Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stocking Your Bar: Books

This is Part 3 in a series of three posts on stocking your home bar for 2015 Summer Cocktails Week. See Part 1 on Equipment and Glassware and Part 2 on Bottles.

I've covered barware and glassware and bottles. Those are the tools you need to make and serve cocktails, but you're not going to get very far without recipes and techniques. I've learned so much from my favorite cocktail books. I'm always cracking them open looking for a new recipe or an idea when I'm not sure what I want to make.

And don't discount history. Learning about the past of cocktails has helped me appreciate what makes a great drink. The story of how cocktails emerged in the 19th century and evolved through prohibition, the martini craze and today's craft cocktail movement is an engaging story that says a lot not just about what we've liked to drink but about ourselves and our relationship with drinking. It's no coincidence that in the '80s, a time when convenience foods proliferated, cocktail mixes were big or that today, when people are obsessed with ingredients that are local, organic and quality, that we have a craft cocktail movement that can mirror that obsession.

I've sorted these books into three categories; however, there is quite a lot of overlap here. Many of the books cover technique, for example, and all of them have recipes, but I've put them in the categories for which I think they offer the most value.

Books Great for Recipes

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Faulchald and Alex Day. My favorite cocktail book at the moment, this is the companion book to the great Death & Co. cocktail bar in New York's East Village. Last year, I got this book (and wrote about it) and visited the bar (and wrote about that too), and I've been a major devotee to both ever since. The book is large and filled with amazing drinks, both classics and Death & Co. originals. If I decide I want a particular drink, I often look to see how they make it. I also just love thumbing through it to look for new recipes. I've made a lot of drinks from this book, and have loved every one.

The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy by Jim Meehan. This book is only 4 years old, but it feel like it's been out a decade, since it's been such a big influence for me and many other lovers of contemporary cocktails. This one is also attached to a New York bar, the PDT speakeasy. The recipes are alphabetized rather than categorized, which makes it really easy to find a drink if you know what you want to make. Short blurbs provide trivia, including information about the drinks' origin.

The Bartender's Bible: 1001 Mixed Drinks and Everything You Need to Know to Set Up Your Bar by Gary Regan. Regan, also known as "Gaz" is a beloved figure in the cocktail world. He's done a lot of things, but he's perhaps best known for creating Regan's Orange Bitters and publishing this book, which has the deepest list of recipes of any book on my shelf. This book was published in 1993, so it's a little older than the others (and predates the current cocktail craze), but it's useful for finding obscure recipes.

The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff. This book doesn't have the most recipes (although at 500, it's nothing to sneeze at) or the most historical content, but it's just a solid all-around cocktail resource. If you're new to cocktails, I'd actually recommend this as a great place to start over most of these other more specialized works.

Books Great for Techniques/Ingredients

The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. A lot of cocktails books open with a section on equipment and techniques but provide mostly recipes. Portland-based bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler flips that around with The Bar Book, which puts its emphasis on good and proper techniques for making cocktails. That may sound boring to some, but if you're reading this post I hope you find it as interesting as I did (I read it cover-to-cover actually). Along with Death & Co., Morgenthaler has been a major recent influence for me. I read his blog, reviewed this book last year and also visited the restaurant and his cocktail bar where he bartends (Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko).

Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold. Arnold is the bartender at Booker & Dax, the Momofuku collective's bar New York Times calls a "high-tech cocktail lounge." It explores cocktail-making with a similar fresh approach that David Chang applies to his cooking. There's a lot of technique and science in this book, as well as some equipment I doubt any of you have or will acquire, but if you love reading about the science behind what makes great drinks great, this is a fun and informative read.

Craft Cocktails at Home by Kevin Liu. Liquid Intelligence is very interesting, but not always accessible. For that, I recommend Liu's book, which approaches innovative cocktail techniques with a fresh perspective, an open mind and (for the most part) equipment you may have at home or can easily get your hands on. I've had this book a couple years (I reviewed it in 2013), and still use it regularly, such as for making the orgeat I used in this week's Mai Tai. It also inspired my Garden Martini.

Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry. I love how this book came into my life. I read about it, wanted it, and then won it in an online giveaway. And it's fantastic, focussing on cocktails made with savory ingredients, a nice change of pace for drinks so often dominated by sweetness. Read my review from last year. I also enjoy reading his blog, Sippity Sup.

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart. I only recently acquired this book, which focuses on ingredients and their origins in drinks (so this could easily slip down to the history list below).

Books Great for History

Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar by David Wondrich. This book focuses on Jerry Thomas, a 19th Century bartender Pete Wells once called "the father of American mixology" for his pioneering work in developing and documenting the craft of cocktail-making, and through Thomas' story, charts the American origins of cocktails. If you want real "old-school" cocktail recipes, this is the best place to find them. Imbibe! was originally published in 2007, and an updated version was just released.

Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons. Parson's fantastic book was invaluable when I was writing my week-long series on cocktail bitters last year. Bitters and cocktail history are intricately linked, as detailed in this book, which explores the subject's history and contemporary revival.

Recipes from These Books

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned (Death & Co.)

Julius Orange (Death & Co.)

Naked and Famous (Death & Co.)

Wooden Ship (Death & Co.)

The Cloister (PDT)

Singapore Sling (PDT)

Fancy Gin Cocktail (Imbibe!)

Teagroni (Craft Cocktails at Home)

Bitter Boulevardier (Craft Cocktails at Home)

Spanish Coffee (The Bar Book)

Sidecar (The Bar Book)

Celery Shrub Cocktail (Savory Cocktails)

Scandi Gibson (Savory Cocktails)

Barrel-Aged Berlioni (Savory Cocktails)

Manhattan (Bitters)

Sazerac (Bitters)

Smoky Frozen Margarita (Liquid Intelligence)

Cocktail: Green Tea and Cucumber Gimlet

The gimlet is a classic, simple gin and lime cocktail. It's tart, sweet and refreshing. I recently wrote about how it was one of the first cocktails I learned to make back in my college years. It's an elegant cocktail, in part for its simplicity.

