Yes, children, it’s once again time to learn some of the standard cocktail repertoire. While I never advocate drinking to excess, one must notice that social gatherings amongst adults (or what passes for them in the modern day) involve much in the way of libations. Most nowadays seem to prefer quantity over quality, and imbibing huge amounts of low-grade booze over a quality drink, but that shouldn’t stop you from bringing a touch of class to the social proceedings!
You’ve already learned 10 or so cocktails, but there’s at least that many more in the standard repertoire. And so without further delay, let’s learn!
1) The Daiquiri
The daiquiris are a family of rum-based cocktails that typically utilize some sort of citric juice and a sweetener. It’s named after a beach in Cuba.
To make this drink, you need 4.5 centiliters of white rum, 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar (or 1.5 centiliters of simple syrup, which is a 1:1 mixture of granulated sugar stirred into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved; the mixture is then allowed to cool to room temperature), and 2.5 centiliters of lime or lemon juice (which you can alternatively get by cutting the fruit in half and squeezing the juice out of half of the fruit). Shake with cracked ice in a shaker and strain into a fluted cocktail glass when the shaker frosts over (See the first cocktail article for notes on glassware).
As usual, there are several variations of the Daiquiri (the banana daiquiri, the Hemingway Daiquiri, etc.), but I won’t go into those.
2) The Stinger
The stinger is a duo cocktail—which is to say a mixture of a two alcohols (more specifically, a strong spirit and a liqueur). In this case, the spirit is brandy (of any kind, although traditionalists insist on cognac) and the liqueur is white creme de menthe (a mint flavored sweet liqueur, also French).
To make this, take 2 parts brandy and 1 part white creme de menthe (typically 5 centiliters brandy and 2.5 centiliters creme, although you can adjust depending on the size of the glass).
This drink can be shaken or stirred. If shaken, pour all ingredients into a shaker, shake with cracked ice, strain, pour into cocktail glass. If stirred, pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir, and strain.
Variations include the Green Hornet (green creme de menthe instead of white), and the vodka stinger (take a wild guess).
3) Gin and Tonic
The gin and tonic is probably the most fundamental “highball” cocktail, which refers to the family of cocktails in which the non-alcoholic mixer is found in much higher proportions than the base alcohol. It’s also interesting to note that the bitter taste of its components cancel each other out.
The ingredients are the juice and rind of a 1/4 lime, 1 1/2 oz dry gin, and tonic water. Put the lime, gin, and ice cubes in an 8 oz glass, fill with tonic. The type of gin you use effects which fruit you ought to use—some prefer lemon, or orange. The lime is sufficient for the beginner, just keep the potential for alternative fruits in mind.
4) Tom Collins
To make this classic cocktail, you need 1 tea spoon powdered sugar (or 1.5 centiliters of simple syrup), 4.5 centiliters of gin, 3 centiliters/half a jigger of lemon juice, and six centiliters of seltzer. Dissolve sugar into the juice, add the gin, ice cubes, and seltzer. Stir well. Garnish with a lemon slice, cherry, and straw.
5) Planter’s Punch
A rum based cocktail, you’ll need one teaspoon of sugar (or 1 centiliter of simple syrup), 4.5 centiliters of dark rum, 3.5 centiliters of orange juice, 3.5 centiliters of pineapple juice, 2 centiliters of lemon juice, one centiliter of Grenadine syrup, and 3 or 4 Angostura bitters. Mix all except for the bitters with fine ice and shake, pour into a 10 oz glass unstrained. Top with the bitters, an orange slice, cherry, and mint sprig.
Old fashioned? A little bit. But frankly, a lot of bartenders these days don’t even know how to make these basic drinks. And if there’s one thing I like, it’s being better than the “professionals”. You should do the same!