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Cocktails

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posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:08 PM
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As a compliment to my Food Porn thread I thought it would be a nice edition to do one on cocktails as well.

Every great meal should begin with some sort of adult beverage, whether it is a glass of beer, wine or something a little bit fancier such as a homemade cocktail.

Cocktails have been around since the 1700’s and were initially used to mask the flavor and aroma of poorly made alcohol. Even though we no longer drink them for that reason the basic recipe is still the same; a base liquor or spirit, a mixer/modifier and typically a sweetener. The addition of bitters as a lifting or binding agent is still used in many cocktails and harkens back to drinks made the ‘old fashioned’ way which is where the drink of the same name, the Old Fashioned, takes its name.

Home cocktail making does not have to be a cumbersome process. While it is more exacting than cooking, where a pinch more or less of something, does not overly impact the finished process, building a cocktail is more similar to baking which will see you measuring out more precise amounts of spirits, mixers, sweeteners and bitters. The first things you will need are some pretty standard tools.

The Japanese, while the cocktail languished here in the 1970’s and early 80’s, were cornering the market on new and highly useful tools, first among these are their Yarai (pronounced Yar-ray) glasses. This heavy-bottomed mixing vessel allows you to stir and properly chill your drink. You will also need a metal stirrer to pair with this. Only purchase single piece stirrers and not the welded type which break rather quickly:


This set up is ideal for stirred drinks and allows you the opportunity to control the dilution of the drink much more precisely than other methods of preparation. In addition, for shaken drinks, you will need some form of shaker. Most professional bars use a Boston or 18-28 style shaker which is usually a pint glass and a stainless tin or two differing size stainless tins respectively. For home use I tend to go with what is called a cobbler shaker. This is a three-part shaker with a built in strainer and removable top for pouring. I have several different sizes depending on the type of cocktail I am making:



Additional tools you will need are a jigger (I prefer OXO’s clear jigger with ¼ ounce measurements), a Hawthorne strainer, muddler and a cone strainer for double straining fine particulate from your drinks:



A decent set of glasses are also a good investment to show off your expertly prepared adult beverages. There are two types, the first is stemmed barware. They are, clockwise from bottom left; a Nick and Nora glass, Martini, Port and Coupe:



The other is non-stemmed and are, again clockwise from bottom left; rocks or Old Fashioned glass, Highball glass, Fizz glass and Fancy Fizz glass:



It also helps to have an offering of typical beer glasses; pilsner, pint and a goblet-style. You certainly do not need to have this array of glassware if you do not want to but they do make the drinks taste and look better. If you want to keep it simpler go with a Martini or coupe glass and the largest rocks glass you can locate.

Next up is the most important part, the ingredients. Always go with the best quality ingredients you can afford. Very few items I will be listing are above $30-40 dollars and many are much less expensive. When a recipe calls for fruit juice, zest or peels always use fresh ingredients, frozen or canned fruit juices are far too sweet and will adversely affect the flavor. Bitters do not spoil so you can purchase a few different types and keep them for years. I like to have on hand small bottles of seltzer for mixing so I do not need to open a larger bottle.

For your liquor assortment you should always have a couple of styles of gin, bourbon/rye/whiskey, rum and tequila. Having a decent selection of beer, wine, prosecco/champagne and various other liqueurs will also add to your arsenal of recipes. I will include the brands/types that I use in each of my recipes in case you want to track them down. One spirit you will not see in practically all of my recipes as vodka, it really has no place in both classic and contemporary cocktails. There are so many incredible spirits out there to try that one that comes with no flavor is not really going to do much to add to the overall complexity of the drink’s characteristics. Sorry vodka drinkers, this thread is not for you unless you want to try something different.

Another consideration is ice. Most home ice machines make decent ice for cocktails despite what you may have heard. I make tray ice for mixing, which is about 1 ½ inches square, and also make large spherical and cube-shaped pieces for the finished product since they melt slower and look more appealing in the glass. Tovolo makes an inexpensive set of both shapes that I use to produce a stockpile prior to guests coming over.

For bitters most store bought ones are fine, I have often tried to tell the difference between the higher end bitters that can run $20+ per bottle and the ones available at your local supermarket and liquor store for $8. Either works. I recommend having Peychaud’s, Angostura and Orange bitters as these are the most commonly used. There are other, more unusual types but you can always experiment with them once you get used to the mainstays.

Another handy thing to have is simple syrup. This can be prepared ahead of time and kept for about a week if need be when you use the standard 1:1 recipe of sugar to water. Larger proportions of sugar will make the syrup last longer but keep in mind that it will affect the finished product. I try to do my ratios by weight and not volume so a small kitchen scale works well for this. If you feel adventurous and can track down demerara sugar as this makes the best simple syrup for cocktails. It is similar to sugar in the raw but with larger crystals and has a mild molasses flavor to the sugar.

Now that we have the basic requirements out of the way the next step is building a drink. Beginners are encouraged to start with the least expensive ingredients first so if you add to much to your tumbler or mixing glass you can always start over without wasting your liquor.

I will give recipes for both shaken and stirred drinks. When it is stirred the assumption is that you will fill the mixing glass 2/3rds full with ice and add your ingredients. If it is shaken you will fill the bottom or large part of the shaker about half way with ice. Occasionally a recipe calls for ‘short shaking’. This is used to whip ingredients in the shaker to add body prior to adding more ice to completely chill the cocktail. Short shaking is typically done with three or so cubes and shaken for about 20 seconds to emulsify the drink.

I like to prepare seasonal cocktails so I will try to vary them depending on the weather and the time of the year. There is nothing better than making drink with fresh ingredients you just picked in the warmer weather or having something spicy and bracing when the weather turns cold.