This version isn't so simple, but I think it still holds true to the essence of the gimlet, with the additional ingredients adding a subtle bitterness that smooths out its typical sweet-tart profile. In fact, I'd say this makes for the smoothest gimlet I've ever had, making it a wonderful summer drink.

Green Tea and Cucumber Gimlet

2 1/2 oz. of gin
1 green tea bag
1/4 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
Lime twist, garnish

1. Place the tea bag in the gin for 20 minutes to infuse. Squeeze liquid out of the tea bag and discard. You should have at least 2 oz. of infused gin.

2. Place the diced cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle vigorously to crush the cucumber. Add 2 oz. of tea-infused gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice and shake until very cold. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass (see note). Garnish with lime twist.

Note: To double-strain a cocktail, pour the cocktail through the strainer you normally use with the shaker (such as a hawthorne strainer if using a Boston shaker) as well as a fine-mesh sieve held above the glass. This removes small particles, in this case pulpy bits of cucumber.


Richmond Gimlet

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vieux Carré Cocktail

Vieux Carré Cocktail

Chris and I have found a new favorite cocktail over the past year: the Manhattan. We drink them all the time now. Although I think of it as more of a winter-time drink, we're still drinking them. Buck's Fishing & Camping makes a particularly excellent one that's very easy on the sweet vermouth.

The Vieux Carré is similar to a Manhattan, a base of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, but it adds cognac and Benedictine liqueur, making the drink a little richer and sweeter. On the rocks, I think this makes a nice warmer weather alternative to our favored Manhattan.

Vieux Carré Cocktail

1 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. cognac
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. Benedictine liqueur
1 dash Peychaud's bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with a single large ice cube.


Cocktail: Manhattan Alcohol Delivery Without Leaving Home

Picture this scene:
Tom: Well, we're just about set. The grill is pretty hot now and should be ready for me to put the burgers on shortly after our guests arrive.  
Jerry: Great, I've got the chickpea potato salad made and the corn cookie ice cream pie is chilling. 
Tom: Fantastic. Oh hey, where did you put the cooler with the case of IPAs? I can't find it. 
Jerry: What case of IPAs? 
Tom: The one I asked you to get for today since we drank almost all our beer last weekend. 
Jerry: Uh...uh-oh. Can we make do with vodka tonics? 
Tom: Well no, since Rob and Roy drank all the vodka when they came over the other night. 
Jerry: Well, I can't go to the liquor store now, our guests will be here in like 10 minutes, and I need to finish getting ready.
Tom: And the grill is lit, I can't leave either! What will we do?
For these moments, there's BeerRightNow, an online alcohol delivery service that allows you to order beer, wine, spirits and have them delivered to your home or event.

I've been following this burgeoning service space, but hadn't given it a try until BeerRight Now approached me one night with an offer of free beer to try their service. They sent me three 6-packs of IPAs, all of which were cold. I decided to try the service for myself and write about the experience.

How does it work? BeerRightNow operates in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and a growing list of other cities, providing an online ordering experience with those orders processed and delivered by its local liquor-store partners. Sign up, browse and order either from BeerRightNow's website or its app, which is available for Android and iPhone.

I decided to test the site in three ways: 1) selection variety, 2) usability and 3) delivery experience.

What you get for selection will depend on what the local partners carry. In D.C., this is 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors (also known as P Street Wines). I found an excellent selection of beers (138), wines (263) and liquors (463). Like any liquor store, if you're looking for something specific, they may or may not have it, but chances are you can find something similar. The selection ranges from mass-market favorites to more obscure craft products.

When it comes to beer, I'm an IPA lover, and BeerRightNow's selection in D.C. does not disappoint, offering about 30 selections including both national (i.e. Lagunitas, Stone) and local (Dogfish, DC Brau) choices. There are also about 30 choices of U.S.-made cabernets, ranging in price from a $9 Beringer to a $200 Silver Oak magnum. The selection of British gins (I do love my London Dry), includes typical choices like Beefeater and Bombay, but also less common choices like The Botanist and Tanqueray's Malacca gin (which I'd never heard of). Among the mixers, I was pleased to find something I've been looking for at liquor and grocery stores everywhere--Fever Tree's Mediterranean Tonic Water (the more botanical cousin of the Fever Tree's easy-to-find India Tonic Water). Prices for the wines and liquors are reasonable; the beer prices are a bit high, but not outrageous.

To see how the selection varied in other cities, I changed the ZIP code to 10001 (Chelsea area of Manhattan, NY) and 60069 (West Hollywood, CA). In Chelsea, there were about the same number of beers--although all in 12- or 24-packs, but far fewer wine and liquor choices. In West Hollywood, there was an impressive 268 beers, a staggering 706 wines and a whopping 1,396 liquors.

The site offers options for both browsing and searching among the various types of products it offers. Buttons at the top of the page make it easy to browse within beer, wine, liquor, mixers and "more" (which, in D.C. is mostly smoking products). Although I was able to find what I was looking for, there were some bumps here, especially with the browsing filters. Filter for tequila, for example, and the site told there was none, yet a search for "tequila" showed 36 choices. Filter within the wines for the Napa Valley as the "region" setting and it similar said there was none, but through browsing I found plenty of delicious choices. I also had some trouble searching within the app, where a search for "gin" failed to isolate the gins from the other liquors. Hopefully these wrinkles will get worked out over time, but for now, I recommend just poking around until you find what you're looking for, as it's likely there.

Our experience placing an order was pretty smooth. Around 7 p.m. on a weeknight, I placed an order for a bottle of vodka (a specific one I was glad they had), the aforementioned Mediterranean tonic water, a bottle of red wine and a six-pack of beer (IPA of course). At check out, you can add comments about your order, pay with credit card and also tip your delivery person. Taxes are added at checkout and, although there is not a delivery charge, there is a sliding service fee (for my order, which came to about $70 with taxes, it was $4.95). The order arrived about an hour later and it was exactly what we asked for. There was only a small snag, which was that our confirmation email showed we had been charged two service fees, but thankfully the second fee did not appear on our credit card bill, so it wasn't a problem.

