Sunday, August 7, 2011

CLINK! Intro and cocktail rules

Four Squares has been trying to get me to write semi-regular posts about cocktails, cocktail happenings, and similar topics for some time. I always thought it was a good idea, I’m just lazy and haven’t gotten motivated to do it, until now. I am an architect by training and disposition, but really love to make and drink cocktails. I got started with cocktails probably 14 years ago, give or take, and the first cocktail that I can recall was the vodka Martini (which is still one of my favorites). Over the years I’ve tried many different drinks, emptied many bottles of booze, and even experimented with my own recipes. The first thing I’d like to share with you my basic principles of making and drinking great cocktails:

1. Measure all ingredients. It is expedient to pour directly into a mixing glass, but this leads to poorly proportioned drinks. It is much better to take the time to measure the ingredients to be sure that the drink is properly made. You’ll also find that your drinks will be consistent from day to day, which has the side benefit of making it easier to compare different ingredient or proportions.

2. Cold is one of the key ingredients in most cocktails. Take the time to make sure the drink is nice and cold before serving or drinking. You may let the ingredients sit in the mixing glass for a minute or so, and make sure to shake or stir adequately to properly chill the drink. There’s nothing worse than a warm cocktail.

2A. A little ice melt is your friend. Ice melt is actually an expected part of most recipes. Don’t worry, your drink won’t be diluted, but what the ice melt will do is cut some of the alcohol and smooth out any rough edges, helping to blend everything together.

3. Presentation is important. Always serve a cocktail in the proper glass, be it a cocktail glass, double old fashioned, Collins, etc. And…

4. Don’t skimp on the garnish. Properly garnishing a drink is not only part of proper presentation, but garnish is meant to impart flavor and depth to the cocktail, and sometimes aroma as well. Usually this is very subtle, but try a classic vodka Martini with either a lemon twist or olives and you’ll experience the effects of garnish (both of these, by the way, are wonderful, but very different).

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are cocktail purists out there that will tell you to never change or modify a recipe. But it’s your drink-have fun with it and make it how you enjoy it. Maybe you like things a little drier, maybe a little sweeter-it’s up to you to make a drink that you and your friends enjoy.

6. Making a good cocktail will take a few minutes, don’t rush it.

7. Cheers!


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