by Bourbon Belle
Wishing for a drink that you just haven’t been able to find at your beloved watering hole? Or dreaming about making the perfect cocktail to suit a specific taste? It’s surprisingly easy to concoct a well-balanced cocktail in the classic style, so long as you keep a few basic rules of thumb in mind.
One of the earliest known definitions of the term “cocktail” comes from the May 1806 issue of The Balance, and Columbian Repository, a Hudson, N.Y.-based weekly newspaper of yore: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters ...”
So let’s start with the spirit of your choice—Bourbon's as good as any. Next, you’ll want to sweeten it up for balance. Let’s go traditional and throw in some sweet vermouth. Following the cocktail "definition," we’re going to add some bitters; Angostura bitters make for a traditional Manhattan. Now, let’s make an original by including a flavor you’d like to impart into your drink. What goes well with Bourbon? How about … peaches! Let’s add a touch of peach liqueur—Mathilde Peches is my personal choice. And now you have your own twist on a traditional cocktail, made to suit your own flavor preferences.
Just remember: a spirit, a sweetener, a bitter (fresh citrus juice is also great for balancing out the sweetness) and water (in most cases, just consider the melting ice sufficient).
3 ounces Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 ounce Mathilde Peches Liqueur
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Cinzano preferred)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
More fun and easy ways to create your own cocktail follows this same concept. Take a drink you like, and just put a little spin on it!
Maybe you LOVE a classic Negroni, but sometimes prefer something a touch more smooth. Try another original created by one of our LUPEC ladies called the Contessa. Change up the Campari for Aperol (Campari’s less bitter cousin-as quoted from Hanky Panky the Weekly Dig 7.2.08-7.9.08) and even out the portions of all three ingredients.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add:
1.5 oz Beefeater Gin
1.5 oz Aperol
1.5 oz Cinzano sweet vermouth
Stir and strain in a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange twist
How about a classic Sidecar variation? Swap out the traditional brandy for Belle de Brillet, a pear flavored Cognac, for a smooth and delicious Pear flavored Sidecar.
Belle de Brillet Sidecar
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:
2 oz Belle de Brillet
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rimmed with raw sugar.
Garnish with an orange wheel
The sky's the limit. After all, as Imbibe! author David Wondrich writes, "the small, idiomatic differences...are the mixographer's delight!"