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Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong?

Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong?


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Like a lot of people who tend bar for a living, I lied my way into my first gig mixing drinks. While I’d spent years working in restaurants in almost every capacity, I’d never actually done any time behind a professional bar. I was broke, had just moved to a new town, and I needed a job pronto, so I stretched my résumé a little to make it appear that I had the experience I lacked.

Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong? (Slideshow)

Lying on your CV in the service business is a sin that ranks only slightly higher than forgetting to put the toilet seat down — nothing too serious or uncommon — but as I began my rookie year slinging booze, I came to realize I was also lying to myself. I thought, “It can’t be that tough. I already know how to make a good martini.” I didn’t. “I can pour a proper glass of wine, pull a beer from a tap.” Nope and nope. “I can pick this up pretty quickly.” Hogwash.

Admittedly, I’m the kind of foolish person who, after buying a new computer, immediately throws out the instruction manual, then spends three days trying to turn the thing on. Because I’d fibbed my way into my new job, no one there thought I needed to be trained in any real way. No one was around to take me under their wing, because I was already strutting around like a full-grown eagle myself. I was sent to the thirsty, salivating masses with little more than a wine key and a nervous smile to defend myself. Every lesson I learned about how to mix a bona fide cocktail was learned the hard way — by screwing up. A lot.

For you, intrepid home mixologist, I offer you the accompanying slideshow filled with the wisdom no one ever imparted upon me. I have violated every single one of these rules during my tenure behind the bar, and committed crimes far greater than over-embellishing my résumé. I have shaken my share of Manhattans, pulped mint and lime unrecognizable with my muddler, and scooped ice with abandon using glassware. I feel terribly for those poor people who sat at my bar during those freshman years, who endured my learning curve with only the crappy drinks I made as company. If any of them are reading, consider this an apology. The next round is on me.

This slideshow, the newest installment in my ongoing home bartender’s guide, is a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when mixing your drinks. You’ll find some great cocktail recipes here as well, including the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan, the Yellow Jacket, and the Jalapeño Mojito.

Know When to Shake ‘Em

We shake a cocktail when the ingredients are of different weights. Mixers like citrus juices are heavier than liquor, and need to be shaken in order to emulsify, aerate, and bruise the cocktail. A good rule of thumb to remember: only shake a drink that uses juice, egg, or cream in its recipe. Experiment with my version of a Cosmopolitan for a delicious shaken cocktail.

Click here for the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan recipe.

Know When to Stir ‘Em

I blame James Bond for the most common mistake made by a surprising number of professional bartenders out there: the propensity to shake absolutely every cocktail they serve. Bond’s preference for a shaken martini should be the exception, not the rule. When mixing a cocktail that contains only spirits, alcoholic mixers (like vermouth or Cointreau), or wine, stir the drink to maintain clarity. The result is a silky, cold, and well-balanced cocktail that is not aerated or bruised. Try this recipe for a Yellow Jacket adapted from Kosmas & Zaric’s fantastic book, Speakeasy, to master your stirring technique.

Click here for the Yellow Jacket Recipe

Read more: Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong?

Adam Boles is the founder and proprietor of Sauce Culinary Travel. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBoles3


Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make

You simply can't go wrong with a classic cocktail. Manhattans, margaritas, gin and tonics, these cocktails among others have proven to withstand the ever-changing drink trends despite how long they've been around. The reason? They have a foolproof recipe that is simple and delicious. Like any good bartender, if you're a cocktail enthusiast then there are several classics you should know how to mix up. From their interesting history to simple ingredients, you'll be able to impress your guests by mastering these classic cocktails.


Have You Been Making Classic Cocktails Wrong? - Recipes

We at Supercall have had the unfortunate experience of making some cocktails that sound like they could be delicious, but actually taste like a dumpster fire. There was the infamous, rancid Mac n’ Cheese-tini ’ the historic, stinky Jerry Thomas ale and rye bread punch and then, heaven help us, there was the blended Burger King Whopperito tequila cocktail (in retrospect, there was no possible positive outcome for that one). But on the contrary, some of the best drinking experiences come when trying a cocktail that sounds unappetizing but actually tastes amazing. From a frozen Bloody Mary made with milk to a Hot Toddy flavored like sweet-and-sour chicken, here are 10 cocktails that may sound strange, but actually taste delicious—we promise.

