Cocktails seem to be “back”, not taking over but an alternative to bubbles as the pre-prandial drink of choice. Based on spirits, they act fast. Many cocktails are downright silly but that is the point. They’re meant to be.
A reader commented on my post about “unfriendly” tables (8th December, 2017). She saved herself from a boring night by ordering a Naked and Famous. (See below.) I’d never heard of it so I “researched” the topic. It seems there are many cocktails with agonizingly risqué names. Could you order one of these and not blush – Sex on the Beach, Climax, Buttery Nipple, Silk Panty Martini? The Orgasm has been around for a while and frankly, I’d like to stay innocent of its ingredients.
To make cocktails on call, willy-nilly, one needs a massive array of bottles. Setting up a cabinet to rival the one coveted by Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, would make drinking Roederer Cristal and Krug look downright economical in comparison. So chose your cocktail and stick to it.
For the recipes below, there are ratios, not quantities. I leave you to decide the amount that makes a decent drink.
Negroni is my favourite. It’s has enough bitterness to make it a true aperitif, it’s stylish and adult. We changed from flagon red vermouth to a decent bottle and it was worth it. A garnish of orange is important (and counts as a daily fruit portion).
Equal parts – gin, Campari, sweet red vermouth, orange slices.
Manhattan – Maraschino cherries are as important as the main ingredients. Use a decent basic whisky. A single malt would be a waste and an affectation while a wonderful peaty whisky (e.g. Lagavulin, Bowmore or Laphroaig) is in fact ghastly used this way.
1 part sweet red vermouth, 2 parts whisky, dash bitters, minimum 3 maraschino cherries per glass. (Classicists insist on rye whiskey or bourbon, but when in need...)
Bloody Mary is my overseas airline drink - serenity and nutrition at the same time. I like it made with gin rather than vodka and a nice “side salad” of celery jumping out of it. I refuse to drink vodka, a drink that prides itself on having little flavour.
I like the lemon/lime cocktails, especially for the vitamin C. (HaHa.)
Whisky sour, White Lady, Between The Sheets, Margarita are all good and not too sweet. (See the Google Cocktail Bar.)
Naked and Famous falls into this category.
Equal parts - tequila (or mescal), Aperol, Green Chartreuse, grape-fruit juice, garnish slice of lemon or lime.
Cocktails need a statement glass. If in Sydney, visit The Glass Pavillion on the corner of Queen and Oxford Street, Woollahra. The owner is a glass fanatic and sells wonderful sets and oddments at madly reasonable prices.