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.
What I'm going for here are quirky and fun gifts, none of which is particularly expensive or hard to find. And though all of these gifts are booze-related, only one of them actually is, well, booze.
Spring is starting to turn to summer across most of the United States, and with summer comes an upswing in cocktail parties. Having co-hosted more than a few parties myself, I have a few tips to offer that will help you host a successful bash.
Now that it's over, I wanted to step back and observe a bit, tallying up the trends and themes I noticed throughout the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.
The Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicks off tonight with the Gala at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Organizers expect to serve something like 22,000 cocktails tonight; prepping that many drinks takes some planning and hard work. I talked to Leo Robitschek, bar manager at NoMad and Eleven Madison Park, about the process of preparing and batching up cocktails for such a large gathering.
The response to last week's list of 25 cocktails everyone should know was—let's say—vocal. Though I do believe the original 25 are the true essentials, stretching the number to 30 allows us to include a few more excellent drink recipes to have in your arsenal.
We who like to mix drinks at home do it for many reasons: First, it's cheaper than drinking out. Second, it's fun to mix your own drinks at home. Third, it's even more fun to mix drinks for other people at home. Any self-respecting home bartender should have a mental
Rolodex Excel spreadsheet of favorite classic cocktail recipes. Today, I present the 25 essential drinks that I think everyone should be able to make.
Advice on building a cocktail library, starting with basic recipe books and then adding histories, guides to single spirits, books on more esoteric topics, and memoirs by boozers and bartenders.
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.
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart is not the book I was expecting it to be. I assumed I'd find a book about using seasonal ingredients to make cocktails, infusions, bitters, and the like. Instead, it turned out to be a very engaging book about the botanical origins of our favorite drinks: beer, wine, spirits, and even a mixer or two.
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.
All you'll need for this simple cocktail garnish is a sharp knife, a cutting board, and well-washed citrus. A sharp knife is especially important here because a dull knife will squeeze the fruit into a misshapen lump, which will make your wedges look weird. No one likes weird wedges.
Usually a bright piece of fruit, or a briny olive, or a festive umbrella, but sometimes something much more fancy, the cocktail garnish has a solid place in the history of cocktails. Today, we'll look at what garnishes are and how to get started using them to good effect.
Today's drinks feature the lushly herbal Chartreuse in all its emerald glory. So leave your "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button in your junk drawer where it belongs and celebrate another way.
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?
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.
If you've never had Campari, the bright red liquid masks a surprise. This bittersweet stuff is definitely an acquired taste. I suspect nearly everyone grimaces the first time they try it, but that's no reason to give up. Campari cocktails are richly rewarding once you come around. Because they're long on flavor, you can generally savor them, letting them linger in your glass and on your mind. Here are five essential ways to enjoy this red elixir.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to sip some delicious spirits with equally delicious chocolates. Today, I'll offer a few tips to help you make it work.
In this week's installment of my low-stocked-bar series, I'm turning my eyes to bourbon and rye, and I'll discuss easy cocktails you can make with those spirits and a few other ingredients you might happen to have on hand.
If you have gin and a few basic pantry ingredients, plus one other bottle, there are a number of cocktails you can make. Found a bottle of Chartreuse or Maraschino in the attic? Wondering what to do with it? Grab some gin and read on...
Cocktails needn't be hard, and with the proper preparation, you can usually make a damn good drink even when your bar is sparsely populated.
A basic hot toddy is so simple it doesn't really require a recipe, but for those of you like a little more zest, a little more complexity, here are three delicious possibilities.
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.
It's time to look back at the year that was, and the way we drank. In 2012 we noticed three prominent trends relating to cocktail preparation and service: carbonated cocktails, bottled cocktails, and cocktails on tap. Other trends focused on new ingredients: savory additions inspired by the kitchen, cocktail ingredients aged individual in barrels, and new domestic liqueurs, digestifs, and aromatized wines. We've also seen a movement toward making drinks more fun, with throwback cocktails and the rise of soda-fountain inspired cocktails.
Check out the video below for tips on stretching, topping, and baking your dough: This recipe works well with Jim Lahey's No Knead Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, Ginger, and Thai Chili Pizza. Note from Lahey: While I'm not picky about the...
Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for! The final two chefs created their own restaurants and cooked for some of the biggest culinary legends in the world. And Curtis Stone. He was there too. [Warning: Spoilers ahead!]
Yeast have the most important job in brewing: they start with sugar and break it down, leaving alcohol, carbon dioxide, and a variety of flavors. The importance of yeast often gets forgotten when conversations about beer turn to grain and hops, but yeast actually have the potential to contribute more unique flavors to your beer—both good and bad—than any other ingredient. Last week we talked about grain, and next week we'll look at hops, but today I'll be giving you what you need to know about yeast to make the best homebrew possible.
Video or photographic footage of one badly managed farm or even a thousand badly managed farms does not prove that the production of foie gras, as a practice, is necessarily harmful to the health or mental well-being of a duck. Foie gras production should be judged not by the worst farms, but by the best, because those are the ones that I'm going to choose to buy my foie from if at all.
So, you're planning a cocktail party? Commendable, friend, commendable. Careful planning and a few tips should help relieve the stress you're undoubtedly starting to feel. Let's start with the essentials: glassware, liquor, mixers, and ice.