscow Mule, G&T and non-alcoholic Mustique Fizz will help you cater for a whole range of guests. You can liven up that glass of sparkling wine by adding Pimm’s plus a slice of orange to create a rich, subtly herb-tinged Pimm’s Royale.

Another option is the Rum Punch or Gin Punch, offering something for everyone to share. The Punch is the oldest-known cocktail in the world, brought over from India to England in the 17th century. The word ‘punch’ comes from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘pañc’. So to say that you’re mixing a tried and tested formula is an understatement.

The Punch even predates the term ‘cocktail’ itself. Nowadays a cocktail refers to any mixed drink, but back in 1804 the newly invented ‘cocktail’ was a ‘Sling’ – spirit, sugar, citrus and sparkling water – with added bitters. Hence at the time the cocktail was also known as a ‘Bittered Sling’.

You can see the Sling’s influence in the Collins and Rickey of today, as well as the early Sours (balancing citrus and sugar). These drinks are great on a summer’s day, adding zest and length. But the cocktail is also about big flavours, and these came in the form, chronologically speaking, of bitters, liqueurs (the Margarita and the Sidecar) and vermouth as with the Martini. Try them all, and see which you like the best.

But back to that a tasty, five-ingredient combination made from alcohol, water, sugar, lemon and tea or spices: the Punch is one old-timer that works. You’ll probably miss out the ‘tea’ part of the five ingredients, however lots of fresh fruit with top quality spirits can be truly delicious. A punch can also be mixed well ahead of time – a day or two before the party for a macerated flavour. Then just add the juices at the last minute for a fabulous party centrepiece. If you have a large, decorated bowl and ladle, that’s all the better, giving you time to meet and greet your guests.

Sloe down and serve up

As you stretch out your barbecuing to extract the very last drop of summer, Gordon’s Sloe gin is the option as the leaves begin falling, with sloe berries macerated in gin. It can be used in a delicious G&T, or the classic Bramble cocktail – that mid-1980s invention of bartender Dick Bradsell with a drizzle of crème de mûre for a taste of autumn.

Then there’s the Toddy, effectively a winter version of the Punch with its egg, spirit, sugar, cream and spice all brought together. We’re moving into winter now, with the rain pouring down and a cold wind blowing outside (although that’s not mandatory for enjoying this drink). The Toddy is probably the descendant of the ‘Lamb’s Wool’, an early 17th century cocktail that took fruit purée and then mixed it with beer, along with spices before heating, and has been revived at Hick’s bar and restaurant in London.

In fact, if it weren’t for a grain surplus from the 1688 harvest, many of our cocktails would be beer-based. Thanks to so much grain entering the market that year, the English king William of Orange dramatically reduced the tax on the commodity, which lead to the setting up of so many 18th century distilleries and the subsequent popularity of gin. You can add some ale or lager to your Toddy just for old times – or use cider as in our Harvest Spice, a cocktail created specially for thebar.com which has Don Juilo Blanco tequila, lemon juice and the sweetness of agave syrup too.

Old Fashioned approach

But you don’t have to heat your drinks just because it’s winter. Although it seemed like everyone was putting their cocktails over the fire pre-20th century, there are some classics that come cold. The Old Fashioned is one example.

This fabulous cocktail was so named back in the 19th century because the new-fangled drinks were making customers nostalgic for simpler, more traditional drinks. They’d ask for cocktails ‘made the old-fashioned way’ – like this pour of whiskey and bitters. Another signal of its longevity is the use of a sugar cube – they didn’t have sugar syrup back in the early-to-mid 19th century, so the soaking and mashing in an Old Fashioned is one way to dissolve the granules and prevent them sticking in your teeth. Enjoy with Bulleit Bourbon in the classic, or use delicious Zacapa for a rum variation instead.

It’s how cocktails used to be mixed: with no fizzing, fruits or fancy flavours – and it’s delicious.

You can tell the Old Fashioned is a turbo-charged classic because it has a glass named after it. It’s one of the few cocktails, like the Martini and the Collins, to be so celebrated.


The Manhattan is another with the dark spirit look that fits the season, but it’s even more suited to parties than the Old Fashioned because essentially the Manhattan is a dark Martini. Like this classic drink, the Manhattan is a late 19th century combination of spirit and vermouth, and, like the Martini it’s served in an elegant v-shaped glass. The aromatics from the fortified wine escape into the nostrils as you drink, stem in hand. Most likely invented in the 1870s by a bartender on Broadway, it’s the number one New York cocktail – apart from, that is, the Cosmopolitan.

