'cocktail 101' on Serious Eats

Should Cocktails Get Simple Again?

While some cocktail bars focus on ever-more unusual techniques and ingredients, there are bartenders and patrons alike who are beginning to push back. While some cocktail programs focus on the elaborate, we're beginning to see an opposite trend emerging: simplicity. More

Cocktail 101: How to Make a Martini

How many ways are there to enjoy a martini? Over at Slate, Troy Patterson has given a lot of thought to this question. He staged a Tournament of Martinis, in the pattern of the NCAA basketball tourney. Starting with 80 recipes (yes, 80), he paired drinks up and let them battle for supremacy. He includes martini variations that I don't think of as such: for example, martinis with Chartreuse, Scotch, elderflower liqueur, or lime juice. Patterson's path is fun to read, but I have no intention of duplicating his work. Instead I want to focus on just a few elements of the martini: the ingredients, the ratio, the preparation, and the presentation, along with a little history. More

Cocktail 101: Savory Cocktails in Theory and Practice

Forget the tomato juice. Put down the celery salt. If you can look past the Bloody Mary, you'll find a whole world of savory cocktails waiting for your enjoyment. Savory cocktails can be built using savory ingredients, such as vegetables and salt, or they can be made from savory spirits, such as aquavit, gin, and sherry. Smoky spirits, such as mezcal and certain Scotches, can also add a savory side to a drink. More

The Serious Eats Guide to Cognac

Cognac. To many, it's the ultimate in brandy. Now, you may ask why? Does it taste better? is it the expense? The time to make it? The grapes? The history? I'd say it's all of those things, and more. But what is cognac? How's it made, and what makes it special? More

The Serious Eats Guide to Brandy

When I mention brandy, you probably have an image already in your head. An older gentleman, sitting quietly in a leather armchair, perhaps smoking a pipe while listening to Brahms, swirling a snifter of brandy around in his hand. We think of brandy as an Old World after-dinner drink. And I have to say, it serves that purpose beautifully. But if you limit it to that, you're missing out on a lot. More

Cocktail 101: Stocking Up For a Storm

This may seem like a frivolous question, especially while we're all still digging out from this mess, but as Sandy demonstrated, a massive storm brings two problems: there's not just the problem of what do you do if the power goes out, but there's also the issue of what you do while you're waiting. More

A Buyer's Guide to Vintage Cocktail Books

You've been into making cocktails for awhile now. You've stocked your bookshelves with all the modern classic cocktail manuals, and you're finally ready to dip your toes into the vintage book scene. Where to begin? (Or perhaps, because it's the holiday season, you're shopping for someone who'd love a vintage cocktail book or ten. This guide is for you, too.) More

5 Amari to Try This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving evening. You push back from the table feeling satisfied but a little bloated. You know there's a beautiful pie waiting in the kitchen, but you can't look it in the pie eye, you just can't. You need a break, a walk around the block or the entire city, and possibly some Alka-Seltzer. Or, here's a thought: Try a digestive. More

5 Essential High-Proof Cocktails

With an autumnal chill settling in, with various cultural and religious holidays approaching, and with the promise of hours locked inside with your family members, I thought maybe you'd want some advice on high-octane cocktails for a change. More

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