It seems like society is getting back to Cocktail Culture. In previous times and trends we moved away from drinking, relaxing with a smoke and the evening newspaper and started going to the gym, jogging or whatever. Sure, that was all good and well, however, did it feed our soul? Did we feel less stress or just put impact on our joints and worry over if we did not get good enough of a workout because we only spent 45 mins on the treadmill instead of an hour? Exercise is good, but real health comes from alleviating stress, whether it be working out, going for a walk, relaxing in the yard with a drink (iced tea, soda or any beverage), watching a favorite sitcom, or enjoying a cigar outdoors.
I believe that in the 1970s when our parents came home from work and had a cocktail, it was not because of stress but because they felt they were accomplished. They moved beyond the factory work their parents endured and now they were in executive positions and while it was mentally harder (not physically) there was nothing wrong with coming home and having a Gin & Tonic (or a Vodka Tonic) before dinner was ready. As children we didn’t pay much attention to it, as long as we got our fix of Brookdale Soda or Coca-Cola, but now we seem to admire them for taking time out to relax and we wish we could do the same. So why can’t we? Sure, the days of happy hours are over, we need to rush home instead of to the bar. So, the bar is now at home. And that is a good thing, why spend time socializing with the same people we like or might not like at work… its supposed to be a “Happy Hour” right, so why would socializing with people from work make it any happier unless they were attractive members of a different department who worked on another floor? Sure, that might work for the singles, but those who are married need to get home to wife and/or family.
So, in 2011 we learned to realize that what our parents had in 1971 was not such a bad thing. You come home, you have a drink, you have a nice dinner with the family, maybe some wine is on the table, and then some strong coffee afterward while you relax and read and/or watch the news. Some will argue this is habitual drinking. I will take any associated health risks with 1-3 drinks each day over the stress that can cause greater harm on the body and mind. Please do not be mistaken, do not drink to vent or overcome stress. But if you put in a hard day and you know that cocktail is going to bring you joy and relaxation, by all means, enjoy, you deserve it. These are tough times, and we seem to be working twice as hard for half the money.
So, here is a super simple guide to cocktails at home. Remember the most basic simple rule, its 3, 2, 1. 3 Parts liquor, 2 parts sweetener, 1 part other… some examples:
— Margarita: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts fresh lime juice, 1 part triple sec, sugar or OJ
— Daiquiri: 3 parts ice, 2 parts rum, 1 parts fresh lime juice
— Gimlet: 3 parts gin, 2 parts fresh lime juice, 1 part sparkling water
— Whiskey Sour: 3 parts whiskey, 2 parts fresh lemon juice, 1 splash of water or club soda
— Amaretto Sour: 3 parts amaretto, 2 parts fresh lemon juice, 1 large ice cube.
See how easy this is? If not, let me make it easier for you with some Highball cocktails:
— Gin & Tonic: double shot of gin, fill tall glass with ice and tonic, garnish with lemon
— Rum & Coke: double shot of rum, fill glass with ice and coke, garnish with lemon
— Gin & Ginger: double shot of gin, fill glass with ice & ginger ale, garnish with lime
— Jack & Ginger: double shot of Jack Daniels, fill glass with ice & ginger ale
— Jack & Coke: double shot of Jack Daniels, fill glass with ice & cola
Want to get sophisticated: Here are simple Martinis:
— Gin or Vodka Martini: 3 parts gin or vodka, splash of dry vermouth, tons of ice, shake hard, strain into martini glass, garnish with olive or lemon rind (not the juice).
— Sour Apple, Watermelon or Peach Martini: 3 parts vodka, 2 parts snapps, 1 part water, shake hard with ice, strain in martini glass.
You just learned to make nearly 2 dozen most basic drinks all with similar ingredients. Just remember to measure, don’t eyeball or guess. Unless you are a skilled bartender of many years and have made these drinks hundreds of times, take the extra half second to use a shot glass to measure the amount for each drink. Also remember that sweet & sour mixes are nonsense and garbage. Buy a fresh lemon or lime and squeeze it fresh, it will improve your drink by at least 100% — often sugar is not needed, but if you do need it, use natural sugar or agave nectar. There you have it… cheers!