Unusual because it’s a classic of very recent times, the Cosmopolitan was refined by New York bartenders in the 1990s. It’s the epitome of the great three-part combination of spirit, liqueur and fruit juice. Cranberry and vodka mark it as a modern drink, with orange liqueur adding some traditional depth. The Cosmopolitan looks like a summer tipple, but those classic Christmas flavours of orange and cranberry give it a festive edge.

In fact you’ll be dazzled by a number of cocktails at this time of year. One of them is the Baileys Chocolate Orange. As the tinsel glitters on your tree, and the presents sit waiting to be opened, Baileys Chocolat Luxe, Grand Marnier and grated cinnamon has all the flavour to go perfectly with some mince pies. Or you might want go more Christmas cake in style. The Old Fashioned Christmas is a spicy, zesty treat with star anise, cinnamon, orange zest and cranberry, all mixed with 35ml of Smirnoff No.21. Or there’s a kind of Christmas Punch in the form of the delicious Baileys Eggnog, a comforting mixture of aromatic spices blended together with egg that dates back to medieval times.

But you don’t have to combine lots of ingredients to make a fine Christmas tipple. Malt whisky served neat works beautifully: pour your dram in a glass over ice and add water to taste. Mixing doesn’t get much easier than this! Talisker 10 year old or its brethren Talisker Storm come with a dash of peat and salt from the windswept distilleries on the Isle of Skye. There are lighter options from the classic Speyside region in Scotland: the rich and rounded Singleton of Dufftown, the smooth and silky Cardhu 12 year old or the fruity, spicy Cragganmore 12 year old. Or there are the floral, elegant Highland malts of Dalwhinnie and Oban. You can taste the years of experience and ageing that go into making these fine whiskies.

Eventually the snow must melt and the thermometer start to rise, so it’s time to look at another classic before the ice in the shaker goes too. The Flip was traditionally a winter recipe, made by dipping a red-hot iron poker into a rum, beer and sugar mixture. The poker frothed or ‘flipped’ the cocktail. However nowadays you don’t need to go to such alarming lengths by purchasing a poker and finding your nearest fire – the characteristic froth on a Flip can be obtained by shaking with egg. And that brings us to that festival of chocolate in March or April.

Try our delicious Easter Flip to celebrate the blooming of the daffodils, mixing Smirnoff No.21 with egg, cream and white crème de cacao, nutmeg and chocolate. After this year-long tour of cocktails, we’ve come full circle. Which just shows that it’s time to get mixing!


My initial reaction was that this Negroni was very citrusy — I loved that.

This drink wasn't nearly as bitter as the others since it had just a bit of that bite as an aftertaste. My only regret is that I didn't put enough ice in the shaker, so the served drink wasn't nearly as cold as I would've liked.

The recipe recommends between 1 to 2 ounces of aperol. I went straight for the middle, 1.5 ounces, and thought it was perfect. I like the flavor of lemon more than orange anyway, so that swap was a great move in my book.

If I make this drink in the future, I would serve it over ice instead of neat, as well — the colder, the better.


Bebbo

Ted Haigh’s book “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” has been instrumental in surfacing lost recipes and liquors since it debuted in 2004. One such recipe is the Bebbo, an obscure cocktail featuring gin, lemon juice, orange juice and honey.

Not much is known about the Bebbo, but it likely descended from the Bee’s Knees, a 1920s classic containing gin, lemon juice and honey that is still popular today. Both drinks are dry and citrusy, accented by the rich taste of honey, which may have been used during Prohibition to mask the taste of subpar gin. But you don’t have to worry about low-quality gin these days: Pick your favorite London dry, and you can’t go wrong.

The original Bebbo recipe called for “orange juice,” which typically means juice squeezed from the common naval orange. This version, however, uses fragrant blood orange juice, adding a sweet seasonal twist and providing its trademark deep red hue. If you’re making the cocktail during the winter and spring months (roughly December through April) when the fruit is available, give blood orange a try. Otherwise, regular OJ has you covered.

Besides squeezing a lemon and pouring gin, the only task left is making the honey syrup. That is quickly accomplished by combining honey and warm water, so this is one forgotten cocktail that you can easily make at home.


