They can range from simple to incredibly complex. I know when I started my cocktail-making journey, I was completely shocked by the sheer number of cocktails that exist out there in the world. I was also delighted and surprised to learn that with three or four ingredients in my arsenal, I could make a plethora of delicious drinks.
So what are those ingredients?
Well, the definition of a cocktail is “an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or several spirits mixed with other ingredients…”
Therefore, you honestly have a lot of freedom when it comes to cocktails. The only limit is your imagination. And if you make something that technically isn’t a cocktail- you will not be arrested by the cocktail police! I promise.
Every aspiring mixologist or average Jane who wants to start making cocktails for their friends and family probably has at least one bottle of booze handy. And if you don’t, get thee to a liquor store or have is delivered to your door!
If you’re new to the world of cocktails, you’ll probably want to start out with something more novice friendly (uhhh, most whiskeys smell like shoe polish to me- yuck!) like Gin, Rum or Vodka. Once you have one (or several) of those basic liquors, you’ll be amazed at how many drinks you can craft.
The other thing you’ll need to craft these basic drinks is FRESH fruit.
Yes, actual real fruit.
Under no circumstances should you ever use those squeezy bottle lemon and lime juice thingies or cocktail sour mixes or whatever. No. Buy some fresh lemons and limes.
Finally, the third and fourth ingredients you’ll need are some kind of simple syrup and something like Ginger Beer or Barmalade mixers.
You can easily make your own simple syrup by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water. Plus it lasts a pretty long time and tastes way better than commercial simple syrup.
Ginger Beer is usually in the mixers aisle at the market, and I highly recommend either Q or Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
Barmalade is currently my personal favorite mixer as it comes in amazingly delicious flavors and tastes fresh and yummy. You could even get a few. My favorites are Blood-Orange Guava and Pineapple Passion-Fruit. Oh and if you’re so inclined, you can grab some soda water too.
Okay, so now you’ve got this stuff. And I can hear you saying- now what? I’m about to tell you ;).
With these things in your pantry, you can now make a TON of different drinks. Oh, but you will also need a shaker and a juicer, so make sure you have those handy, too- although some drinks don’t even require shaking!
Here’s what you can now make:
- Moscow Mule
- Dark N’ Stormy
- Lemon Drop
- Flavored Gin Drink
- Flavored Vodka Drink
- Orange Guava Daiquiri
- Pineapple Passion Fruit Daiquiri
- Flavored Lemon Drop
- And more!
Seriously, the list is long.
Let’s explore how to make some of these drinks using the ingredients I listed previously, shall we?
Oh dang. Prepare to have your mind blown. Moscow Mules are freaking delicious and so easy to make my friends! These are literally the steps:
- Pour two shots of vodka into a glass
- Squeeze half a lime into the same glass
- Top with Ginger Beer
Stir and Enjoy!
Dark N’ Stormy
Fun fact. Dark N’ Stormy is one of the only trademarked cocktails!
Anyway, a Dark N’ Stormy is exactly like a Moscow Mule except with rum instead of vodka.
You’ll want to use dark rum so you get the right coloring and the right brown sugar molasses flavor.
Likely those things you think of as daiquiris are those frozen drinks you can get in New Orleans. Those are not true daiquiris. True daiquiris are absolutely fantastic and only have three simple ingredients:
- 2oz of Rum
- ½ a lime
- ¾ to 1oz simple syrup
Put ingredients in your shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into a coupe glass or any glass. Drink!
Every female I know loves lemon drops. Hell, I love them too. They’re so simple to make and they’re yummy! Plus, you can flavor them so easily just by adding Barmalade or muddling raspberries or some other fruit.
- 2oz Vodka
- ½ lemon
- ¾ to 1oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and drain into glass.
The rest of these should be pretty obvious by now.
Take your Barmalade or whatever mixer you have and add 1 ounce to any of the above cocktails and you’ll have a new drink entirely.
That’s the beauty of mixology and cocktails!
Hopefully this was helpful.
If you want more tips and tricks on cocktail making, check out my channel Missologist on YouTube.
If you want to make drinks but want the ingredients delivered to you (such as the Barmalade), sign up for my monthly subscription boxes.
Now go forth and mix!