Cocktails are like art – when you embark on making them, you walk a fine line between exquisite end-result and total sludge fest. There are thousands of recipes around the world that have contributed to the cocktail “subculture” that has only managed to thrive in these times of hedonism.
However, you don’t have to be the cocktail master of arts to know how to make some of the sophisticated classics. Just like with everything else – practice makes perfect and these are 5 cocktails every man needs to know how to make.
Let’s start off with a classic and a perfectly faithful companion of many brunches. Bloody Mary is one of those cocktails everybody has heard of before they even hit puberty, and many of those eager kids have tried the “virgin” variant which is basically half-a-meal in a glass. Even though it has two prevalent basic ingredients – vodka and tomato juice, it’s far from crude and there are additional elements that make all the difference.
You’ll need a pinch of salt and half-a-pinch of pepper on the rim of a glass. Four ounces of tomato juice go with one or two ounces of vodka, depending on the strength you want to achieve. One teaspoon of lemon juice and horseradish, 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce, 8 dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a celery stalk. Ice cubes are optional.
Here’s another classic in a highball glass that often serves as a “gateway” drink in its virgin form. Two measures of white rum go with 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup (or mint syrup), fresh mint leaves, 4 teaspoons of lime juice and soda water on top. Just remember – syrup and mint leaves go in first, on the bottom, then you add other ingredients before soda water. This cocktail is usually served with churned ice.
The name itself creates a degree of expectation – it sounds like a drink of an accomplished businessman who enjoys it in his leather armchair by the fireplace after a hard day’s work at the office, and no wonder – since it was popularized through the shows like Mad Men. To make it, you’ll need a double measure of bourbon, half a teaspoon of brown sugar, a dash of soda water and 4 dashes of Angostura Bitter. After stirring it, just add a handful of large ice cubes and stick an orange slice at the rim of the short and stubby glass.
How can we make this list without accounting for James Bond’s favorite (though to be fair, he favors a very specific “vodka martini shaken not stirred”)? As far as taste goes, we can’t go against the word of 007, however, there is one little thing that’s important to mention – it’s actually stirred, not shaken, and it makes a difference. Apart from this, it’s a surprisingly easy drink to make since there are only several basic ingredients that are important.
The sophistication and nuances in taste are all up to you and your skill. You’ll need three measures of high-quality dry gin and a single measure of vermouth. It’s preferable if the mixing glass is chilled and as you pour the mixture into it, stir slowly for 30 seconds. Add an olive and a twist of lemon into the martini glass and pour it.
Manhattan is secretly beloved by all true whiskey drinkers, and no, before the thought even pops up, whiskey and bourbon are not the same drink, period. Every true man knows this. A likely fictitious story goes – a particular Dr. Iain Marshall concocted the drink at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome. The popularity of the drink spread from there, apparently, and its recipe even reflects the New York City’s area code 212 – 2 ounces of rye whiskey, 1 ounce of Italian vermouth and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitter.
Some narrow-minded tongues would dare flap about how cocktails are, in general, for girls. Of course, this is an absolute nonsense. Every man that is concerned about his image should know how to make at least five cocktails and have one he personally favors above all others. After some time, you can become experienced enough to even start experimenting and creating your own recipes and tweaks to the existing cocktails. These few renowned, basic cocktails are only the beginning.
Peter is a men’s grooming writer at HighStyleLife and TheBeardMag magazine from UK. Beside writing he worked as a menswear fashion stylist for many fashion events around UK & Europe! Follow Peter on Twitter for more men’s fashion and grooming tips.
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