Infusing Flavor

As another means of adjusting vermouth’s flavor profile, some bartenders turn to infusion techniques. Robin Wolf, who runs the bar at The Hatch Rotisserie & Bar in Paso Robles, Calif., was working on kegged cocktail recipes for an upcoming opening when she began experimenting with incorporating various ingredients into vermouth. Much like Jump, a key objective for Wolf was finding ways to introduce new flavors without having to bring additional sugars into the mix.

For one recipe, Wolf infused Lillet Blanc with dried rose petals for heightened floral aromatics in a Martini variation. “It’s surprisingly easy with a big flavor payoff, and you can do it at home with what you have on hand,” she says. “Be bold. Get creative. I’ve had success with everything from fresh fruits from the market [to] rosemary from my garden, even tea from my pantry. Things infuse at different rates, so start overnight and taste as you go.”


How to choose a blender for cocktails

Blenders can accomplish lots of tasks in the kitchen, from making morning smoothies to preparing and heating up soups, but there are a few key features to look for when shopping for a blender for cocktails.

Blender motor power ranges from 300 to over 1,000 watts 500-700 watts is sufficient to blend cocktails because the motor will be powerful enough to crush ice. Blenders with high-powered motors tend to work faster, but they can also be more expensive.

Look for a pitcher made of glass rather than plastic. Plastic scratches more easily and can absorb odors. As for size, a blender capacity of around 48 ounces can handle enough drinks for everyone at the party.

Pay attention to the dimensions and weight of the blender so you’re not stuck with a gadget that doesn’t fit in your cupboards. You also may prefer a blender that is easy to clean. Look for dishwasher-safe components and detachable blades for safe, hassle-free cleaning.


20 Bright, Refreshing Spring Cocktails to Welcome the Season

Chock-full of fresh seasonal ingredients, these drinks are the perfect way to ring in spring.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Spring is finally upon us! For most of the country, at least. It’s officially time to (safely and responsibly) frolic with (small groups of) friends, and we can’t think of a better way to do that than with a well-balanced cocktail in hand. Whether you reach for vodka, gin, or whiskey, edible flowers are always a solid move when getting into the swing of spring, from pretty-in-pink cherry blossoms to delicate pastel pansies. Not feeling flowery? No biggie. Fresh basil is always a solid choice (and easy to find in the supermarket), or turn up the volume with a whole bunch of herbs. You can’t go wrong with any of our favorite spring cocktails—the vibrant colors and fresh flavors are just the thing for celebrating the end of winter…and helping us get back into the swing of things.

Sakura Martini

Tokyo native Kenta Goto of Bar Goto in New York City has elevated the once-maligned saketini to a state of floral elegance by mixing Plymouth gin with oak-aged Junmai sake, sweet maraschino liqueur, and salted cherry blossoms. Get the recipe for the Sakura Martini »

Hibiscus Rose Vesper

To kick its flavor up a notch, this rosy pink cocktail calls for craft-distilled, Plantation vodka. Get the recipe for Hibiscus Rose Vesper »

Basil Martini

Herbal flavors have a natural affinity for gin, so we’re using basil in this martini riff. It’s a real illustration of how dramatically an herb garnish can affect a drink—there’s no basil in the drink itself, just a good gin, dry vermouth, and the aperitif Cocchi Americano—but the bright burst of basil scent on the nose brings an herbal element to the entire cocktail. Get the recipe for Basil Martini »

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Natasha David, head bartender of New York City’s Nitecap, grew up in Germany, where everything from wine to apple juice got gespritzt. Her bright fuchsia aperitivo mixes tannic hibiscus tea, sweet Lillet Rosé, and dry rosé with a hit of Prosecco. Get the recipe for Everything’s Coming Up Rosé »

Golden Chrysanthemum

Another from Kenta Goto, this drink pays tribute to the Japanese golden chrysanthemum flower with this amber, pear-flavored Champagne elixir. Get the recipe for Golden Chrysanthemum »

Floral Old Fashioned

Cameron Johnston of Gleneagles Hotel designed this drink for those who don’t usually go for a Scotch drink chamomile syrup and Dalwhinnie 15 combine for a delicate cocktail with a still-smoky finish. Get the recipe for Floral Old Fashioned »

Sweet Talking Son Cocktail

A cross between a sazerac and a whiskey smash, this cocktail recipe by Suffolk Arms head bartender Caitlin Ryan highlights the versatility of Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy, a brandy made in the American bourbon tradition. Unbeknownst to many, the traditional sazerac recipe called for brandy, as opposed to rye. Playing off Copper & Kings’ musical ethos—all barrels are sonically-aged, with music used to agitate the spirit—the name of the cocktail comes from a line in Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” Get the recipe for Sweet Talking Son Cocktail >>