One thing to consider is whether you need your beer cold when it arrives. When BeerRightNow sent us beer, it arrived cold. When I later ordered beer, it was not chilled. I asked BeerRightNow's Jonathan Gropper about this. He recommended stating in the comments if chilling is important. He also advises giving BeerRightNow a heads-up if placing a large order for an event--for example if you were ordering multiple kegs for an event and wanted them chilled.

Convenience is the biggest selling point for BeerRightNow. Maybe you're like Tom and Jerry above and can't leave the house; maybe it's raining and you don't want to go outside; maybe your get-together is already underway, you've had a couple and shouldn't drive--for whatever reason, services like BeerRightNow put alcohol shopping on-par with shopping for things like groceries and prepared food delivery that have migrated online. It provides a fast and easy way to get your beer (or wine or liquor) right now (well, in about an hour--I'll take it). But the company is also about fun, as evidenced by its blog, which has stories on things like how to make your way to a crowded bar and cooking with beer. Yum!

Cocktail: Negroni

Negroni Cocktail

I've read that the negroni is what Italians drink during the summer, and who can blame them. The blend of sweet and bitter ingredients chilled over ice is undeniably refreshing.

The negroni is traditionally made with Campari, which I like, but is fairly bitter and not for everyone. To dial the bitterness back just a bit, make it instead with Aperol, Campari's less bitter cousin (both are made by the same company).

A negroni can be served up or on-the-rocks. In the summer, I prefer the latter to keep it cold on hot days.


1 1/4 oz. London dry gin (I used Fifty Pounds gin)
1 1/4 oz. Campari (or Aperol)
1 1/4 oz. sweet vermouth (I use Dolin)
Orange twist (garnish)

Combine the gin, Aperol and vermouth in a cocktail mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled and combined. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with the orange twist.


Teagroni - Uses tea in place of the Campari for its bitter taste

Boulevardier - Similar to a Negroni but made with whiskey

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stocking Your Bar: Bottles

This is Part 2 in a series of three posts on stocking your home bar for 2015 Summer Cocktails Week. See Part 1 on Equipment and Glassware.

Now that you've acquired some basic equipment and glassware, you're going to need something to fill those glasses with. Stocking bottles may be the most daunting task of setting up your home bar. There are so many choices! How much should you spend? Conceivably, it could be quite a lot.

I recommend a "go slow" approach to stocking your bar, rather than stocking a bunch of different bottles that you may (or may not) use at some point. A key aspect of this approach is identifying what type of drinker you are. Do you like a variety of gins but prefer one brand of whiskey? Do you love rum but not tequila? Does that fact that you shunned tequila after a bad binge in your early 20s mean you can't now enjoy (much higher quality) tequilas years later? Some tips:
  • When you're out drinking, ask your bartender about ingredients, especially what's in your drink if you like it. Write down what he or she says. And don't be afraid to ask for advice. It was talking with The Gin Joint's bartender that led me to really appreciate Fever Tree India tonic water for my Gin & Tonics, for example.
  • Identify a few drinks you like and acquire the ingredients to make them. That way, you know you're going to use what you're buying. Continuing in that fashion, you'll have a nice collection of bottles in no time.
  • Consider price carefully. If it's your first time buying a type of spirit, you probably don't want to start at the high-end. You can pay a lot for some bottles, and that's not money well-spent if it's not something you'll like. However, be wary of the opposite end as well, as you get what you pay for. And the maxim that you can make good cocktails with cheap ingredients is a myth. Your cocktails will be only as good as the ingredients they are made from. I recommend beginning with something mainstream, which will typically put you in a median-to-low price point, a good place to start. Then branch out from there.
  • Make friends at your liquor store. The folks who work at good liquor stores are generally very knowledgable and they can be a great resource for identifying good bottles, particularly ones you may not have heard of. And don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they're "stupid." It's the best way to learn, and you're not the first person to have ever asked it.
There are many different types of spirits that can be used in cocktails. Below is a list of a few of the more popular types and my thoughts on selecting them.

(pictured above)

If I had to choose a favorite spirit, it would be gin. Gin is a neutral spirit (i.e. purified through distillation) flavored with botanicals--typically juniper along with a variety of other spices and fruits. The most popular gins tend to be British, particularly London dry style, which is our favorite for Gin & Tonic and includes recognizable brands like Tanqueray, Bombay (and its more aromatic product, Bombay Sapphire) and Beefeater. A lesser-known London dry gin that we're into lately is Fifty Pounds Gin (which, thankfully doesn't cost £50). Plymouth is another popular British gin, not a London dry, but its own clean style that is great in a classic Dry Gin Martini. Hendrick's is also a great gin because of its cucumber flavor; try it in the honey-ginger Indochine Bee's Knees.

American-made gin has really taken off in recent years. It tends to have a "greener" flavor than British gins, with botanicals other than juniper being more forward. Aviation gin, a lavender-forward gin made in Portland, Oregon is great in a Last Word. Other American gins I like include Bluecoat, Leopold's and Greenhook Ginsmiths. 

Some other interesting types of gin include two older styles: Genever, which is considered the original gin, and Old Tom, a sometimes sweetened version. Both of these vanished from the American market for a long time but have come back recently. Try Hayman's Old Tom gin in a Martinez, a martini precursor. Lastly, there's aged gin, which gives it richer, woodsier notes, almost like a whiskey but with gin's botanical profile. Few makes a barrel-aged gin that's good in the Berlioni.

Other notable gin cocktails include the Rickey, Tom Collins, Gimlet, and Negroni.


Vodka is a neutral spirit like gin but without the botanicals. Unless you're buying a flavored vodka (like vanilla or citrus pictured above), it's meant to be flavorless. In the late 20th century, vodka knocked gin from its former perch, becoming the most popular spirit and a popular gin replacement in many cocktails (including the martini). Given the craft cocktail movement's love of old-school recipes, vodka has suffered a backlash in recent years (the Death & Co. book, for example, contains no vodka recipes). While I'm not a big vodka fan, it can be a useful blank canvas if you want to showcase other flavors. Smirnoff and Absolut are good mid-range brands. Stolichnaya is a little pricier and mostly useful for its flavored vodkas (vanilla vodka, for example is great in a White Russian, while Stoli Citros is nice in a Cosmopolitan).

