Making a fancy cocktail at home is actually really simple, and much less expensive than a martini at a dim-lit trendy bar. Thanks to a recent live demonstration from Art in the Ages, you only need three key ingredients to perfect a balanced cocktail: simple syrup, a sour (such as lime juice or lemon juice) and a liquor, such as gin or bourbon. Bonus: Once you’re done experimenting with this three-pronged recipe, you can call yourself a mixologist. So much classier than bartender.
According to Rachel Mae Furman, national brand ambassador for Art in the Ages, the Los Angeles-based distillery is the first spirits manufacturer in the city since alcohol was forbidden during the Prohibition era. (What took so long? We’re not sure.) She graciously showed the ABCs of cocktail mixing. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can add or take away fresh flavors as you please
Here’s what you need:
Simple syrup – Make your own at home by boiling equal parts sugar and water until the sugar has thoroughly dissolved
A sour – Lemon juice or lime juice
Liquor – Your choice of whiskey/bourbon, gin, vodka
Fruit – Your choice, could include a variety of berries and stone fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries (which go well with whiskey), raspberries, peaches (also a great partner with bourbon)
Egg whites – Separate the whites from the egg yolks beforehand and keep the whites refrigerated
Herbs – Try mint and basil, both classics
Cocktail shaker and strainer
A jigger – A fancy word for a two-sided shot glass that accurately measures ounces of liquor
Cut up the desired fruit and/or herb into smaller pieces and toss into the cocktail shaker. Use your muddler to gently grind the fruit/herbs. If you’re using egg white, pour some of it now, about 0.75 ounces. Add 1.5 ounces of the desired liquor into the shaker. Then add 0.75 ounces of simple syrup and 0.75 ounces of the sour. Put the top back on the shaker or cover the lid with a highball glass. Pour more egg white, if desired. (Splitting up the egg whites ensures you’ll have a frothy drink.) Make sure the two pieces are secure, then shake vigorously. Remove the top or the high glass. Cover the lid with a strainer to hold back the mashed fruit or bits of herb. Pour contents into a martini glass. Done.
For large parties, try to prepare everything beforehand, so you won’t have to muddle each drink every time someone orders one. An easy trick is to infuse the simple syrup with the fruit, such as peach, while you are boiling the sugar and water. Keep the mixture refrigerated until the day of the party. Other fancy tricks: Float champagne or club soda on top of the cocktail for some fizz. Another option is to swirl the glass with a wash of absinthe before pouring in your mixture.