Gin Campari Sour

Gin, Campari, and lemon are three ingredients that pair beautifully, but all have their sharp edges. Adding an egg white helps mellow and integrate these flavors without muting them, while also contributing a silky texture and an opacity that’s quite elegant in a vividly colored drink. Get the recipe for Gin Campari Sour »

Antilles Cocktail

Inspired by a cocktail at the now-closed Manhattan restaurant The Beagle, this delicately sweet, subtly floral cocktail is perfect as an after-dinner drink. Orange flower water makes a wonderful accent to armagnac’s notes of dried fruit and vanilla, while dry vermouth keeps the whole thing from becoming cloying. Get the recipe for Antilles Cocktail »

Gin: Bee’s Knees

The phrase the “bee’s knees” was used in Prohibition times as slang to mean “the best.” This cocktail, a gin sour that’s believed to have been created around that time, used lemon and honey to mask the harsh smell of bathtub gin. If your guest wants something refreshing with gin, look no further. Get the recipe for the Bee’s Knee’s cocktail »

The Verbena and Mint

Bar manager Jon di Pinto of Street ADL in Adelaide, South Australia, combines lemon verbena and gin for a crisp, refreshing summer cocktail. Get the recipe for The Verbena and Mint »

Elderflower Old Fashioned

Elderflower liqueur replaces the traditional sugar cube in this floral twist on an old favorite. Get the recipe for Elderflower Old Fashioned >>

Lavender Sour

JB Bernstein, bar manager at Vernick Food & Drink in Philadelphia, celebrates summer with this simple, floral gin cocktail, sweetened with lavender-infused syrup and garnished with lavender dust. Get the recipe for Lavender Sour >>

Water Lily

Crème de violette adds sweetness and an arresting purple color to a tart mix of gin, lemon juice, and triple sec in a cocktail based on one from Manhattan bar PDT. Get the recipe for Water Lily >>

Pendennis Cocktail

Pretty in pink with a delicate froth, this apricot-gin cocktail has a mesmerizing balance of floral, citrus, and fruity flavors. Get the recipe for Pendennis Cocktail >>

Rhubarb Fizz

This bubbly cocktail makes the most of rhubarb season. Get the recipe for Rhubarb Fizz »

Lavender Paloma

Our twist on the classic tequila and grapefruit cocktail uses mezcal, fresh grapefruit juice, and lavender simple syrup for a drink that’s simultaneously smoky, bright, and floral. Get the recipe for Lavender Paloma >>

Thousand-Dollar Mint Julep

This version of the classic three-ingredient cocktail—which combines three parts bourbon to one part of a simple syrup bracingly infused with fresh spearmint—is sanctioned by the Kentucky Derby itself as their official mint julep recipe. Get the recipe for Thousand-Dollar Mint Julep »

Blooming Champagne Cocktail

A single hibiscus flower scented with a drop or two of rose water turns a simple glass of sparkling wine into a showstopper of a cocktail. Get the recipe for Blooming Champagne Cocktail >>

Pink Negroni

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10 Things You Need To Know About Bitters

But those cocktails had one key ingredient that's not as well known today called bitters — alcoholic ingredients flavoured with herbal essences that are added to cocktails in very small quantities (think drops). Bitters like the yellow-capped Angostura are still recognizable today, and can often be found in supermarkets. But there are now a variety of longstanding classic brands, reinvented makers who'd gone quiet after Prohibition, and upstarts who are putting a new twist on an old ingredient.

Author Brad Thomas Parsons has long been a food and cocktail enthusiast, so it's natural that his curiosity was piqued when he started noticing homemade bitters and bottles he didn't recognize behind the bar beside the expected Angostura and Peychaud's. After some investigation, he became fascinated and published a book about the topic a few years ago. The popularity of bitters has only increased since.

"It seems trendy, it seems in the moment," Parsons says. "but it's an essential part of a well crafted cocktail, from the history of it to what's in the glass."

Story continues after slideshow:

Before Prohibition, bitters were an essential ingredient for any cocktail — key to the name itself, actually. But the U.S. government's crackdown on alcohol in the early part of the 20th century, and the passing of the Volstead Act in 1919, dealt bitters a huge blow: other than Angostura, Peychaud's, and a few orange bitters, they've all disappeared.

