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slkinsey
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I often try to expand the cocktail repertoires of my less cocktail-experienced friends, which is something I probably have in common with many people who frequent these forums. And, of course, a great technique for learning which directions to explore is simply to ask the other person what cocktails he/she likes, which creates a nice opportunity for me to suggest: If you like Cocktail A, I bet you'd really like Cocktail Z.

So, for example:

If you like a bourbon Manhattan, you'll probably like one with rye and bitters. And if you like a Manhattan with rye and bitters, you'll probably like the Tombstone (100 proof rye, demerara syrup and bitters). And if you like the Tombstone with rye, you'll probably love it with Laird's bonded applejack. And so on.

I'd be interested in hearing other strategies like this. What's the best way to expand the cocktail palate of a devoted vodka tonic drinker? What about a Cosmo drinker?

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I'd be interested in hearing other strategies like this. What's the best way to expand the cocktail palate of a devoted vodka tonic drinker? What about a Cosmo drinker?

so would I!!! thanks to this board (look, i'm not just a lurker anymore) i've discovered an intense love for the cocktail and tried so many new things, like marichino liqueur, Campari, and bitters.

i was so excited to share this new love that my wife and i threw a cocktail party. when i started asking everyone what they want, i just got blank stares. so i tried asking what they liked... they didn't know. finally someone said, "i'd like a cosmo" and four others chimed in with a "me, too." i really wanted them to try something new, but didn't want to force the issue, so i made them Cosmos. i followed the recipe from the CocktailDB exactly (having never made a cosmo before... not a vodka fan). when they drank it everyone came to the same conclusion: "Ugh... tastes like vodka."

WHAT??!!! of course it does... there's a lot of vodka in there. to make them happy, my wife just gave them more cranberry juice to dilute the whole thing so it ended up being about 3:1 cranberry to vodka... not really a cocktail.

how in the world do you get non-cocktail or "Cosmo drinkers" to try something new?

BTW... i tried an Aviation on someone who said they loved gin & tonics, but hated dry martinis. his reaction: "eh, this is ok." frustrating.

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how in the world do you get non-cocktail or "Cosmo drinkers" to try something new?

With the Cosmopolitans and the Aviation, when you make them at home and follow a precise recipe, you usually end up with something that packs more of a punch. How serious your crowd is about cocktails (not very from the sound of things) will determine what they have a taste for. Most people like things on the sweeter and weaker side. Most of the Cosmopolitans I've had out are like pink lemonade, but the ones I make at home tend to have a harder edge to them.

Next time you have a party, plan a set cocktail menu. Offer 2-3 choices and people will tend to try things. Choose enough variation so that multiple tastes can be accomodated. For example, you could do a martini style drink and a highball-style drink to accomodate different tastes for cocktail strength.

Whether they like what they try - well, that's another story.

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With Cosmo drinkers it depends on the sort of Cosmo they prefer, the long drink version with a liberal dose of cranberry juice or the cocktail version which is basically a pink Kamikaze.

If they prefer the long Cosmo, they might also enjoy Sex on the Beach (vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice) because most of the primary flavors are the same and the alcohol content is similar. I am aware that many eGulleteers might consider this to be a step in the wrong direction, but it's in the same school of drinks.

If they prefer the cocktail Cosmo, then the trick is simply finding what spirits they enjoy. I'd cycle them through other drinks in the school by simply omitting the cranberry juice and changing the spirit and citrus a tad. They might go for a Margarita, Sidecar, XYZ, etc.

I would think vodka tonic drinkers might not be too hard to deal with, as they aren't afraid of bittersweet flavors. On a more obvious note, you might want to check their views on gin. If they don't prefer gin, that rules out the obvious G&T, but shouldn't necessarily cause problems. Vodka tonics with bitters are generally approved of I've found. Whether or not it is a step in the right direction, I'm not sure, but fruit-flavored vodkas tend to play well with tonic water. Are the people favorable towards stronger drinks? If so, one might want to see how they feel with the bittersweet aperitifs like Lillet and Campari.

Edited by mbanu (log)
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i was so excited to share this new love that my wife and i threw a cocktail party.  when i started asking everyone what they want, i just got blank stares.  so i tried asking what they liked... they didn't know.

Yeah, I've been there.

Most people just don't know what to ask for or what they might like. They've just been exposed to the super sweet watered down stuff you get in most bars and chain restaurants.

But, I also don't really know what I would say myself. If I were over at someone's house, I wouldn't ask them to make me a Pegu Club or a Corpse Reviver #2. Or in another example, my father-in-law enjoys thinking of himself as quite the bartender; but, his drinks are far too large and far too strong. As much as I would like to please him by asking for a cocktail, if I want to be standing by the end of the night, I stick with beer or wine.

