We’ve certainly mixed up our share of passionfruit caipirinhas, elderflower cosmopolitans and pineapple margaritas to understand there is a place for those types of drinks. Yet, when a single classic cocktail recipe spawns such a riot of variations, it’s only because the original drink was truly great from the start.
The following are the classic cocktails from which have come literally dozens of spin-offs and variations. Commit these easy recipes to memory and you’ll be set behind a bar for life.
Just as important as learning how to make the drink is knowing which glass to select for serving it! Use a short tumbler (known as low-ball or old-fashioned glass) for a margarita on the rocks, caipirinha, or old-fashioned; select a martini glass for a martini served straight up or a Cosmopolitan, and a highball glass for a mojito or Moscow Mule (if you don’t have the traditional copper mug).
James Bond would scoff at the multitude of cocktails that now place themselves in the martini category. Shaken or stirred? Well, that one nuance of the classic that’s always up to you.
This national drink of Brazil is made with a rum known as cachaça, which is distilled from fresh sugarcane juice. If you can’t find cachaça, use light rum instead.
This cocktail is so classic that there’s a glass named for this drink. Serving it with a single large ice cube is a special technique that keeps this cocktail well chilled without watering it down.
If any one drink can be credited for the resurgence of the cocktail in recent years, it’s the Cosmopolitan, which appeared in bars across the country in the mid-1990s and has since become the most popular new drink to come along since the martini.
Made with light rum, lime juice, fresh muddled mint and sparkling water, the mojito is particularly refreshing on a hot day. If you don’t have sugar cubes on hand, you can use substitute a spoonful of superfine sugar or a splash of simple syrup.
Traditionally served in a copper mug, which helps to keep the drink ice-cold, a Moscow Mule can also be served in a highball glass. For the best results, chill your mug in the freezer for a few hours before serving this refreshing drink.
Spanish Gin & Tonic
Don’t be shy when it comes to garnishing this stunner from our Cocktails book. Follow the lead of Spanish bartenders, who traditionally load on flowers, herbs and spices to heighten the botanicals in the gin.
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This looks delicious and I have a jar of tahini in my pantry just begging to be used. Not a fan of coconut milk tho. Could I use heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk? If so, would the amount be different? Thank you.Hungry Darren