A Thanksgiving-appropriate riff on the classic beefy Bullshot (in itself, a drink that tastes way better than it sounds), this cocktail has plenty working against it: turkey stock, fried turkey skin for garnish, and gravy fat-washed vodka , a phrase that couldn’t be more unappealing. However, the result is super smooth, savory (but less salty than the bouillon-based Bullshot), and a little spicy, thanks to a pinch of cayenne pepper. Also, the crispy fried turkey skin garnish is the bomb, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.


How to Start Riffing on Any Cocktail Recipe

I get into specific recipes that riff on classic cocktails over here, but first, let’s get familiar with five common techniques that you can try on your own.

Changing and twisting cocktail recipes too far can give you bad drinks. But there’s a hierarchy of danger. The safest adjustment is to add a delicate flavor from herbs, chiles, spices, or bitters.

Start with a baseline recipe for, say, a Margarita. Shake it with basil or cilantro or even peppery arugula from your garden. Shake it with a slice of muddled jalapeño or a few slices of cucumber. Try some muddled cardamom pods. You can’t go too far wrong. A small pinch of cumin or garam masala or ginger or turmeric will all work fine in a shaken drink, where the citrus keeps things bright and balanced.

In stirred drinks, you can play with warm, sweet spices—stir it with a split vanilla pod! Throw a cinnamon stick in a mason jar of whiskey and let it sit overnight!—but it’s easiest to call in bitters. You might find you still like Angostura the best in a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, but there’s a world of aromatic bitters to try, and at least five different good options for chocolate bitters.

Don’t fuss with syrups just yet. “If you want to put new sweet stuff into a cocktail,” Neff reminds us, “then something has to come out.” In other words, tread carefully when it comes to anything “that’s going to disturb the equilibrium of spirit, sugar, sour, bitter.”

Turn your martini upside down.

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

And yet, this is a move that often works: Take a cocktail recipe and turn it upside-down. Maybe you’ve always had martinis that were 3 parts gin and 1 part vermouth. Try 3 parts vermouth instead, and just 1 part gin. (Has your bottle of vermouth been open for more than a month? Probably better to crack open a new one.) Try reversing your Manhattan, too.

Ever heard of a Kir Royale? While an everyday Kir uses still white wine and creme de cassis, the royal version is made with bubbly. That’s the whole trick, and almost any drink can benefit from a little added fizz. Try bubbling up your Sidecar, your Manhattan, even your Mint Julep. (It’s been known to work on tiki drinks, too.) Whatever recipe you’re working with, I’d recommend getting the chilled sparkling wine in the glass first—2 or 3 ounces will do it—so that it doesn’t sit on top while you sip. The rest of your cocktail ingredients are heavier, so they’ll sink through, automatically mixing into the drink if you add them last. You’ll want them properly chilled and diluted, so stir or shake with ice as you normally would, then add the mixed cocktail to your bubbles.

This is the big one that every home drink-maker should know, which comes to us thanks to bartender Phil Ward, formerly of Manhattan’s Mayahuel and Death & Company, now often seen shaking drinks at Long Island Bar in Brooklyn. Ward is perhaps the most prolific cocktail riffer we’ve got. (You can read about a few of his excellent drinks over here—riffs that have become so popular that many, many other riffers have riffed on them.) Ward’s signature technique is called Mr. Potato Head, after the popular toy, and the idea is pretty much the same as plugging a new nose or mouth on that jolly plastic tuber: Take a classic drink recipe and change one element out for another that’s more or less in the same category. That means spirit for spirit (swap your whiskey for tequila) or sour for sour (swap your lemon for lime). Try subbing one amaro for another, as long as they’re just about equally sweet. Sometimes small adjustments are needed later, especially as you get into sweeter elements of the drink, but generally speaking, Sir Potato won’t fail you.