I agree with kjohn. Plan a small menu of drinks that aren't too challenging for you to execute or your guests to enjoy.

The most successful drinks I've made for non-hard liquor drinkers are champagne (or prosecco) cocktails. A $6 bottle of prosecco, some bitters, a little sugar, and limoncello is a fantastic aperitif that will appeal to just about anyone. If your guests don't hate gin, French 75s are also fun.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like a good mojito. Definitely a good drink for Cosmo drinkers. Moscow Mules or Audrey's Gin Gin Mule are also appealing to most. Though you have to be careful with the really easy to drink cocktails. We had Moscow Mules at a friend's election debate party last year. Oh boy, my head hurt the next day.

For folks who know and like Whisk(e)y, but don't drink it mixed much, a well made Sazerac can be a real eye opener.

-Erik

edited for usage

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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how in the world do you get non-cocktail or "Cosmo drinkers" to try something new?

For non-cocktail drinkers, I would suggest starting them off with the not-so-ubiquitous aperitif (is an aperitif still a cocktail?), Kir. I'm not much of a drinker, but I'll drink Kir anyday, anytime (though not Kir Royale).

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If someone says they want a cosmo I would recomend a southside cocktail, made with the special juniper and citrus infused vodka, I would recommend Plymouth, muddled mint, lime juice, and symple syrup. A french 75, also with the infused vodka is a good bet. I just tryed it in a collins, with a bit more champers than classicly, and big shards of ice. It was sublime.

For a true beginner, how about a Bramble? Juniper infused vodka, lemon, and simple built on crushed ice with a beautiful, purple float of creme de muir.

Edited for spelling

Edited by Alchemist (log)

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I've never been a big fan of the Cosmo. It's okay, but I don't understand the adulation that this cocktail has come to enjoy. However, I think that if you like Cosmos you'll like this. It's a drink made with Absolut Citron (1 jigger), Triple Sec (1/2 ounce) (I actually tried substituing Gran Marnier to "improve" it, but it really didn't), Creme de Cassis (one teaspoon or to taste) and ruby red grapefruit juice (a couple of ounces), the latter of which I never drink. This my variation on a cocktail made by Emeril Lagasse TVFN except his calls for ruby red grapefruit juice cocktail, but I think that would make it too sweet. I moisten the rim with lemon and dip it into raw sugar crystals. I think it's delicious and has a greater depth of flavor and more substantial mouth feel than the Cosmo IMHO.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Yes, "Juniper-infused" vodka. I have had it listed that way as one of the ingredients in my recipe for "Pinoy Lemonade"---I didn't add it to the first Pegu menu because I'm re-working it. I also offered it that way up at Bemelmans, and cosmo drinkers loved it. The vodka drinker's general concern with gin is that it will be too predominant and overwhelming---they didn't mind the "juniper-infused vodka" after trying it because the flavors worked really well together.

When working with a cosmo drinker, flavorful "sours" are a good start: Floridita #3 always works, as does the Gin-Gin Mule. Also the Corpse Reviver #2, the Pisco Sour, and our Champagne Apricato (French 75 with apricot liqueur). Coming soon in the next couple of months (with the arrival of white grapefruit season): Pisco Punch---Pineapple-infused Pisco, White Grapefruit Syrup, Lime Syrup, Lemon Juice.

Audrey

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I think that so many people love the juniper, citrus infused vodka, and don't like gin has do do with bad high school assotiations. Pardon the spellin it's early on a sat. morning. It seems like most people somehow got a handle jug of (need I say cheap) gin, and some atrocious mixer, when they were 17, got snotflying drunk (and mean, because they didn't hold their licker well) and are left with a bad memory of gin.

Good juniper/citrus infused vodka, in a well balanced cocktail is ambrosia.

Oh, for the cosmo drinker who has a little adventure in them I like the Pomagranate gimlette.

2 Oz. Juniper Citrus infused Vodka, I like Plymouth

.75 Oz fresh lime juice

A shy .75 Oz. simple syrup

barspoon Pomagranate molasses

Wicked yummy, And if you sub Rye for Plymouth you have a sublime Ward 8.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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If you add mint to the gin/pomegranate/lime mix you have Jerri Bank's fabulous Juneperitivo cocktail (utilizing Junipero Gin).

A Ward 8 utilizing lime juice instead of lemon juice? we should try it. My experiences have always led me to toward lemon juice with brown

spirits, and lime juice with white spirits. Not a rule set in stone, but more of a guide which Dale put out there to me years ago--which continually affirms itself.