Many popular vodka cocktails are just gin cocktails with vodka substituted; however, vodka is indispensable in The Vesper, Cosmopolitan, White Russian and Harvey Wallbanger. For a good Vodka & Tonic, I recommend American-made Tito's vodka with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water.

Tequila (and Mezcal)

For whatever reason, no spirit has a closer association with youthful debauchery than tequila. For that reason, I know quite a few adults who won't drink tequila--they had too many bad experiences with it in their youth. This is a shame, for I imagine they weren't drink very good tequila and this spirit, just like any other, ranges from pretty poor to pretty amazing in quality.

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, with the finer tequilas made of 100% blue agave, and less-fine ones made from other sugars (although at least 51% agave). There are four basic types of tequila. Mixto is tequila that is not 100% agave and is typically the less expensive kind like Jose Cuervo Especial Gold. I'll drink mixto in frozen margaritas, but for nicer cocktails I prefer one of the other styles. Finer tequila break down into three basic types: White/blanco/silver, which is unaged; reposado, which is slightly aged (my favorite for most tequila cocktails); and añejo, which is aged the longest. Generally, aged tequila is more expensive and browner, with some añejo tequilas being quite costly like fine whiskeys, although you can get reasonably priced añejo from brands like Sauza. Jose Cuervo, Camarena, Herradura and Hornitos are all brands that make tequila I enjoy.

Then there's mezcal, which is made from roasted agave, giving it a smoky flavor. Mezcals can be harder to find than tequila, but are enjoying a surge in popularity these days. Skip any that come bottled with worm larvae or other creatures (I saw one with a scorpion in it once, ewww). Because they are rarer, mezcals can also be pricier than tequila. Vida, produced by Del Maguey, is an approachable, affordable place to start.

Tequila is, of course, most closely associated with the Margarita, whether on-the-rocks or frozen, but also popular in the Tequila Sunrise and Paloma. Mezcal can be used in many tequila cocktails for a smokier drink, like the Smoky Paloma or Margarita on Fire.


Rum is distilled from sugar cane and produced mostly in the Caribbean and South America. It can be light, dark or even black, with the darker rums generally having more flavor. I'm not as much into rum as I am gin, tequila or whiskey, but it's a great summer spirit, as its Caribbean origin makes it perfect for tropical cocktails, especially tiki rinks like the Mai Tai or rum swizzles (like The Theory of Everything). Bacardi, Mount Gay and Captain Morgan are popular brands, but there are many small-scale producers and very fine rums can be quite costly.

Popular rum cocktails include the Mojito, Dark 'n' Stormy, Rum & Coke, Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Mai Tai.

Whiskey (or Whisky)

I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to whiskey (which is the American or Irish spelling; it's "whisky" in Canada and Scotland) is made from fermented grains and aged. It comes in many different styles and is produced mostly in North America, Ireland and Scotland. Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky and American whiskey are the four umbrella styles, and of course there are sub-styles.

In America, the most common ones are bourbon, which is made mostly from corn, and rye, which (no surprise), is made mostly from rye. They are similar in flavor, although bourbon is generally smoother and sweeter. While bourbon is more common than rye, there are many brands of both. For bourbon, Knob Creek and Buffalo Trace are popular, affordable brands. For rye, I like Bulleit and Rittenhouse.

The Scottish version is called Scotch whisky (or just "Scotch") and is often smokier than American whiskeys, due to the use of peat fires to dry malted grains. It is most commonly sold as "single malt" or "blended," the latter being a blend of various single-malts and other whiskys (like grain whisky). I don't use Scotch much in cocktails, although I do sometimes float a little Islay Scotch on top of a drink. Islay Scotches are known to be particularly smoky, so this gives the drink a nice smoky aroma. The Laphoraig Islay Scotch is fantastic.

Popular whiskey cocktails include the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Mint Julep and Whiskey Sour.


Brandy is a spirit made from fruit, particularly grapes. It is sometimes the base spirit of a cocktail or it may be a modifier--a secondary component in a cocktail that modifies the base spirit. Apple brandy, sometimes called apple jack, is a favorite, as well as cognac, a French grape brandy. And Kirschwasser, a cherry brandy, is essential for making cheese fondue. I'm not a big brandy drinker, but I have a few on hand for cocktails, particularly the cognac and applejack. Notable brandy cocktails include the Sidecar, Brandy Alexander and Vieux Carre.


Liqueurs are distilled spirits that are flavored and sweetened. You can buy liqueurs in just about any imaginable flavor these days. I have many and have chosen just a few common ones for the photo above. If you like Margaritas, you'll want to have orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Patrón Citronge. St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur, is a popular choice. Ginger liqueurs like Domaine de Canton are fun to experiment with. Herbal liqueurs like yellow or green Chartreuse are common in many cocktails. Kahlúa is essential for making White Russians. You can't have an Amaretto Sour without amaretto liqueur. And maraschino liqueur, like Luxardo makes, is common in many old-school cocktails.

Aperitifs, Digestifs, Fortified Wines, etc.

This last category of modifiers is one of the most interesting.  Fortified wines are wines that have been combined with brandy and other aromatic ingredients. These bottles are not really spirits like the bottles discussed above, and consequently, most have much lower alcohol content, which means they require refrigeration and will spoil much sooner than spirits, most of which you can keep in your cupboard indefinitely. Dry and sweet vermouth are very popular choices, and essential to drinks like the Dry Gin Martini and Manhattan, respectively. I like the Dolin brand, particularly because they sell their vermouth in smaller bottles, which is ideal for making cocktails where you only use a little bit.

Bitter Italian aperitifs like Campari and Aperol (essential for a Negroni) have become very popular lately, as have their bitter relative the Amaro, a class of bottles like Cynar that are considered digestifs or liqueurs. Cocchi Americano is a great aperitif wine. It's a little sweet and gets its distinctive bitterness from quinine, the same ingredient that makes tonic water bitter. Cocchi Americano is essential for making a Vesper.


