It’s all the same drink

Well, there is more than one, but not many more. Think of it as half and half drinks, 2 thirds to 1 third, equal thirds, equal forth’s and “other.” You’ll find to make drinks “good” or “not all taste the same” you’ll need to tweak these ratios a bit, but start with simple ratios to understand how flavors work together. Shortly there after, you’ll be subbing sugar for St Germain and adding dashes of bitters to everything. For this example I’ll say “sugar” to mean simple syrup or sweetening agent. Follow these examples:

Two Fourths to a couple others

Caiphrinia                  2 oz Cachaca 1 oz Lime   1 oz Sugar

Daquiri                      2 oz Rum       1 oz Lime    1 oz Sugar

Papa Doble                2 oz Rum       1 oz Grapefruit 1 oz Maraschino

Margarita                   2 oz Tequila  1 oz Lime    1 oz Sugar
Bartender’s Magarita  2 oz Tequila  1 oz Lime    1 oz Sugar splash Cran
Cosmo                       2 oz Vodka    1 oz Lime    1 oz Sugar splash Cran
Kamakaze                  2 oz Vodka    1 oz Lime    1 oz Sugar
Lemondrop                2 oz Vodka    1 oz Lemon 1 oz Sugar
Aviation                     2 oz Gin        1 oz Lemon 1 oz Maraschino
Bay Breeze                  2 oz Vodka   1 oz Cran     1 oz Pineapple
Madras                       2 oz Vodka   1 oz Cran     1 oz Orange
Sea Breeze                  2oz Vodka    1 oz Cran     1 oz Grapefruit

Half and Half
Greyhound                 2 oz Vodka    2 oz Grapefruit
Salty Dog                   2 oz Vodka    2 oz Grapefruit salt rim
Chihuahua                 2 oz Tequila   2 oz Grapefruit
Salty Chihuahua         2 oz Tequila  2 oz Grapefruit salt rim
Paloma                       2 oz Tequila  2 oz Grapefruit top with soda salt rim

2 Thirds to 1 Third
Manhattan              2 oz Rye     1 oz Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes bitters
Rob Roy                 2 oz Scotch 1 oz Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes bitters
God Father             2 oz Scotch 1 oz Amaretto
God Mother            2 oz Vodka 1 oz Amaretto
Vesper                    2 oz Gin 1 oz Vodka Splash Lillet

This is just a basic bartender’s short list, its much more important to note that these are really just ideas on how drinks evolve and how changing one ingredient makes a new drink. I would also like this table to show “list of 5,000 new cocktails,” books as utter bullshit. Seattle local hero chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas would sell you his cookbook, but that doesn’t give you the skill to execute on all recipes nor secure the bank loan to open 6 or 7 restaurants. Do buy, these “5,000 new cocktail” books for ideas, and because they are indeed pretty, but mostly they are only for reference and ideas. There are too many variables and too little information in these books. Take the Manhattan, one of the best right? If you answered no, you might consider how odd it is that you have an incorrect opinion.

The Manhattan is a ratio of 60-85% bourbon, rye or whiskey, to 40-15% sweet vermouth to 1-4 dashes of bitters. If that’s not enough of a variable in ratios, consider the rich complexity of rye, to the earthen smoke and maturity of bourbon or the caramel sweetness of a Canadian blend to a dry Irish whiskey. The quantity of vermouth matters but lets not forget, they have more brands than I could list here. When it comes to bitters, everything changes, normally you’d get Angostura, but it’s not unusual to get a different brand of aromatic bitters, orange bitters and sometimes Peychauds. Then there is my fave: a Bookers (126 proof cask strength bourbon) Manhattan with heavy Punt e Mes (very grape-y sweet vermouth) and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.

To flog a horse be it not already dead: take Pernod, an 80 proof anisette liquor that is an aperitif in not America but commonly used as an absinthe substitute in old timey recipes. Though not dissimilar in flavor, characteristics and ingredients, it is half the proof and is nowhere near the pervasive flavor of absinthe. The use of more Pernod just results in anis like watery mélange. Brands and ingredients matter but what matters more if the end result of the flavor. Unfortunately there is only one way to insure that drinks taste right, or that the recipe needs to be tweaked for the brands being used: taste the drink. The pro way and the sanitary way to do this is to dip a straw into the drink, then put your finger on the top of the straw to taste a sample. Any bartender worth a damn does this all shift long if not to every drink. I use a straw if some one asks me to taste any drink even at a party. Why? Because I have no intentions of getting herpes whilst answering the question, “does this taste funny to you?” I hope you aren’t laughing.

What you should have learned:

Most recipes follow very simple formulas
Change those formulas to achieve the specific desired results

Recipe books are pretty, slick packages of ideas, not rule (including these)
The tasting straw is one of the most useful bar tools
The Manhattan is the best drink

This entry was posted in brands, recipes, rules and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to It’s all the same drink

  1. BT says:

    this is some hot blogging! Glad to see you writing.

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