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Thomas Avad

Cocktail recipes easy to make at home?

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This is not meant to sound as flippant as it's probably going to sound but... they're all easy if you have the ingredients you need for what you want to make.

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You could start here

 

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Give us some cocktails that you like and we can suggest others that have few ingredients and uncomplicated instructions. Most cocktails are simple to make, requiring only the most basic skills. Drinks with citrus require a knife, cutting board, and squeezer. Eggs required double shaking (first with little or no ice, then with ice). Many cocktails can be built (make in the serving glass) even if they are originally stirred (in a mixing glass with ice, then strained into the serving glass) or shaken (in a shaker then strained into the serving glass). There would be some minor changes in dilution, temperature, and mouth feel. I admit to building Martinis over a big ice cube in a frozen rocks glass when I'm feeling lazy.

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On 3/12/2018 at 7:12 AM, Tri2Cook said:

... they're all easy if you have the ingredients you need for what you want to make.

 

Which is another way of saying that the difficulty in cocktail making isnlt the making ... it's the shopping, the affording, and the preparing / not wasting all the various fresh ingredients and infusions.

 

Based on this, I think the easiest cocktails are ones that don't require fresh ingredients (juices, etc.), homemade infusions, or relatively obscure ingredients that will take a bite out of your bank account and cabinet space and that you'll use a few ounces of maybe ever.

 

I'd look at cocktails like the Negroni, which is all spirits, and all useful ones. Technically speaking, vermouth is perishable, but it lasts long enough in the fridge that you'll probably drink it in time.

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On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 7:12 AM, Tri2Cook said:

This is not meant to sound as flippant as it's probably going to sound but... they're all easy if you have the ingredients you need for what you want to make.

 

I never got the hang of liquid nitrogen.

 

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12 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I never got the hang of liquid nitrogen.

 

 

The secret is that it's not very good straight up.

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A lot of classic cocktails are very easy: the Moscow Mule, the Manhattan, Mojitos, Cosmopolitans. They don't require hard-to-find ingredients or special techniques.

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If you can choose one spirit that you know you like to begin with (gin, rum, rye, tequila, cognac) then buy yourself one mid-level bottle of that and explore possibilities from there.

 

Other basics:

one of the more popular bottles of bitters (explore these later, just don't start with something that's way out there)

simple syrup (make it yourself, it's cheap and easy)

lemons and limes and a juicer that works for you (don't be tempted to use bottled juice!)

 

In some recipes, you'll see maybe ½oz - 1oz of a liqueur. These can be expensive, especially if you aren't sure you're going to like it. Always check the store for miniatures of these, and/or smaller bottles like 375ml, etc. And, unfortunately, those cheapo brands really aren't very good. (I'm referring to those 750ml bottles of liqueur for under $10.) Most have artificial flavors and taste weird and metallic (IMO anyway). The good stuff is made from real fruits. An added bonus: good liqueurs can be used in the pastry kitchen to flavor icing, syrups, mousses, etc.

 

Good luck!

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I'm not Thomas, the OP, but I would love some simple, easy to prepare cocktails recipes that I could make with the basic liquor store ingredients...(where I live there is no access to the exotic).

The only liquor I don’t much like is Scotch.  I have a very good assortment of the others in upper-mid range.

I particularly like Gin, Vodka , Canadian Whiskey and Rye.  

Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's may favorite easy drink: The Martinez.

 

I make it 1:1 (gin and sweet vermouth) with a dash of orange bitters and a twist of lemon peel. Classic purists insist on Old Tom gin, I like it with almost any gin. Slightly more expensive vermouth does make a difference -I tend to buy the $9 bottle from Italy instead of the $4 American brand. That said, the $4 isn't actively bad, it just isn't as complex.

 

Some people add a dash of maraschino to it, I find that it becomes too sweet with my ratio. If you go 1.5 gin to 1 sweet vermouth, then maraschino makes more sense. But it also changes the flavor.

 

I have a small bitters collection, and if I use one of the more exotic ones in a Martinez, I eliminate the twist.

 

Anyway, this is an easy drink to play around with and customize. And, the ingredients don't go bad very quickly on the shelf.

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If you can find ginger beer at your liquor store, I recommend the Moscow Mule:

1 shot vodka over ice in a rocks glass

Add the juice of half a lime, and a slice of lime

Fill with ginger beer

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4 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

Slightly more expensive vermouth does make a difference -I tend to buy the $9 bottle from Italy instead of the $4 American brand. That said, the $4 isn't actively bad, it just isn't as complex.