The first up is the granddaddy of all cocktails, the Sazerac.

 




edit on 14-4-2016 by AugustusMasonicus because: networkdude once thought he had beer but it turned out to be Natty Ice.




posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

OR...you could put some bread yeast in a jug of Walmart juice, let it sit for two weeks, and BAM! you've got yourself a "nice red table wine".



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:43 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct

Me, you, woodshed, pistol. Lets go.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:43 PM
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Why don't you make us some old fashioneds? Like dear old dad used to?





Good thread! I keep enough stuff on hand to make highballs, bloody Marys, white Russians, and Cuba Libras.
I usually just prefer good whiskey straight, but I also will imbibe any well-crafted booze.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus




posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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originally posted by: ColeYounger
Why don't you make us some old fashioneds?


I was going back and forth between the Sazerac and the Old Fashioned and I figured the Sazerac would be better for the historical context.

Plus I had an Old Fashioned last Saturday and I wanted something different.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct

OR... even easier, leave out a jug of unpasteurized apple cider.


Nice thread.
Unfortunately, it is a bit too sophisticated for me, as you can tell from my statement above.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:47 PM
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a reply to: chiefsmom

When the weather warms up I can include some easy beer/cider-based cocktails that were originally designed to deal with the jug of unpasteurized cider.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:48 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus




the Sazerac would be better for the historical context.


Good choice. It's in the top 3 historical cocktails. [It's probably #!)



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:50 PM
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And don't forget about cool, hip, ice cubes!

Either the huge blocks of ice that barely fit a highball or the device that makes one large spherical ice cube. And speaking of keeping your drink cold, might I suggest a copper mug? Since copper conducts heat so well the ice inside keeps the mug cold and therefore your drink! They are sometimes referred to "Moscow Mule" mugs since that is the original beverage served in them.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:50 PM
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a reply to: chiefsmom


I hope some members get the "nice red table wine" reference.

In reality, my favourite cocktails are gin based. Gin and Tonic in winter. Salty Dogs in summer.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:53 PM
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originally posted by: Atsbhct
In reality, my favourite cocktails are gin based. Gin and Tonic in winter. Salty Dogs in summer.


I like gin-based in the warmer weather and bourbon in the cooler. But there are some that are good all the time.

I have some very cool classic and new gin cocktails I will post.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 03:59 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct

I have a fellow whiskey drinking buddy who also likes gin. He refers to it as "the muscle relaxer" .
He has a simple cocktail recipe that's basically gin and cherry juice. (I don't know the other ingredients, but they're minimal))

He maintains it will put you in a coma, and you'll sleep through the alarm clock.
edit on 14-4-2016 by ColeYounger because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 04:05 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

I like your thread idea Augustus.
It is a nice accompaniment to your Food Porn thread.

I tease often about my love of vodka and it is mainly served in the occasional Bloody Mary (that I'm not able to enjoy anymore) and martinis which, IMO, are basically a 'shot' with olives in it.

I like Mojitos (light on the syrup heavy on the mint). Basically anything clear or light Liquors/Liqueurs (maybe Limoncello still sweet but, not as sweet to me).

I am happy that you mentioned Prosecco as I have never cared for Champagne and find it a nice replacement when those times call for something sparkly. Interested in recipes for that other than the mimosa.

It will be interesting to see what you and other members contribute to this thread and perhaps try a few recipes myself!




posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 04:15 PM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird
I tease often about my love of vodka and it is mainly served in the occasional Bloody Mary (that I'm not able to enjoy anymore) and martinis which, IMO, are basically a 'shot' with olives in it.


I have two recipes that require vodka, my Bloody Mary is one of them.


I like Mojitos (light on the syrup heavy on the mint). Basically anything clear or light Liquors/Liqueurs (maybe Limoncello still sweet but, not as sweet to me).


White rums and tequilas may be up your alley as well. I have a few recipes that work around those.


I am happy that you mentioned Prosecco as I have never cared for Champagne and find it a nice replacement when those times call for something sparkly. Interested in recipes for that other than the mimosa.


Prosecco is much more approachable for many people both in flavor and price point. I have many recipes for this as it is a staple for Italian style entertaining.


It will be interesting to see what you and other members contribute to this thread and perhaps try a few recipes myself!


Hopefully everyone posts pictures. I will have the first one up tomorrow.




edit on 14-4-2016 by AugustusMasonicus because: networkdude once thought he had beer but it turned out to be Natty Ice.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 04:53 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus
Well that was very interesting. I don't know if this has been covered on ATS before but is there a difference between a martini being shaken and not stirred or is James Bond full of manure?

a reply to: Atsbhct



Salty Dogs in summer.

Drinking the salty dog. Um...that's as far as I'm going to go. I don't want to be banned.
Sorry. I'll go now.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 04:59 PM
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originally posted by: Skid Mark
Well that was very interesting. I don't know if this has been covered on ATS before but is there a difference between a martini being shaken and not stirred or is James Bond full of manure?


I was going to cover that when I made a martini but an authentic martini is stirred in spite of what Sean Connery would have you believe. I will go into more detail when I post that one.

What I will do, when I get to that part, is also make you an authentic James Bond style martini direct from Ian Fleming called The Vesper.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus
Cool! I'll check back then.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 05:34 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

Salty Dog recipe:

Go to the docks and collect one virile young sailor...


.....or add 3 1/3oz grapefruit juice and 11/3oz gin to a shaker filled with ice. Mix vigorously. Strain into a salt rimmed glass. Enjoy.



posted on Apr, 14 2016 @ 05:35 PM
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a reply to: Atsbhct

Either recipe will do nicely!


IMO





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