Not the aforementioned bitter digestifs that are sometimes called "bitters," this is a different class of bitters. They come in small bottles and are made from a menagerie of herbs, spices, fruit peels and other ingredients. Some call them the "salt and pepper" of cocktails, as they are added in amounts of one or two dashes to many drinks. They are alcoholic but considered "non-potable"--so bitter that you wouldn't want to drink them on their own. Hence, they can be sold in supermarkets in many states (just like vanilla extract). Angostura bitters is by far the most popular and used in many drinks, but there are lots of other great types of bitters. Last summer I wrote a week's worth of content on cocktail bitters; check it out if you want to learn more.


Lastly, there are the mixers, the nonalcoholic ingredients in many cocktails. Juices from freshly squeezed citrus fruit (limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruit) are common mixers, as are carbonated drinks like club soda, tonic water, lemon-lime soda and cola. Even coffee, milk, cream and tea can be mixers, depending on the drink.

My my own experience served as the research for much of this article, but I was also grateful to find excellent information from Epicure & Culture, and Wikipedia. 

Cocktails mentioned in this post

Cocktail: Mai Tai

There's something about Chinese restaurants that make me want to drink a tiki cocktail, specifically a Mai Tai. Perhaps it's because the Chinese restaurant we frequent most often has a great list of tiki drinks, and the Mai Tai is our favorite. Never mind that tiki drinks are more Polynesian-inspired; I'm always happy to pair a sweet/tart Mai Tai with spicy Kung Pao Chicken.

There's also something about summer that makes we want tiki cocktails. Like margaritas, these fun, fruity drinks just feel more appropriate for warm, sunny days. If you want to know more about tiki drinks in generally, check out Washington Post spirits columnist Carrie Allan's recent article. I'm going to focus on the Mai Tai.

The classic Mai Tai (and there's some debate as to what this is, which I'll get to in a moment), is a mixture of rum, orange curaçao, orgeat (an almond syrup) and lime juice. It's tart and refreshing with a slightly savory note from the orgeat, a syrup made from almonds. While this is considered the standard by the International Bartenders Association, there are many variations.

The Mai Tai dates back to the 1940s. Its creation is most frequently credited to Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr., founder of the Polynesian-themed restaurant chain Trader Vic's. I say "most frequently," because--as I've found is not uncommon in cocktail lore--there's an alternate story that credits its creation to Bergeron's rival, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, a.k.a. "Don the Beachcomber," who was also a Polynesian-themed restauranteur. Don's Mai Tai is similar, yet distinctly different, using about twice as many ingredients. In addition to rum and lime, it has grapefruit juice, falernum (an almond syrup, like orgeat but spiced), Cointreau (instead of curaçao), bitters and pernod. Sounds interesting, but preferring simplicity, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Vic, who insisted he created the Mai Tai. Unfortunately, neither of them are around to argue the point, as they both died in the '80s.

Rum, orange curaçao and lime juice are easy to come by, but orgeat? That's a little harder. You can buy orgeat, but you can also make it. Neither of these options seem particularly appealing, as good orgeats tend to be hard-to-find and expensive, and most recipes for making it seem long and involved.

However, there's a fantastic short-cut though for making orgeat. I'd call it a hack, except I despise how that term is being used these days. I hear "hack" and I think of violent phlegmy coughs (sorry to digress). Anyway, cocktail writer Kevin Liu, author of the fabulous book Craft Cocktails at Home, has a much simpler and really smarter way to make orgeat: use almond milk. This is such a brilliant idea. None of that time-intensive and repititious soaking, grinding and straining that other recipes call for. And here's the thing: the almonds you buy at the store are the "sweet" kind, and orgeat really should be made with bitter almonds, since they make for better almond flavor. Bitter almonds aren't available at grocery stores, but they are typically used in making almond milk. So not only is Kevin's method simpler, it's truer to what orgeat should be. Fantastic. I'm not going to reproduce his recipe here, since I think you should visit his site, but it's pretty easy and calls for almond milk, almond extract (you probably have some already if you do much baking), sugar and orange blossom water, which, after some searching, I found in the Asian aisle at Whole Foods.

Given that orgeat isn't so easy to find, there are quite a few variations that call for other ingredients. You can make it with a Mai Tai "mix," like this one, which, as far I can tell, contains lots of chemicals but no nuts or fruit. A better route would be to make something with amaretto, which is almond-flavored liqueur. Other recipes also often have other fruit juices, particularly pineapple juice.

Years ago when I first started making cocktails at home, Chris got me the Maran Illustrated Bartending book. Although I don't use it so much anymore, it was a great entree into cocktail making, with lots of colorful photos and simple recipes. They do things that cocktail purists don't like: add lime cordial to margaritas, muddle lots of fruit into old-fashioneds and shake their martinis. But there are some fun recipes in this book, and I have long enjoyed their variation of the Mai Tai, which combines the traditional rum and lime with Grand Marnier, amaretto and pineapple juice. The drink is bracingly sweet and tart and less alcoholic than other Mai Tai's. I'd probably significantly up the rum if I was making this now.

Which is exactly what I did for this "Improvised" Mai Tai I came up with while writing this article. Doing this research put me in the mood for the drink, so I tried to satisfy that craving with what I had on hand. Unfortunately, there was no orgeat in the house, or almond milk to make it, but I made do with amaretto and Velvet Falernum. The results were great; not quite as sweet as Mai Tais usually are, but definitely rocking that tart/almond flavor the drink is known for.

Classic Mai Tai

2 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. orange curaçao
3/4 oz. orgeat (for homemade, I recommend Kevin Liu's recipe)
1 oz. lime juice
Lime wedge garnish

Combine rum, orange curaçao, orgeat and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

Pineapple-Amaretto Mai Tai
Adapted from Mai Tai, Maran Illustrated Bartending

1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier (orange cognac liqueur)
1/2 oz. amaretto liqueur
3 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. lime juice
Pineapple wedge garnish

Combine rum, Grand Marnier, amaretto, pineapple juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with pineapple wedge.