When you split the vermouth in your Manhattan, this delicious drink is what you get.

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Michelle Gatton. Glassware by Riedel.

Now we’re really getting into Cocktail 201. The Split deepens the complexity of a drink’s flavors by using two spirits where originally there was just one.

Here’s how it works: Take one (or more!) of the measurements in your recipe and divide it in half. You could keep one half true to what the recipe calls for (say, tequila), and replace the other half with something different (say, mezcal). Or go further, splitting your booze between two entirely new spirits. (For example, replacing an ounce of whiskey with a half-ounce each of cognac and high-proof apple brandy, or rum and mezcal.) In a vermouth-heavy cocktail, use a 50-50 blend of two vermouths instead of one—the flavor will be more well-rounded than it was before.

You don’t even have to keep the split even you could use, say, 1 ½ parts rye and ½ part smoky Scotch, like we did in this modified Boulevardier. Things can get muddied if you slice your measurements too thin, but starting with a two- or three- part split will give your drinks the kind of intrigue that your home bar’s been missing.


Cocktail Recipe :: Mango Gin & Tonic Whenever I dive into making new recipes around here, I have several books I consult to get ideas for combining flavors and spices. One is The Flavor Bible, and the other is a more newly acquired book called The Spice Companion, which I highly recommend. It was through this book, and some research on this classic cocktail recipe, that I made a little discovery: We have been doing Gin & Tonics all wrong. The more you understand flavor profiles, the better when it comes to cocktails. I recently found out that mango happens to be a flavor that brings out the juniper flavor commonly used in gin. Funny enough, I never really liked limes in my Gin & Tonic, so this suggestion of a different garnish was a happy discovery for me! In the Spice Companion book, black pepper is also noted as pairing well with juniper, as well as tarragon. So, you can guess what our garnish choice was for this cocktail. Gin & Tonic with Mango // serves 2 4oz gin tonic water 2 thick slices of mango ground black pepper 2 sprigs of tarragon I don't think I need to tell you how to make this one, but I will. Pour 2 oz. of gin over ice, top with tonic, and garnish with sliced, ripe mango, a dash of ground pepper, and tarragon sprig. The only part that's up to you is if you want to muddle the mango a bit for more flavor! I liked the addition of a little extra fruit in mine. And, hey, what do you know? Saturday is National Gin Day (who comes up with this stuff?), so now might just be the best time to take this new way to enjoy your G&T for a test drive! If fruity cocktails are more your vibe go for a Mimosa. A classic on any cocktail list, you can drink a Mimosa straight away or freeze it and have it as a slushy. To make a classic Mimosa you’ll need prosecco or sparkling white wine and orange juice. Add a splash of vodka for an extra kick and, if you want to mix things up, opt for peach or grapefruit juice instead. Bloody Marys are traditionally drunk with brunch and just because you can’t make it to your favourite eggs spot doesn’t mean you can’t get together with your friends (via Zoom), have some delicious food, and sip cocktails. For a Bloody Mary you’ll need ice, vodka, tomato juice, the juice of a lemon, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, pepper, and celery to finish. You won’t need a shaker for the recipe. Pour the vodka, lemon juice, and tomato juice over the ice. Shake in some worcestershire sauce and tabasco and stir. Finish it off with the celery and pepper. In a highball glass, add the sugar, mint leaves, and a splash of the club soda. Muddle just enough to dissolve the sugar and release the flavor of the mint. Squeeze the juice from the 2 halves of lime into the glass. Drop 1 squeezed half into the glass if you like. Add the rum and stir well. Fill the glass with ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig. Serve and enjoy. Spearmint is a favorite mint variety for mojitos and the type you'll likely get from generically labeled "mint" at produce markets. Yerba buena is considered the mint of choice for an authentic Cuban mojito. Superfine sugar is recommended because the finer crystals dissolve better in cold cocktails. With the help of your food processor or blender, it's easy to make superfine sugar from standard sugar. If you don't have a muddler, use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the ingredients. Although any club soda will suffice, try a boutique soda instead. There are many great options available today, and some brands formulate sodas specifically for cocktails.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Use a different sweetener, such as raw sugar or palm (coconut) sugar for best results, process them into finer grains. A splash of simple syrup, honey syrup, or agave nectar works well, too.
  • Add a soft layer of flavor with lightly sweetened or flavored sodas. Many hard seltzers are good alternatives to club soda, and tonic water gives it a drier profile.
  • For a fruity twist, muddle in extra fruits. Pineapple, watermelon, and raspberry mojitos are favorites. Use a combination of pomegranate seeds and juice for a delicious pomegranate mojito.
  • Try a mojito sangria, a simple pitcher drink with white wine.
  • Make a virgin mojito by skipping the rum and filling the glass with soda.

