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The Five Best Cocktails You Can Make at Home
There’s nothing worse than going out to a fancy bar or restaurant with your friends for a fun evening, ordering some cocktails, tasting them, and finding that they are absolute rubbish. From lazy, inexperienced bartenders to harried waitresses who are looking after ten tables as well as mixing their own drinks, the high prices demanded from drinking establishments often are simply not worth it.
There are also a lot of establishments where, as a cost-cutting measure, will pour less alcohol into each drink. Furthermore, while most bartending manuals recommend 1 ½ ounces of alcohol for each cocktail to bring out all the best flavors, the majority of restaurants, bars, and pubs will only use one ounce. Some places will use even less; this is why the drinks taste flat, lifeless, watered-down or overly sweet. Even worse is the fact that some places will use pre-packaged mixes or will use products that have expired. You deserve better.
Your best option if you want to have some great cocktails is to make them at home. This way, you get to select the best and freshest ingredients, and you’ll also be able to follow the classic recipes to the letter in order to get the perfect balance that’s missing from so many outside establishment offerings. You’ll save money, and with the money you save, you’ll be able to afford those the recommended brands of liquor to make your drinks. Bars are notorious for using no-name, obscure, cheap brands and charging far too much.
To make the five best cocktails at home, you’ll need a few things. You’ll need a supply of ice, an ice scoop or tongs, some cocktail glasses or tulip-shaped glasses, tall glasses, and short “old fashioned” glasses. As the saying goes, cocktails just won’t taste as nice if they’re served in the wrong kind of glass.
You’ll also need a blender if you want to make the frozen, slushy type of cocktail.
The Top Five
The perfect drink for those who want something savory, not sweet. This Canadian concoction is wildly popular in its nation of origin, and is quickly becoming a favorite in other countries as well. Most Americans who try the drink for the first time describe it as a Bloody Mary that’s taken to heavenly heights. If you’re outside of Canada, it’s best to make this drink at home because the bartender will most likely get the recipe wrong.
1 tulip or tall glass, rimmed with celery salt (do this by dragging a slice of lime along the rim and dipping the rim into a dish of celery salt)
1 ½ ounces vodka
6 ounces Clamato juice (a proprietary blend of clam broth and tomato juice)
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 celery stalk
1 lime wedge
If you cannot find Clamato juice in your area, you can improvise by mixing tomato juice with the liquid from tinned clams.
Fill a tulip or tall glass that’s been rimmed with celery salt with ice. Add the vodka, Clamato juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces; stir. Add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and place a stalk of celery (leaves included for visual effect) in the drink. Garnish the glass with a wedge of lime; squeeze some into the drink for an added kick.
A margarita is quite possibly one of the most sublime cocktails ever invented, but you’d never know it judging by the sickly-sweet, slushy messes that many establishments serve. After making this one at home, you’ll simply be amazed at the layers of intrigue this drink offers in the flavor department. You can make the original version, or you can make the more modern frozen version by placing the ingredients in a blender.
One cocktail or tulip glass, with a lightly salted rim (done by dragging a wedge of lime around the rim and dipping into a dish of sea salt)
1 ounce Cointreau (Triple Sec also works if budget is a concern)
2 ounces of white/silver (unaged) Tequila
1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a generous amount of ice. Shake for at least thirty seconds, and pour into glass. Garnish with a slice of lime or a slice of orange.
To make fruit versions of this cocktail, replace the salt rim with a sugar rim, and simply add fruit to the recipe and put all the ingredients in a blender with plenty of ice.
Long Island Ice Tea
This is a classic American drink; strong, flavorful, and perfect on hot summer nights.
One tall glass, full of ice
½ ounce Tequila
½ ounce Gin
½ ounce Rum
½ ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
½ ounce lemon or lime syrup (sugar dissolved in lime or lemon juice)
Pour all ingredients over ice, top with Coca Cola. Garnish with a slice of lime. If you want to try the original recipe, increase all ingredients to one full ounce. However, do keep in mind your drink will contain 4 ounces of hard liquor!
This is a cocktail that has made a huge comeback; while it was hardly ordered 10 years ago, it’s been rediscovered by the under-30 set.
One tall glass, full of ice
1 ounce Kahlua
1 ounce Vodka
Pour the vodka and Kahlua over ice; top the glass with milk or Half&Half, which is a cream/milk mixture. You can add more Kahlua if you want a sweeter drink, but remember that the more Kahlua you add, your drink will become darker in color.
The Classic Martini
This is a drink that so many places get wrong but will still charge you an arm and a leg. Make it at your own place, and you’ll see why this drink has always been fashionable since its introduction decades and decades ago.
One martini glass, chilled
One cocktail shaker, full of ice
2 ounces of Gin or Vodka
½ ounce of dry Vermouth
1 drop of whisky or spritz of whisky*
Twist of lemon or 3 olives on a tooth pick as garnish
Pour all ingredients into the cocktail shaker, but DO NOT SHAKE, stir gently for at least thirty seconds. Strain into the chilled martini glass, and either add the olives or gently twist a bit of lemon rind above the beverage but do not place it in the drink.
To make an extra dry martini, reduce the amount of vermouth. Some professional bartenders will use a spritz bottle to spray the inside of a martini glass with a bit of whiskey; however this will detract from the classic “crispness” of classic martini.
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