You don’t have to be a professional bartender to learn the secrets of mixology. Being proficient in the art of drink-making can make you the ideal host and the glue for social get-togethers. Life is too short to waste alcohol on drinks that make your guests gag, and we are here to remedy some commonly made errors when it comes to pouring top-shelf libations.
1. The Manhattan
When it comes to making a proper Manhattan, looking up and memorizing the ingredients is easy enough. There are, however, some nuances to this classic drink that many bartenders don’t know.
- The perfect Manhattan is served in a glass that has been in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. This detail may seem minor, but it shows that you know what you are doing and enhances the experience of the person who will be imbibing.
- Two ounces of whiskey should be poured into the glass, with rye being preferable but other substitutes (Canadian, bourbon) being acceptable in a pinch. Add two to three generous dashes of bitters.
- Use a julep strainer to pour the drink from the mixing cup into the glass freshly liberated from the freezer. Follow these instructions, and you will be on your way to Park Avenue in a matter of sips.
- The temperature of the glass is commonly overlooked but is a crucial detail.
- Error of shaking, not stirring, a Manhattan. This completely defeats the purpose of the drink, as stirring brings full flavor to the whiskey that is lost in the process of shaking.
A little bit of sugar and simple syrup goes a long way. That is the underlying issue when it comes to muddling a good daiquiri, converting it instead into a sugar-laced recipe for a brutal hangover.
These drinks are loved by millions of people, in part, because they often make you forget that you are drinking alcohol at all due to their sweetness.
- Light rum, lime juice, your fruit of choice, and a small (we can’t emphasize this enough) splash of simple syrup will do the trick. If you’re feeling fancy, add a “floater” of dark rum (we like Whaler’s) to the top of the drink.
- Daiquiris come in a wide variety of flavors, and real, fresh fruit should be the primary source of flavor and sweetness.
- Too much simple syrup can make the drink taste overly sweet and result in your body and mind taking revenge on you the next morning.
3. Bloody Mary
The darling of brunches everywhere, the Bloody Mary not only gives you an excuse to do some day drinking, but it can also be the perfect full-bodied, palette-awakening concoction if done right.
- Squeeze the remaining juice from the lemon and lime wedges into a shaker and then throw the slices in as well. Add four ounces of tomato juice as the base.
- Add into the mixing cup two tablespoons of horseradish. Thank the South for the two dashes of Tabasco hot sauce and England for the two dashes of Worcestershire sauce, they are truly the difference between amateur Bloodies and the real deal.
- Finally, throw a pinch of ground black pepper and another pinch of smoked paprika.
- Shake gently, strain into the serving glass, and add celery, olives, and/or a lime wedge as garnish.
- Some people like to “salt the rim”, placing the lip of a glass that has been rubbed down with lemon or lime juice in celery salt before adding the drink. This is an optional enhancement in our book, but adds another layer to a fantastically complex drink.
- Spices are commonly overlooked by amateur bartenders, each of which adds a crucial element to the drink’s overall kick.
- When people think Bloody Mary, tomato juice and vodka are what initially comes to mind, but making this drink to spicy perfection is dependent on the seemingly minor ingredients.
You’re welcome for saving your next brunch.