How Strong Is the Mojito?

The mojito is not a terribly strong cocktail. When made with 80-proof rum, the alcohol content falls in the 13 percent ABV (26 proof) range. That makes it equivalent to a glass of wine, only far more refreshing.

Where Was the Mojito Invented?

The mojito originated in Cuba, possibly derived from a 16th-century medicinal tonic known as El Draque (named after Sir Francis Drake). It's said that in the 1800s, Africans who had been enslaved and working in Cuba's sugarcane fields commonly took a similar elixir. As it advanced from tonic to beverage, the mint, lime, and sugar masked the taste of cheap rum. Havana lays claim to inventing the cocktail as it's known today with the introduction of ice and soda. The mojito grabbed international attention when Americans flocked to Cuba during Prohibition. It was supposedly second to the daiquiri on Ernest Hemmingway's list of favorite cocktails. Over the years, the rum improved, and the mojito's fame spread immensely.

What Is the Best Rum for a Mojito?

White rums are typically preferred for a mojito it's good to choose a mid-range brand. Alternatively, add extra depth to the drink's flavor with a high-end aged rum. Avoid spiced rums because the spices detract from the freshness of the mint and lime.


Ina Garten's Secret to Making Perfect Cocktails Involves an Everyday Kitchen Item

The entire Internet exploded in collective laughter when Seth Meyers aired his latest "Day Drinking" segment with none other than the Barefoot Contessa—the pair headed to the Corner Bistro in Lower Manhattan and downed so many cocktails, we lost count. But these weren&apost any old cocktails Garten and Meyers made classic drinks, from a Pimm&aposs cup to a whiskey sour, straight out of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.

You&aposll certainly enjoy some laughs while watching the segment—where, among other games, Seth makes Ina take part in a taste test of Arby&aposs horseradish sauce𠅋ut, if you watch closely, you&aposll learn a thing or two about how Garten nails classic cocktails.

Stay up to date on what healthy means now.

In one part of the segment, Meyers and Garten head to the bar and attempt to make the best version of a Barefoot Contessa cocktail�h armed with a recipe card, and a divider between them to keep things fair. It should come as no surprise that Garten made the better cocktails, but you may be surprised to learn that she uses a measuring cup when making cocktails for the best result.

"I have a measuring cup, I brought my own," Ina says, pouring vodka directly into the measuring cup. "That&aposs the problem with you cookbook people," Meyers replies.

Of course, cocktail recipes call for specific portions𠅋ut Meyers shows how easy it is for people to "eyeball" the quantity called for in a recipe… and Ina&aposs face as she tries his concoctions illustrates how easy it is to get it wrong.

More Ina Garten tips and tricks:

At Cooking Light, we ran a monthly column where one of our nutritionists carefully curated cocktails that, in addition to being delicious, also provide a health boost. Our test kitchen editors know all too well that even a teaspoon more of liquor could completely throw a cocktail&aposs flavor profile out of whack, and also derail the nutritional value of a drink—resulting in more calories, and a less healthy cocktail.

Ina Garten certainly knows how to hack her way through classic recipes, but this settles it: Even the Barefoot Contessa doesn&apost "eyeball" liquor, and neither should you. Armed with a measuring cup, you can expertly tackle all 22 of our favorite cocktails—including these four mood-boosting drinks that can help you get through the rest of winter with ease.


