Spring is a few weeks away and to be honest, there comes a point in a lad’s life when you can’t offer your guests beer, water or milk. Here are some basics you need to mix a cocktail at home. But before we get to the liquor, let’s start with basic cocktail equipment.
Cocktail Shakers: These come in a few different styles, but for all around home use I’d suggest the ones that have a strainer built into the top. It’s called a cobbler shake.
The other type is known as a Boston shaker, basically a stainless steel cup and a glass. You put the one on top of the other and shake. Then you would need a strainer to strain the drink, but its best we avoid that for now.
If you tread on the fancy side, you can get a bar spoon for those drinks that are best stirred and not shaken, and a muddler to muddle fruit and herbs into your drinks.
THE ESSENTIAL BOOZE
Now for the good part: what alcohol should you have on hand? I think the first question here should be; what do you like drinking?
•Most drinks start with gin, vodka, or whiskey. Pick either gin or vodka, whichever one you like best, so you can make Martini’s, Cosmo’s, Gimlets etc.
•Stock up on some premium whiskey so you can make some Manhattans or just pop an ice cube or two and enjoy.
•It’s important to add a bottle of tequila, some rum for Mojitos, Margaritas and Daiquiris.
Additional selections for specific drinks:
•Sweet Vermouth is used in Manhattans, and Dry Vermouth in Martinis.
•A bottle of select Bitters for a twist in flavour.
•Triple sec to make Cosmos, Sidecars and Margaritas.
Contrary to popular belief, nothing should be stored in the freezer or fridge except Vermouth. ‘But I enjoy my Martinis extra cold’. I’m quite sure you do, but all alcohol benefits from the addition of water that comes from mixing it with ice, and drink recipes take this into account. Do liquor stores sell their bottles of liquor in a fridge? No, they store them on the shelf. Also, anything that is 40% alcohol will last indefinitely.
Now go out there and be great.