 

A thought on sweet vermouth ... the most common brand in US liquor stores, Martini & Rossi, is divisive. Many people think it's perfectly good, many people think it tastes like soapy bathwater. It's not about the sophistication of the taster; it seems like a phenomenon similar to cilantro. The people who like it have no idea what the bathwater-complainers are talking about.

 

I'm one of the bathwater-complainers. It ruins drinks for me. You'll have no idea where you stand on the issue until you taste it. I'd suggest that if it's the only brand you can find locally, try the smallest bottle they have.

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3 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

A thought on sweet vermouth ... the most common brand in US liquor stores, Martini & Rossi, is divisive. Many people think it's perfectly good, many people think it tastes like soapy bathwater. It's not about the sophistication of the taster; it seems like a phenomenon similar to cilantro. The people who like it have no idea what the bathwater-complainers are talking about.

 

I'm one of the bathwater-complainers. It ruins drinks for me. You'll have no idea where you stand on the issue until you taste it. I'd suggest that if it's the only brand you can find locally, try the smallest bottle they have.

 

Wow, I can drink it just fine -I just prefer Noilly-Pratt or Cinzano. I'm sorry to hear this, @paulraphael, this has be pretty terrible for you when you try to order drinks out. I will take note of this when party planning.

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If you like Campari, Punt e Mes works great as the sweet vermouth in just about any recipe, including or especially a Manhattan.

 

Gin: Martini, Negroni, Gin & Tonic (good tonic makes quite a difference), Martiniez (if you don't insist on Old Tom), Pegu Club, Pegu Club (Pink) - my variation with Campari

Rye: Vieux Carre (with Cognac), Red Hook, Manhattan (including many variations), Old Fashioned, Sazarac,

 

Many of these are stirred, spirit-forward drinks, making them really easy to make. If you prefer lighter, brighter drinks, look to the sour family (spirit, lemon or lime, sugar and/or sweet liqueur). Some sours have an egg white for foam (e.g. whiskey sour), but you can almost always omit that to make it simpler.

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On that brighter list, Gin Rickey and Tom Collins. Daiquiri if rum's around. Basically, booze + citrus + sugar is often a winning combination.

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Posted (edited)

I'm a fan of the Last Word - no matter how tipsy I become, I can always remember the recipe:

Equal parts dry gin, green chartreuse, maraschino and fresh lime juice - shake over ice and strain. Easy-peasy.

 

ETA: Though it belatedly occurs to me that people just starting their cocktail explorations aren't likely to have maraschino and chartreuse laying around.  My bad!


Edited by PassionateAmateur re-thought (log)
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On 15.3.2018 at 2:04 PM, Craig E said:

Basically, booze + citrus + sugar is often a winning combination.

 

My answer would be, too: Sours.
They work with any base spirit, require, in their simplest form, only four ingredients (ice is the fourth one in case you're wondering) and are easily modifiable (add some Crème de Mûre to your Gin Sour and you have a delicious Bramble; the Mai Tai is basically an enhanced Rum Sour, too). Plus, they're not too boozy although the base spirit is cleary the prominent ingredient.

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On 3/13/2018 at 11:50 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I never got the hang of liquid nitrogen.

 

It's for making ice cream, not cocktails... 

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You need to figure out what mode you want to be drinking in... quick and boozy, like a Manhattan or Martini; tall and fizzy like a Gin and Tonic; dry; sweet; wine-like; bitter; slushy; booze-soaked fruit... there's lots of directions you could go in.  "I want a cocktail" is a lot like "I want some food".  You've gotta be a bit specific, or you might get escargot instead of creme brulee... 

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Yes.  I want all those.  I like almost everything, I just  can’t make ‘fussy' or exotic.

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When you say your boozery has nothing fussy or exotic, just how basic are we talking?  Do they have rum from anybody but Bacardi?  What percentage of the shelf space is devoted to vodka? If you're in a just-the-big-brands-and-lots-of-vodka zone, you're not going have much luck making cocktails that are interesting until you can get some herbs and make your own syrups to add flavor to the neutral booze.  That's more of a summer project.  Tho, anybody can mail order bitters, which add interest to some of the blander stuff.    

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On 3/14/2018 at 11:31 PM, paulraphael said:

 

I'm one of the bathwater-complainers. It ruins drinks for me. You'll have no idea where you stand on the issue until you taste it. I'd suggest that if it's the only brand you can find locally, try the smallest bottle they have.

I agree 100%.  M&R red is not something I'm happy to encounter.

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Bourbon - a rock.

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