Improvised Mai Tai

1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1/2 oz. Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz. amaretto liqueur
1/2 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 oz. lime juice
Scant drop of orange blossom water
Lime wheel garnish

Combine rum, Velvet Falernum, amaretto, curaçao, lime juice and orange blossom water in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with lime wheel.


Beachcomber Cocktail - A tiki-style cocktail I like because it's fairly restrained and not as sweet as many other tikis.

Aunt Beru's Blue Milk Brew - A Star Wars-inspired creamy cocktail that actually has a lot in common with tiki cocktails.

Cocktail: Dark 'n' Stormy

Cocktail: Dark 'n' Stormy

Highball cocktails are perfect for summer. Tropical islands like Bermuda make you think of lazy sunny days on the beach. Put the two together, and you're well on your way to a blissful summer escape in a glass (even if you're sipping it from the balcony of an urban high-rise like I do).

Highballs are sweet and refreshing and typically lower in alcohol, allowing you to drink them through the day without getting completely smashed (unless you drink them fast, which is easy when they are made well). That makes them perfect for a hot day.

The Dark 'n' Stormy is a classic "highball," made with few ingredients: dark rum (you can even use black rum), ginger beer and lime juice. It hails from Bermuda, specifically the Gosling Brothers (no, Ryan is not one of them), makers of Gosling Ginger Beer and Black Seal Rum. Making it with those specific ingredients is classic, but you can certainly use others and have a fine drink. Also, you don't have to use a highball glass--a lowball (or "rocks" glass) or Collins glass (tall and skinny) will work too.

Cocktail: Dark 'n' Stormy

1 1/2 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3 oz. ginger beer
Lime wheel garnish

Combine rum and lime juice in a glass with ice. Add ginger beer and garnish with lime wheel.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Cocktails Week 2015

It's Memorial Day! The unofficial start of summer is as good as time as any to start thinking about what you want to drink this summer. Something icy and sweet? Something classic? Something new and interesting? I've got it all this week.

I'm starting the week with a few rounds of what is possibly my favorite cocktail, the margarita. I've got recipes for frozen versions--a simple, classic version I like to make at the beach and a smoky-sweet version from noted mixologist Dave Arnold from his book Liquid Intelligence. I also feature a pear margarita made with smoky mezcal.

Tomorrow, I'm heading to the islands--metaphorically, unfortunately--for a breezy summer escape via the Mai Tai, a classic tiki cocktail, and the Dark 'n' Stormy, the national drink of Bermuda. Wednesday, I'll have a couple of other classic drinks (Negroni and Vieux Carré). Thursday, I get a little experimental with the Green Tea and Cucumber Gimlet, which makes the classic gin/lime drink even more summery.

Today also launches a three-part series on stocking your home bar. I'm starting with an overview of barware and glassware. The series will continue later this week with bottles and books. Also, I'll take a look at the growing market for online liquor delivery with a closer look at BeerRightNow.

Sit back, pour a drink and enjoy. Cheers!


Frozen Margaritas

Smoky Pear Margarita

Stocking Your Bar: Equipment and Glassware

Frozen Margaritas

Frozen Margaritas
Smoky frozen margarita
On a hot day, I love a good frozen drink, and nothing beats a good frozen margarita, sometimes called a blended or blender margarita. We drink then like fiends at our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurants. Is there a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than on an outdoor patio with some chips, good guacamole and frozen margaritas? I doubt it.

When we're at my mom's Oregon beach house, I make a drink I call--appropriately--the beach margarita. I use frozen limeade in this drink, which simplifies it immensely so I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time on our deck overlooking the ocean. We've tried several brands of frozen limeade, and I really have to recommend Minute Maid for this, as it has a truer lime flavor than other brands. You don't need to thaw the limeade, just use it frozen. Although I generally use reposado tequila in margaritas, for this drink I'm content to use a mixto tequila like Jose Cuervo Especial Gold. This drink is tart, not tarted up.

For something fancier, there's Booker & Dax bartender Dave Arnold's Blender Marg, a recipe from his book Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail. As the name implies, this is a science-focused book, basically Modernist Cuisine for the mixology set. The book is heavy on technique, although much more experimental than last year's technique-driven The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. For the home bartender, Liquid Intelligence is much less accessible--incorporating liquid nitrogen and centrifuge into the cocktail-making toolkit (for something similarly science-minded yet more accessible to a home audience, I recommend Kevin Liu's Craft Cocktails at Home). Despite that, some of Arnold's recipes are more approachable, and the discussions in the book are quite interesting. I love his experiments with stirring and diluting Manhattans, for example (and it's a real shame that there's a mistake in the Manhattan recipe in this section of the book, given that discussion of ratios is a key element in many recipes), which finds that smaller pieces of ice used for stirring a drink will not dilute a drink more than large pieces so long as the drink is always mixed until it reaches the same temperature (-2 degrees Celsius, in this case).

Arnold explains that the proportions of a blender margarita, as opposed to a standard shaken margarita, should have more sugar and less acid, plus less liquid overall to account for the extra dilution from using very small pieces of ice. He achieves this by upping to proportion of liqueurs to liquor. Most shaken margarita recipes (like the ones below in the "related" links) have about twice as much tequila as liqueur. For his Blender Marg, Arnold reverses that, using 1.5 oz. of liqueur--a mixture of orange Cointreau and herbal Yellow Chartreuse to 3/4 oz. mezcal. This ups the sweetness of the drink without needing added sugar and also keeps it potent, since these are higher-alcohol liqueurs. The Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub gives the smoky-sweet drink a nice hint of spice.

Frozen Beach Margarita
Frozen Beach Margarita
Makes 3 drinks

6 oz. frozen limeade (half a 12-oz. container, preferably Minute Maid)
2/3 cup tequila (such as Jose Cuervo Especial Gold)
1/3 cup orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Patron Citronge)
2 cups of ice

Combine frozen limeade, tequila, orange liqueur and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve in margarita or glasses (or other glasses, whatever is available at the beach).