Easy Cocktail Recipes to Make at Home Right Now

GARIBALDI

“The Garibaldi is a classic and simple mixed drink that we came to love after seeing the way it was served with juice squeezed fresh to order at a place in Sydney called North Bondi Italian Food. The key is squeezing the orange juice immediately before serving. We use a high-speed juicer, that aerates the juice, making it fluffy and textured. It takes seconds to make but is delicate and stunningly light every time—ideal for a refreshing escape and simple enough to whip up at home.” Linden Pride, co-owner, Dante, New York City

Ingredients:

Method: Add 2 ice cubes to glass. Add Campari and a little of the orange juice. Stir well to combine. Add 1 more ice cube and fill remainder of glass with orange juice. Garnish with orange wedge resting on rim and a plastic stirrer.

Double Dealer, New Orleans

ULTIMATELY

“This cocktail is perfect for quarantine life because it reminds me of home, which for me is Serbia. The cucumbers transport me to springtime meals with my family. For everyone else, it’s perfect for quarantine life because it’s a refreshing and well-rounded cocktail. It has the botanicals from the gin, freshness from the cucumber water, citrus from the lime, and the spice from the jalapeños.” —Miki Nikolic, bar director at Double Dealer, New Orleans

Ingredients:

0.5 oz. Jalapeno simple syrup

*For the cucumber water, peel and juice one cucumber

*For the jalapeño simple syrup, use 5 jalapenos for every 15 oz. of simple syrup

Method: Combine all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass.

HAKKATINI

“During a time when many stores are closed, most people want to reach for simple cocktails that don’t sacrifice any flavor. The Hakkatini is perfect for that. It’s made with just four ingredients that are staples in any kitchen and home bar—but it still packs a punch with perfectly balanced sweet, tart, and bitter notes. It’s a great way to spruce up a regular martini when you want to make your weeknight drink a little more special.” —Constantin Alexander, director of beverage, Hakkasan

Ingredients :

¼ oz. Italian red bitter liqueur (such as Campari)

Method : Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake to mix ingredients and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.

AMBROSIA

“The Ambrosia cocktail is a sophisticated yet simple cocktail perfect for spritz lovers. Don Ciccio Ambrosia Aperitivo gives the drink a hint of bitterness, while the prosecco lifts the cocktail and gives it a wonderful effervescence—perfectly refreshing in every way!” Raquel Fowler and Corey Holland, lead bartenders, Via Sophia at the Hamilton Hotel, Washington, D.C

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Don Ciccio Ambrosia Aperitivo

Method: Combine all ingredients and stir. Serve in a wine glass with ice and garnish with an orange slice.

THE FRESHEST MARGARITA

“The Freshest Margarita ticks all of the boxes for a great at-home cocktail. It’s easy to put together and most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. Milagro Silver’s crisp agave-forward flavour, combined with fresh lime and agave nectar (also from the agave plant), make for a bright and tasty cocktail, with which to reward yourself after a long day working from home. It’s also easy to make as a pitcher. If you’re like me and hosting virtual happy hours with your friends, one won’t be enough!” —Jaime Salas, brand ambassador, Milagro Tequila

Ingredients:

Method: Pour all ingredients into a Boston shaker, shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

The Morini Classico Negroni

MORINI CLASSICO NEGRONI

“The Negroni is a bitter and rich classic cocktail—perfect for taking your time, sipping while the world hibernates in quarantine. The classic ingredients are easy to find: gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and an orange. Pour equal parts (1 oz. per person) of each spirit in a glass over ice, stir, then garnish with an orange twist. You can pace yourself by making one drink at a time. Or batch a whole pitcher and store it in the refrigerator. There’s no expiration on a batch because it’s 100-percent booze—so feel free to make a large batch to hopefully outlast the quarantine.” — Hristo Zisovski, beverage director, Altamarea Group

Ingredients :

1.5 oz. London dry gin (Bombay Dry suggested)

1 oz. Sweet wermouth (Cinzano Vermouth 1757 Rosso suggested)

Method : Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir. Strain over a large rock into a double old-fashioned glass. Flame orange disk over cocktail. Pro tip: For the best Negroni, always store your vermouths in the fridge. Remember they are a wine and will oxidize if left out.

