Cocktail is a word derived from the French “quenching”. It is basically an alcoholic drink that is prepared with alcohol, ice, and sugar, and sometimes garnished with a garnish, such as a lemon drop. A cocktail is basically an alcoholic mix of spirits, with one or more fruits added for flavor, and other ingredients like gelatin, colored syrup, or liqueur. There are different kinds of cocktails, depending on the variety and type of ingredients added. Some of the popular cocktails in the world are: Americano, Manhattan, Martini, Old-Fashioned, Red Wine, Scotch on the rocks, Gin martini, and the list is endless.
Americano is a contemporary cocktail made using spirits from the United States, most notably whiskey. Many bar owners will serve this cocktail with Chardonnay or pinot noir instead of grape juice. This is a very popular cocktail, especially in New York City where it is often prepared in a blender, with ginger ale, lemon juice and cognac. Other ingredients commonly used are the aged cabbages, strawberries, lime juice, and amaranth sauce.
The Manhattan is a classic cocktail made with gin, brandy, vermouth, and soda. Ingredients can vary widely, but all that is typically needed is a triple sec, lemon juice, and ice. These days you can find Manhattan drinks in a wide variety of flavors, but the traditional drink is still popular. One way to make a Manhattan at home is to use the fresh lemon juice in place of soda. You can also substitute a martini for the vermouth in a Martini.
In a bartender’s cocktail book, the bartenders use a variety of techniques to create interesting and unique drinks. One technique that is quite common is the Martini. The Martini is also known as the Sicilian mule, due to the resemblance of the ingredients have to the Sicilian food of seafood, chicken, and white wine. Most bartenders start the drinks by mixing the base ingredients with vermouth. The Martini can be topped with either dry sherry or sweet vermouth depending on your preferences.
Cocktail ingredients can change according to the occasion. In many bars, the bartenders will serve a drink with a very different base ingredient than the typical Martini. For example, in the holiday season, Manhattan Cocktail will be prepared with gin, triple sec, dry vermouth, and sparkling wine. In most bars, these cocktails will also include a shot of tequila or vodka as well. A common variation in these cocktails is mixing Scotch whiskey with the vermouth in order to create a Manhattan.
If you are looking for a good way to spice up your cocktails without changing the base ingredients, then flavoring may be the way to go. Most bartenders serve ginger ale or other brands of ginger ale in mixing glasses. Adding a layer of ginger or other “ginger” flavor will give the drink a slightly different taste without overwhelming the taste of the ingredients. Ginger ale will give it a light taste, but not overpowering, and is not high in calories, so it’s a great option for parties where the guests do not need to consume a lot of calories. If you are having a hard time determining which brand of ginger ale to use, just add a pinch of the same flavor to some water and see what you get.
Other methods of modifying cocktails can be purchased in many liquor stores or online. One such product that many bartenders use is fruit juice. Juice is easily added to many cocktails and can even be used in place of alcohol in order to create different kinds of fruit-based cocktails. This is an easy and cheap way to create something unique, although it does depend on whether the spirits are already prepared or if you are buying a product specifically for that purpose.
It should be clear by now that cocktails can be made at home with simple equipment and ingredients. If you feel adventurous, buy a kit that has everything you need to create a few different kinds of cocktails right from home. Kits vary in price and quality, but they are still less expensive than purchasing a drink at a bar and paying for all of the ingredients individually. Kits also make it easier to choose a specific brand of spirit, mix up a batch of mixed cocktails, and practice at home before you try them at a real bar. For more information on making homemade drinks, check out the web sites for some great books and DVDs on the subject.