Thursday, April 24, 2014

Build your own cocktail

I am not any kind of mixologist but I do like messing around with cocktails and simple syrups. I used to come up with flavors I wanted and then google like crazy, hoping to find a recipe that used exactly the ingredients I had in mind. Look at enough drink recipes and you'll realize that there's a fairly standard ratio you can use as a cocktail base. Now when I want a simple drink and have flavors in mind I just start with this base and adjust from there.

sage and rye
{rye and sage}

Basic cocktail recipe - serves 1
2 - 2 1/2 oz liquor
1 oz citrus juice
1/2 oz - 1 oz simple syrup
2 - 3 dashes bitters, if they make sense

Couldn't be simpler. I usually start with the lower volumes of everything (2/1/0.5)and then adjust on the next round. (If you need a third round to adjust, I really recommend waiting until the next evening)

Once you get good enough at it, you can combine multiple liquors, juices, etc. I'm not quite there but I can see the potential. I was going to write that I would never be able to create something as fabulous as, say, The Rooster with this formula but then I double checked the recipe and what do you know, it's a 2/0.75/0.5 ratio, not too far outside my starting points.

Instead I will say that I'm never going to come up with, say, a crazy ten ingredient tiki drink via this method, but I can make a pretty respectable cocktail out of whatever I happen to have on hand.

Make sure you jot yourself some notes as you go along, even if they happen to be scribbled on a napkin.

Tomorrow - the sage simple syrup I've been obsessed with lately.


  1. I keep meaning to tell you about Strong Tonic. Is a local ok product I think you would like.

    1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I *still* don't like tonic water! I had a bad experience as a kid when I accidentally downed a bunch thinking it was club soda and I think my taste buds are traumatized.

      Maybe this would be the stuff to get me over it? I should check it out.

  2. This couldn't come at a more perfect time! I spent a shameful amount of time stalking through your blog last night to find the perfect cocktail recipe for a rooftop grill gathering this weekend. Now I know the science behind it so I'm not as nervous. Thank you and thank you!! Can't wait to experiment.

    1. Yay! I'm posting a recipe or two tomorrow as well. If you're having a bunch of people, I'd recommend a pitcher cocktail. Maybe the basil-mint mojitos?
      But for sure, play around with it! Some drinks make awesome pitcher cocktails right away, some need a little bit of water added (to make up for what you'd get if you were shaking it with ice).

  3. You should really check out shrubs :)
    (Macerate fruit for ~1 day, filter into jar, add unpasteurized apple cider vinegar; 1 part fruit to .75 part sugar to 1 part vinegar). Mix that nonsense into a drink. Heaven!, I think shrubs last a lot longer than simple syrups do. Like, months long. Although we've always drank ours before it got that old.

    1. Shrubs are such a big deal right now! And you're right - I do need to do it. I think the idea of vinegar in a cocktail has always seems off putting to me, but I've had some amazing cocktails at restaurants that make their own shrubs in house. I need to get on it!


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