JEFFERSON’S MANHATTAN

“We actually developed a bottled and barrel-aged Manhattan a while back. And I really fell in love with the drink during that testing process. The standard version is a beautiful classic that’s easy enough for anyone to build at home, as it requires only three ingredients! It’s the quintessential nightcap, and really allows the complexity of Jefferson’s Very Small Batch to complement the sweet vermouth and bitters. Great for cozying up at night with a good book.” —Trey Zoeller, founder of Jefferson’s Bourbon

Ingredients:

2 oz. Jefferson’s Very Small Batch

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Method: Build in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain the chilled cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Blood Orange Margarita

BLOOD MARGARITA OR GINGER MARGARITA

“We love the recipe for the classic margarita because it only requires three simple ingredients (your favorite tequila, lime, and agave)—all of which can be found in most kitchens and home bars. In addition, tequila is a stimulant and gives us the boost we need to complete tasks and projects with all this extra time spent in our homes! The best part is that you can jazz it up with extra ingredients you have at home, based on your preferences. Good tip: Here at Gurney’s Montauk we do a 1:1 ratio of agave to water to ensure our drinks are never too sweet!” —Jarhn Blutstein, area beverage manager, Gurney’s Resorts

Ingredients:

2 oz. of your favorite tequila

**Add 1 oz. of fresh blood orange (ginger margarita variation) or .5 oz. of freshly-juiced ginger (ginger margarita variation)

Method: Choose your favorite tequila and add 2 oz. to a measuring cup. Mix in 1 oz. fresh lime juice to your drink. Add in 0.75 oz. agave and ensure to include a 1:1 ratio of agave to the mix (the Gurney’s Margarita is never too sweet! To make the Blood Margarita add 1 oz. of fresh blood orange—a delicious winter citrus. Or go the healthy route with .5 oz of freshly-juiced ginger to create the Ginger Margarita.

DIVISION BELL

“The Division Bell is a modern classic and personal favorite that can be made from the comfort of your own home. This mezcal treat was developed by prolific New York City bartender Phil Ward for the opening of Mayahuel in the East Village back in 2009. With five easily available ingredients, the drink offers an aroma of citrus and smoke followed by perfectly-balanced sweet, tart, and bitter notes. This cocktail offers an ideal way to spruce and practice up your homemade cocktail making skills.” —Anthony Pratt, director of food and beverage, Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Ingredients:

30 ml. (or 1 oz.) Casamigos mezcal

15 ml. (or 0.5 oz.) Maraschino liqueur

22 ml. (or 0.74 oz.) Lemon juice

Method: Shake all ingredients hard on cubed ice and pour. Garnish with a grapefruit twist. Serve in coupe.

MINI GIBSON

“The Mini Gibson is an ideal way to try out one of 2020s biggest cocktail trends at home: mini martinis. It’s the perfect size to sample this classic drink, which is deliciously savory in bite-sized form. The simple recipe also allows this fantastic gin to shine, with its sweet apple notes that subtly complement the sourness of the pickled pearl onion to finish.” —Marshall Minaya, beverage director, Valerie, New York City

Ingredients:

1.25 oz. Le Gin de Christian Drouin

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir and strain. Pour into a 3-ounce martini glass and garnish with a pickled pear onion.