Audrey

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"Juniper infused vodka?" :smile:

This is a joke, right? Plymouth is GIN last time I checked. I suppose fooling people could be a good thing sometimes but I'd still be afraid of the person who has the "juniper infused vodka" hit the instant eject button when they smell or taste it. Sense memories can be quite powerful.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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What is gin other than a grain spirit, infused with botanicals, and citrus? It is just a wonderful, complex uber-mixable infused vodka.

Yes sense memory is very powerful. But peoples palates change. I didn't like beer or scotch when I was thirteen. My palate has become more sophisticated. Good dining, and drinking experiances can be ephiphinys. There are times for comfort food and drink but there are times to have adventure and challange yourself. The phrase "aquired taste" denotes that there are things you don't like the first few times. Campari, Fish Sauce, Guiness, Kim Chee (Something that I am still trying to like, so I keep having it at every oppertuinity) Unicum ect.

Also, there are people who have not had something done right. If I had only had a Martini made with rotgut vodka, stale, or rancid, vermouth improperly chilled, served in a dirty, chipped glass, I wouldn't be a fan.

I have made many a convert. I have taken hardcore vodka drinkers and brought them into the light. Now they drink gin and rye.

We in the service industry are sometimes the Virgil, to the Publics Dante. When I go to a resturant, I ask the advice of the staff, because they have the knowlage. I give them some ideas of what I'm looking for and they (I wouldn't ask on a slamming Sat. night) inveriably steer me right. A good server can with a few questions understand what your tastes are and, after a little honing in, will bring you the PERFECT thing.

It can be lovely to put yorself in the hands of a professional, fasten your seat and enjoy the ride.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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i followed the recipe from the CocktailDB exactly (having never made a cosmo before... not a vodka fan).  when they drank it everyone came to the same conclusion: "Ugh... tastes like vodka."

I deal with this all the time. A lot of my female friends drink things like "Malibu Bay Breezes" - "drinks" in which there is no trace of the base spirit. My approach has been one which will, over time, convince them that it's a *good* thing to be able to taste the alcohol in their drinks.

I've avoided throwing gin-based drinks at them, and generally stuck to long drinks. Mojitos have gone over well (too well), as have mai-tais (slightly bastardized), and whiskey sours. I think I'm beginning to chip away at their pre-conceptions, which is exciting. In a few months, they may even be ready for a trip to Pegu Club.

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I've avoided throwing gin-based drinks at them, and generally stuck to long drinks. Mojitos have gone over well (too well), as have mai-tais (slightly bastardized), and whiskey sours. I think I'm beginning to chip away at their pre-conceptions, which is exciting. In a few months, they may even be ready for a trip to Pegu Club.

yeah, i think this was the error of my ways. i've been so into cocktails that i've really started to enjoy the bite of alcohol (and the drunk part... well, sometimes). weak drinks feel like there's something missing to me. but others taste the alcohol and retreat. i forget that most people don't ever really have cocktails. they go for the sours, tonics, and the long island ice teas... or the sickeningly sweet ?-tinis.

long drinks may be the compromise. they can get used the the flavors of the liquors without the overt alcohol-taste. and then once they're used to it... martinis for all!

also... great suggestion on the champagne cocktails. i don't think many people will refuse those.

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Have you tried the Champange Opppertunity #3 ,in the charming fashion of the Jockey Club, Rio de Janiero, in Jigger, Beaker, and Flask?

My copy is not right at hand (the horror, the horror) but I'll give it a whirl.

In a large champange coupe place an Angorastura soaked sugar cube. (if the imbiber has a sweet tooth I rinse the glass with a wee bit of simple syrup) crack four large ice cubes, and pile them artfully atop the cube. Take a medium size lime and with a channel knife pruduce one long, continious spiral. Wrap the sprial around the inside of the glass. Pour champange, then float a barspoon or two of Cointreau across the oily effervencence. No garnish needed.

Champange cocktails are wonderful because the first sip and the last might as well be different libations.

For the heartier soul, a Jimmy Roosevelt would be in order.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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ok... with "champagne cocktails," can i get away with cheaper sparkling wine. as long as it doesn't taste bad, right? does it actually have to be Champagne?

the Champagne Opportunity #3 sounds like it tastes good and is beautiful. i'm really loving the beautification of cocktails. a lot of the fun of making them is making them look great!

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Certainly no reason to use something expensive. But you might also want to stay away from the super-cheap stuff, as it tends to be way too sweet. I find that Cava works fairly well, and isn't too expensive.

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