Newsletter – 13th May 2020
Happy Wednesday Team!
And hey, it’s not just Wednesday! Today is a very special day indeed. Today is WORLD COCKTAIL DAY!
So today, as you can imagine, it is all about the cocktail! I’m going to give you a little bit of cocktail history with the disclaimer that cocktail history is a little ambiguous. There are lots of different stories emerging from lots of different parts of the world and it is a little tricky to pin down at times. It’s a fascinating subject to learn about, like one big jigsaw puzzle. So, let’s see if I can ignite a little thirst for knowledge in you guys.
On Wikipedia alone there are several stories suggesting the origin of the word cocktail. The Oxford Dictionaries define cocktail as “An alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or cream”. However, even the development is a little hazy, with sources suggesting that traditionally cocktails were a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. By the 1860s, however, a cocktail frequently included a liqueur. Another complication in terminology is differing language, particularly when comparing US and UK terminology, which is similar but not always the same. For example, a drink that is simply a spirit and mixer is sometimes termed as such in the UK, sometimes referred to as a Long Drink (think the Finnish Long Drink for those of you who read that newsletter), and is the US, and sometimes the UK, it can be referred to as a Highball. It’s all a little confusing, right? There is a wealth of knowledge out there though, and to make it easier for you guys to access, I’m currently working on a list of links to some of the best blogs out there for gins, rums and cocktails, so you set about learning more on your favourite drinks. It’s the stories behind cocktails that make them what they are. They are something special and watching a bartender making a cocktail is as much of a visual performance as the finished drink itself.
So, let’s take a look at some of THE classic recipes. Now, as you can imagine, if you google classic recipes, you’re going to get a whole lot of different answers. These lists are likely to cater for what’s in fashion at the time, so I’m compiling a little list of my own:
Vodka Martini or Gin Martini? Espresso Martini or Passionfruit Martini? So many options. Let’s get started with something simple:
A whisky based classic that can be made with whiskies or bourbons:
Considered a little girly, this drink is just simply delicious. So, don’t put off by stereotypes:
- Old Fashioned
A cocktail that lives up to its namesake as one of the cocktail forefathers:
A cocktail for serious cocktail drinkers, the only non alcoholic element is the ice and the use of Campati, or equivalent is a big factor in it’s seriously bitter, in your face attitude:
- Bloody Mary
I’ve got a soft spot for a Bloody Mary (or Red Snapper if it’s made with gin rather than vodka). It’s an excellent breakfast cocktail and hangover cure. This one, care of Diffords has a nice little sherry twist to it:
A Tequila classic, this drink can also be made with Mezcal. And it’s super simple. Tequila, lime, sugar and you’re away:
Most barmen dread Mojito orders. People go nuts for them in the summer, and why not? With white rum, mint, lime and soda, it’s one of summer’s go to cocktails. So, why not give those barmen a break and learn how to make them at home?
A holiday classic, there are a silly amount of twists to this juicy little thing. So, let’s start at the beginning with this recipe for a ‘classic daiquiri. What you add to it then is up to you:
A gin staple, this is as simple as it gets:
Now now, settle down, ten might be a big number, but there are so many more cocktails out there. Where’s the White Russians? The Long Island Iced Teas? The Caipirinha? My advice? There are a wealth of recipes out there so pick yourself up a start kit and get mixing!
And, where do you get started with knowing what spirit to use? I would start a collection with sturdy, base flavours. For example, if you’re making a gin based cocktail, you want a strong punchy classic flavour. This is going to shine through whatever elements you add and still prop up the drink. Get yourself down with your base spirits. From this point, you can be inventive, but it’s a case of what flavours work with what cocktail. For example, a gin with an olive twist on the flavour can prove delicious in a Negroni. It’s all about being creative, but before you get ahead of yourself, nail these ten classics and you are on your way.
Being World Cocktail Day, I wanted to give you an overview of classic cocktails, now for those gin and rum based ones, a few suggestions of good spirits for the job:
Gin: Highfield Original. A family run business, based just outside the historic town of Melbourne in South Derbyshire. Highfield gin combines the distinctive taste of juniper berries alongside the finest botanicals. They add a twist of citrus to transform it into a truly outstanding gin. Buy it here
Rum: Appleton Estate 12-Year-Old Rare Blend Rum. Rare blend if the new name for Appleton 12-Year-Old-Extra. Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Rare Blend is superb blend of rums many of which have been aged for at least 12 years. Buy it here
White Rum: Damoiseau Pure Cane Rhum. From the Damoiseau Distillery coms a Guadeloupean rhum agricole, made exclusvely from pressed cane sugar juice, silky smooth, with fresh grassy notes, subtle spice and a distinct tast of olives. Buy it here
Hope you have a great week! See you next Wednesday!