Month: January 2016

Cocktail of the week no.5: the Martinez

So I popped down to Gerry’s Wines and Spirits recently to get some new ingredients and expand my repertoire. It seems less common for people to make complex cocktails at home in the UK than it is in the US, perhaps because alcohol is generally more expensive here, so there aren’t a ton of stores that are really well-stocked. Gerry’s is the best in London as far as I can tell. The staff are really helpful, and I incidentally learned the correct way to pronounce ‘Tokaji’ when another customer was gently corrected (it’s Tok-eye). Among other things, I picked up some Old Tom gin, a style of gin popular in the 19th century, made obscure by the rise of London dry gin, and resurrected in the last decade or so. I bought it specifically to make a Martinez, an old relative, and supposedly the predecessor, of the Martini. I tried a Martinez for the first time recently at Bar Américain. It’s very different from a Martini, and not the easiest thing to drink, but it really stuck with me. It’s complex and bittersweet, featuring …

Bonus cocktail: the Princeton

I saw this drink browsing the ‘cocktails’ tag on my WordPress reader – thank you Rapid Cyclist! I spent 5 happy years in Princeton doing my PhD, and met my husband there, so this seemed like one I had to make. I’m not including it in my Cocktails of the Week, because it’s quite random, and I prefer to make my way through the big ones in that series, but it’s a great bonus! I looked up the cocktail, and found some more info at Serious Eats, of course. Apparently a barman named George Kappeler mixed a series of Ivy League themed drinks at the Holland House bar in New York in the late 19th century, as a way of currying favour with his student customers. Naturally, some of these cocktails are better than others. It’s doubly convenient because I just bought some Old Tom gin, and was wondering what else I could use it in, and we happen to have some nice port in the house too. I love the two tone effect of this cocktail, which is achieved …

Cocktail of the week no.4: Whiskey Sour

Aaand… another sour cocktail – this time I had lemons to use up. I love the combination of smoky, sweet bourbon and crisp, tart lemons – somehow it all blends together perfectly. It seems like the perfect thing to knock back before dinner. 2 0z bourbon 1 oz fresh lemon juice 0.5 oz simple syrup Dash of egg white (optional, I prefer it without) Shake with ice and then strain into a glass with more ice. Garnish with lemon rind and a maraschino cherry.

Cocktail of the week no.3: the Margarita

Again with the limes… These freshly made margaritas are so clean and bright – like a little blast of summer in January. We’re tempted to make these every time we make fajitas, which is OFTEN. 2 oz blanco tequila 1 oz Cointreau 1 oz fresh lime juice Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (one day I’m getting proper margarita glasses, I feel it will be worth it). If you like a salty rim, run a lime wedge round the edge of the glass and dip it in salt. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Cocktail of the week no.1: the Old-Fashioned

I’ve always liked a good cocktail, but something about living in London has alerted me to the fact that I don’t really know enough about the art of making them as I’d like to. As a kind of educational project, I’m planning to make a new cocktail every week, and work my way through as many classic recipes as possible. I hope to learn a lot over the course of the year about spirits, techniques, and equipment, including but not limited to how to make perfectly clear ice cubes. As a starting point, I’m using this list at Serious Eats. I don’t intend to do it in the same order, or necessarily cover all of the cocktails on the list, but I like it as a reference point.  I’m going to start with a true classic, the original cocktail – just spirit, sugar, water, and bitters. Most Old-Fashioned recipes call for you to muddle a sugar cube with a dash of water and bitters, and then add the whisky on top. Some call for the …