OLD FASHIONED

“Beyond the Old Fashioned being the second drink that I’ve learned to make as a barback at Death & Co. in New York, here’s the reason that it’s a perfect quarantine cocktail: Standard Domino sugar cubes come almost 200 to the box. One bottle of bitters will last you well beyond the duration of shelter-in-place. I choose Hudson as my base, because the Old Fashioned is designed to accentuate what you already like about your base spirit. If you love your base spirit, adding a little bit of sugar, some bitters (which I consider the salt and pepper of cocktails), and ice—that takes something you already love and amplifies it. The other beauty is that as your stash dwindles from neat pours, you’ll also have a litmus test for what whiskey in your collection made your favorite Old Fashioned. Oranges and lemons are so far off from toilet paper—in terms of what people are hoarding right now. So you’ll be able to find them easily even if you never realized your grocery store stocked them. As a cure for monotony, you just might find it to be an endless experiment because every ingredient outside of the base spirit is a control if you stick to the classic template. You could also decide to go the other way: Have a choose-your-own-adventure experience with the Old Fashioned at home. The Old Fashioned is a template—not a specified recipe. All it requires is a base spirit, sugar, and bitters. Your spirit may become añejo tequila, your bitters may become chocolate mole, and your sugar may be that obscure Italian amaro that’s been collecting dust on your shelf. The thing about the Old Fashioned is that there’s no wrong way to make one. And there’s no wrong way to enjoy one. And you’ll never be bored by all of the potential permutations that you can make with the ingredients you already have.” —David Powell, U.S ambassador, Hudson Whiskey

Ingredients :

1 Sugar cube (or 1 tsp. or 1 packet granulated white sugar)

Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters (or Angostura if you want to go super traditional)

.25 parts club soda (or any water with or without bubbles)

2 parts Hudson Baby Bourbon

Method: In a rocks glass, add the sugar cube and soak with bitters until saturated. Any additional bitters in the bottom of the glass are fine and actually welcome. Add .25 parts club soda or water and muddle into a sugar-and-bitters paste in the bottom of the glass. Add 2 parts Hudson Baby Bourbon whiskey. Add ice—ideally one big cube, but smaller cubes are fine. Stir for 5 to 10 seconds to chill and dilute slightly. Garnish with an orange peel and a lemon peel. Squeeze the peels over the glass to express the essential oils onto the rim of the glass and then put the peels into the glass itself.

STIR CRAZY (HIS & HERS)

From left: The Hers Stir Crazy and His Stir Crazy cocktails

Sophie Burton and Colin Bugbee

“About His & Hers: My husband and I are both beverage professionals. I am the beverage director for Politan Group (five bars and counting) and Colin [Bugbee] is a bartender at JBF Award-winning cocktail bar Cure in New Orleans. We’re both talented and independent—and after trying to make a cocktail together it became obvious that we get twice as much done focusing on our own ideas and then looking for feedback from the other. We both wanted to use chamomile syrup because the tea is such a common ingredient in households. Honestly, it’s like having a cheat code to more flavor. What makes these cocktails so appropriate for the time is understanding different needs and different moods in a confined space—and making room for those differences. We worked with many ingredients—a little more than a person would normally have in their home bar. We’re happy to ensure you that within each of these you: First, have a strong and stiff cocktail for when you’re feeling really pressed about our current times. And second, have something equally strong but light-hearted for when you realize that you’re just grateful to be here.” —Sophie Burton, beverage director at Politan Group (Politan Row Houston, Politan Row Chicago, Politan Row Miami, and St. Roch Market in New Orleans)

HERS (SOPHIE BURTON)

Ingredients:

2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey

.5 tsp. Peach liqueur (apricot or another stone fruit liqueur will do!)

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

3 oz. Topo Chico (another club soda will also do)

Method: Combine all ingredients in a small highball glass. Add ice and stir. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

HIS (COLIN BUGBEE)

Ingredients:

.5 oz. London Dry Gin (we suggest Bombay Dry or Beefeater)

1 oz. Noilly Prat extra dry vermouth

Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until cold. Strain (without ice) into a coupe or Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

*To Make Chamomile Syrup: Boil 1 cup water. Add 2 tea bags of Chamomile tea and steep for 5 minutes. Remove teabags. Measure the amount of tea. Do this by weight! Get out that kitchen scale! Then combine it with an equal (by weight) measure of white (refined) sugar. Stir a bit. Let it cool. It will keep for 2 weeks when refrigerated.