Smoky Frozen Margarita
Adapted from Dave Arnold's Blender Marg recipe in Liquid Intelligence

1 oz. orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
3/4 oz. mezcal
1/2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt
10 drops of Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
4-5 oz. ice cubes

Combine orange liqueur, mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, salt, habanero shrub and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth (don't overblend). Serve in a margarita glass.


2015 Summer Cocktails Week

Smoky Pear Margarita (mezcal, pear liqueur, lemon, lime)

Classic Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, lime, agave)

Margarita on Fire (tequila, mezcal, orange liqueur, lime, agave, habanero shrub)

Ginger Margarita (tequila, ginger liqueur, lime)

Apple Margarita (tequila, ginger liqueur, apple, agave, lemon, bitters)

Smoked Sage Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, lime, smoked sea salt, sage)

Stocking Your Bar: Equipment and Glassware

Cocktail mixing glass with julep strainer and barspoon.

This is the first in a series of three posts on stocking your home bar for 2015 Summer Cocktails Week.  See Part 2 on bottles.

Learning to make cocktails at home is a great thing. It's more affordable than buying drinks at a bar, you control the quality of your drink, and it impresses your friends. Plus, it's just fun. The making of good cocktails with quality ingredients--sometimes referred to as the craft cocktail movement--has sparked interest in the craft of cocktails unseen since the pre-Prohibition heyday of cocktails. Old recipes are being revived, new recipes are being created, long-gone spirits are being revived, "craft" distillers are trying new things with their "small-batch" offerings (the word "craft" gets thrown around a lot in this space). If you like good drinks, it's a great time to be drinking. So why not get in on the making as well?

To make cocktails at home requires a few essentials: the tools to make the drinks, the glassware to serve them in, the ingredients to create them and the recipes that tell you how. There's also, importantly, the techniques for doing it well. I won't cover technique specifically, but when I get to the recipes part, don't ignore the portions of good cocktail books that cover techniques, as reading them is a great way to learn.

Today, I'm going to cover barware. Some of these things are more essential than others; some are more about preferences. I'll do my best to explain those issues as I go along.

Left: bullet-style Cobbler shaker. Middle: glass-and-metal Boston shaker. Right: tin-on-tin Boston shaker. Bottom: hawthorne strainer.
Shaking and Stirring

Some cocktails are built in the glass they are drunk from, but the majority are either shaken or stirred. While you can stir a drink in any ol' glass, to shake a drink you really need a proper shaker. There are two make styles: the Cobbler and the Boston. The cobbler shaker is, at first blush, easier to use. Cobbler shakers consist of a large cup, a top with a built-in strainer, and a small lid that covers the strainer while shaking. To use, simple add the ingredients, fill with ice, cap, shake until very cold, remove the cap and strain the drink into the glass. The downside of the cobbler is that cap. If it's not a good one, it can leak, and if, like mine, the cap fits inside the top, it can get stuck as the top contracts due to cold and be hard to remove.

That's why I prefer the Boston shaker, which I use almost exclusively these days for shaking drinks. The Boston shaker consists of a large metal cup and either a glass (usually a pint glass) or another smaller metal cup. To use it, mix the ingredients in the smaller cup, add ice, invert the larger cup over the smaller one. Give two firm taps to seal the larger cup over the smaller one, invert the whole thing so the smaller cup is on top (give it another firm tap if you want, just in case) and shake. When done, you have to unseal the shaker, then use a separate strainer, like a hawthorne strainer, to strain the drink into a glass.

The metal-and-glass Boston shaker is classic, but I prefer an all-metal version, referred to as "tin on tin." Getting a seal with two metal cups is easier, as the metal is flexible. Two firm taps with your palm against the bottom of the metal cup is usually enough to get it to seal over the glass, but not always, and you have to be careful not to break the glass. Getting the metal-and-glass shaker apart can also be challenging, usually requiring a sharp "hit" to the side to break the seal. The tin-on-tin Boston shaker seals easily with two firm palm taps and can usually be unsealed just by twisting and pulling the smaller cup. Having two metal pieces also chills the drink faster, since metal chills faster than glass. Whatever you get, I definitely recommend not getting a Boston shaker where the glass has a rubber rim around it. I find this actually doesn't seal very well. I used to have one of these and more often than not made a terrible mess when I tried to shake with it. With the tin-on-tin Boston shaker, I've never had a problem making a good seal. The larger cup should be 28 to 30 ounces; the smaller, 16 to 18 ounces.

For drinks that are stirred, I recommend getting a cocktail mixing glass. Sure, you can use any ol' glass (and any ol' spoon), but a proper cocktail mixing glass (and proper barspoon for stirring) are fantastic tools to get the job done well. Mixing glasses come in different sizes. Mine is 550 ml, which is ideal for mixing one or two drinks. A lot of them are named by their designs, such as Yarai, a criss-cross pattern, or Paddle, vertical tapered grooves. To use a mixing glass, add ingredients and fill with ice. Stir until very cold (you want to stir a lot, like 50 times or more, as you're not just mixing the ingredients together but also chilling and diluting them). Strain with a julep strainer (like a big spoon with holes) into your glass.

Why the two strainers? Hawthorne strainers are sized to fit nicely inside the mouth of a mixing cup and have a tight coil around the edge that catches seeds and other small particles that might be in your drink. Drinks mixed in a stirring glass don't tend to have such particles (a mixing glass is used for drinks that are only alcohol, like a Martini or a Manhattan) and the pouring lip and larger opening can make using a hawthorne awkward, hence the julep strainer. If you bought only one, Id saw get a hawthorne, because it will work in a mixing glass, it's just not ideal.

Left: three sizes of jiggers. Right: two sizes of graduated measuring glasses.