As people began rediscovering classic cocktail recipes, the reemergence of bitters followed. Kristen Voisey noticed the trend while she was living in Los Angeles, and brought it back to Canada when she opened her Toronto store BYOB, which specializes in vintage barwear and carries a wide selection of bitters. She now stocks more than 100 varieties and says she discovers a new brand nearly each week.

With all those options, bitters can be overwhelming, but they're definitely worth experimenting with. Both Parsons and Voisey suggest starting with the classics and branching out from there based on your own tastes and favourite drinks.

"It's sort of like building a liquor collection," Parsons says. "You don't run out and buy every bottle of gin."

Here are a 10 things to know about bitters—soon you'll be crafting a perfect Angostura Fizz with the best mixologists.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Angostura is probably the most recognizable bitters brand thanks to its yellow cap and over-sized wrapper. (The story is that the label is the result of either an ordering mistake or the using the wrong label, but it's been that way for a century.) These aromatic bitters — with flavours like cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon — are a key ingredient in classic cocktails like the Manhattan. "It's very versatile," Parsons says. "You can use it in so many drinks."

Peychaud's Bitters

These bitters are named after Mr. Antoine Amedie Peychaud, a pharmacist and Creole immigrant from what is now known as Haiti. Peychaud began dispensing curative bitters with anise notes out of his pharmacy in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1838. Peychaud dispensed his bitters in Cognac and fans began to ask for them by name at bars throughout the city. The iconic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac, uses these red-coloured bitters as a key ingredient.

Orange Bitters

Round out your collection of essential bitters with a bottle of orange bitters. This is an area where you can try a few different types of bitters, based on the flavours you like best. Angostura Orange Bitters, the only new bitters ever introduced in the company's 180-year history, has a straightforward orange flavour. Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6, another classic choice, is spicy with notes of cardamom, great for stronger spirits like scotch. Many other bitters companies offer an orange bitters, so you can have fun with this one and try a few different kinds.

Grapefruit And Other Citrus Bitters

Both Parsons and Voisey recommended choosing grapefruit bitters once you want to expand your collection. "It's a fun twist on the citrus," Parsons says. Vancouver company Bittered Sling makes a grapefruit and hops bitters, as does Bittermen's, which recommends using it with tequila drinks. You can also try to make your own recipe.

Other options for citrusy bitters include Scrappy's Bitters in lime and Fee Brothers in lemon.

Spicy Bitters

Add a kick to your drinks with bitters that recall spicy cuisines like Mexican and Thai. Parsons recommends Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters, which contains cacao, cinnamon, and spices and is recommended for use with aged liquors. Bad Dog's Fire and Damnation bitters contains a hint of smoke and capsaicin spice. Jerk bitters from Bitter End add considerable heat to a cocktail and black pepper bitters from Twisted and Bitter is great in a Caesar.

Fruit Bitters

You don't have to stop with citrus flavours — there are fruity bitters options for every taste. Cherry bitters, like the one by Fee Brothers, is nice in bourbon or adds a fun hint of cherry cola to a rum and coke, while Bittered Sling's plum and root beer bitters create a different carbonated beverage. For an unexpected flavour, try Bar Keep's apple bitters.

Celery Bitters

This is one to add to your collection if you're a fan of Caesars or Bloody Marys — it's a great compliment to the celery salt used in both drinks. They're also an excellent addition to a gin and tonic. Celery bitters were reintroduced by The Bitter Truth, but you can also try other varieties like the ones from Scrappy's Bitters or Fee Brothers.

Make Your Own

If you're really ambitious, or looking for a flavour you can't find in stores, you can try your hand at making your own bitters. Parsons has several recipes for homemade bitters in his book, Bitters, and online search will bring up many more.

Cook With Bitters

You don't have to stick to just cocktails — bitters can add some depth and flavour to your cooking as well. This is a great way to use bitters that recall a particular cuisine, like Chinese bitters by Bar Keep or Thai bitters by Bitter End, or to highlight a particular taste or ingredient with choices like Cardamom bitters by Scrappy's Bitters.

Explore The History

Bitters originated as a medicinal ingredient and they do have health benefits — a bottle is not the the cure-all it was sold as a century or so ago, but bitters are often used as digestive aids. You also don't have to drink them with alcohol — Voisey says pregnant women also enjoy a dash of bitters in tonic water or club soda.


Watch the video: Last Word cocktail - How to make the Last Word, the perfect Gin classic cocktail (May 2022).