Cocktail recipes are mostly written with exact measurements, usually in ounces or fractions thereof, as well as sometimes teaspoons for small amounts. "Free-pouring," the art of "eye-balling" those amounts is very difficult to do with any reasonable precision. I don't recommend it. Instead, invest in some measuring equipment. Jiggers are a traditional choice. They are little metal cups that come in preset amounts. Usually they are sold as two joined together, so you get a 1 and 2 oz jigger, for example. Bartenders use jiggers because they are easy: so long as you pick up the right one, just fill to the rim for the amount needed. But I don't really like them. I find them messy to pour from and they aren't useful for uneven measurements--like if you're doubling or halving a recipe. Instead, I prefer graduated measuring glasses. My favorite one is the larger 5-oz. one pictured above, which has multiples types of measurements (ounces is the most common in America).

Left: citrus press. Right: Microplane zester/grater.
Other tools

Citrus press. Now I've moved beyond the essential tools to other things that I think are very useful. I am almost tempted to say a citrus juicer is essential. I know that you can squeeze lemons and limes with other tools, including just your hands, but a citrus press makes the process so much easier and cleaner that it's hard to say "no" to one of these. And citrus is very common to cocktail-making. If you make very many drinks with lemon or lime juice (Margaritas, for example), you'll enjoy having one.

Microplane zester/grater. This is less essential but really useful for things like grating fresh nutmeg over a Spanish Coffee.

Top: ISI Cream Whipper. Bottom (left to right): swizzle stick, muddler, paring knife, peeler, channel knife, wine opener and churchkey.
ISI Cream Whipper: Definitely not essential, but a lot of fun. It's stated purpose is for making whipped cream (yum), but you can also use it for quick-infusions and even carbonation (like I did for the Spring Fresh Cocktail).

Swizzle stick. There are some plastic stirrers marketed as swizzle sticks, but the real deal is a spiked branch from the quararibea turbinata tree used to stir a class of drinks known as swizzles by twirling the stick in the drink. See The Theory of Everything cocktail.

Muddler. Muddlers are used for crushing herbs, citrus and vegetable bits to release their flavor into drinks. They are often wooden, although I reviewed a metal-and-plastic one last year that I rather liked. They are useful for a lot of drinks, the most popular of which is probably the Mojito.

Paring knife. Essential for things like cutting citrus and fruit. The good news is that you probably already have one.

Vegetable peeler. Useful for making thin garnishes, like the apple peel spiral in the Deluxe Appletini.

Channel knife. This is for cutting twists, such as lemon twists, for garnishing. Although it works well for that, you can also make a nice twist by first using a vegetable peeler to peel off a good chunk and then neatening up the sides with a paring knife. In some ways, I prefer that method, as you can make the twist a little wider, and thus less likely to break when you twist it.

Wine opener. Obviously essential for wine, and wine sometimes goes in cocktails, so you better have one.

Churchkey. One end pierces cans, the other opens bottles. You're probably already familiar with this (although maybe didn't know that it's called a "churchkey").

Lewis bag and ice mallet.
Lewis bag and Ice Mallet. If your freezer is equipped with an ice maker with a crushed ice setting, you probably don't need this. If, like me, you lack that but need a good way to crush ice (for drinks like a Mint Julep), this works great. Better than a food processor (leaves big chunks) or blender (makes pieces too small). Just fill the bag with ice, tie it off and hammer away. Great for stressful days.

Some other useful things: A fish-mesh sieve, good for double-straining cocktails; measuring spoons, for small measurements.


Glassware is part of the fun of cocktail culture. Sure, you could serve any drink in any glass, but having the right glass is part of what makes a cocktail special. That said, I understand that you probably won't be buying all the right glassware. I'd love to have the proper cups for Mint Juleps and Moscow Mules, for example. But a decent selection of glassware will give you enough variety to keep things interesting.

Left-to-right: coupe, cocktail, flute, and three styles of wine glasses.
Coupe: This is an idea glass for making a variety of old-school cocktails. These are for smaller drinks, those of about 4 ounces or so.

Cocktail: Also for smaller drinks (i.e. the ones without a lot, if any, mixers), this is the more fashionable cousin to the coupe with its conical shape. Some call this a martini glass, but if you've been schooled by Neil of My Poor Liver Podcast, you know that's a misnomer (a martini is just one of many types of cocktails that you can serve in this glass). Although lovely, they are easier to spill than a coupe.

Flute: Perfect for champagne, and thus champagne/sparkling-wine cocktails like The Amour.

Wineglasses: These are good to have for wine, obviously, but can also work for cocktails if you are missing specialty pieces. A frozen margarita, for example, tastes great from a wineglass.

Left-to-right: shooter, rocks/lowball/old-fashioned, pint, highball, collins, margarita and 
Shooter: I'm not big on shots, but I do have shooters if the occasion arises. I used them for the J.R. Shot cocktail, for example.

Rocks glass: Also called a lowball or old-fashioned, this is an idea glass for a wide variety of cocktails, especially those served with ice. I use this for so many drinks.

Pint glass: generally used for beer, but can also be used for larger cocktails.

Highball: This is idea for larger cocktails, especially those named for the glass--the sort of lower-alcohol drink that is refreshing during summer, like The Kristin.

Collins: A collins glass is even taller and skinner than a highball. Of course, it's a typical choice for a Tom Collins or a variation like the Kickin' Cucumber Collins.

Margarita: Margaritas can easily be served in other glasses. I often serve them in rocks glasses. But it can be fun to break out these glasses for drinks like the Margarita on Fire.

Tempered coffee mug. This glass is tempered for hot drinks. Although meant for Cappuccino, it's great for hot cocktails (like a Smoky Tea Toddy).

Where to buy: Cocktail Kingdom is a fantastic site for good-quality barware, including hard-to-find items. For more conventional tools, often at cheaper prices, there is Amazon. I picked up my shaking tins and jiggers at a restaurant supply store in Manhattan. Liquor stores will often stock equipment for making cocktails.

Did I leave anything off? Any questions about using these tools? Let's discuss in the comments below.

Drinks mentioned in this post

The Amour

Deluxe Appletini

Dry Gin Martini

Frozen Margarita

The J.R. Shot

Kickin' Cucumber Collins

The Kristin



Margarita on Fire

Mint Julep


Smoky Tea Toddy

Spanish Coffee

Spring Fresh Cocktail

The Theory of Everything


Stocking Your Bar: Bottles