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BryanZ

Funky Easy-to-Make Mixed Drinks

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I'm new to the drinks forum, so I don't know what's been discussed of late.

Anyway, I'm the food editor of my college's newspaper and we're starting a "Drink of the Week" featurette. I'm looking for funky, cool drinks, or old-school classics that are easily made in a dorm-type setting. Perhaps the ambitious of you can give me a drink recipe dumbed down to the college level.

Any ideas are appreciated and background info. on the drinks would be a plus. I'm more of an amateur wine guy and don't know ANYTHING about mixed drinks outside of what I can buy from a lounge chair at a beach resort.

Thanks a lot.

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Bryan, to be honest most of the very best and most classic drinks are not complicated at all. To wit:

  • Margarita: 2 oz silver tequilla, 1 oz Cointreau, 1 oz fresh lime juice (shake/strain)
  • Daiquiri: 2 oz white rum, 0.5 oz fresh lime juice, 0.5 tsp superfine sugar (shake/strain)
  • Mojito: 2 oz white rum, 0.5 oz fresh lime juice, 1 tsp superfine sugar, mint leaves (lightly muddle mint and sugar; add rum, lime juice and ice; top with fizz water)
  • Sidecar: 2 oz Cognac, 1 oz Cointreau, 1 oz fresh lemon juice (shake/strain)
  • Martini (old style): 1.5 oz Tanqueray, 1.5 oz Noilly Pratt, 1 dash orange bitters (stir/strain)
  • Manhattan: 2 oz rye whiskey, 1 oz red vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters (stir/strain)
  • Pegu Club: 2 oz gin, 0.75 oz orange curaçao, 0.75 oz fresh lime juice, 1 dash each Angostura and orange bitters (or 2 of Angostura) (shake strain)
  • Aviation: 2 oz gin, 0.5 oz maraschino, 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice (shake/strain)

These are all three ingredient drinks, easy to make and classics every one.

I'd suggest purchasing Dave's book Killer Cocktails : An Intoxicating Guide to Sophisticated Drinking, which has lots of funky easy-to-make drinks and explains the cocktail craft perfectly for someone new to cocktails; Gary's book The Joy of Mixology : The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft, which has some good information on how drinks are constructed and can be grouped into families; and Ted's book Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum Cocktail to the Zombie, which has a lot of . . . (wait for it) . . . forgotten cocktails, all accompanied by interesting stories on their history, etc.


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You might start out reading a few threads here, and then looking at the two eGCI classes on mixology. Read over them, and then ask questions. Easy and funky are both very subjective.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26772 -Classic cocktails

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26775 -Evolving cocktails part 1

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26787 - Evolving cocktails part 2

Does your university have a student bartender organization? Back in the day at Columbia there was a student enterprise organization that trained bartenders and staffed various events with trained students. Maybe your university has something similar and you can consult with them about what they are teaching, and what they're observing when they're serving.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I recently threw a party and served old-fashioneds (it was a New Orleans theme) and I was surprised how much people LOVED them. Everybody, from college age on up was gulping them down like no tomorrow. There are lots of recipes online and it's probably on the classics page, but I just mixed up equal parts bourbon and club soda with sugar water (or sugar) to taste, a dash of bitters and a maraschino cherry was added as people poured their drinks. Easy, tasty, a hit.

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As a fellow student, let me just say that cost is a big factor when it comes to drinks. If it's something that requires a half-dozen separate (and expensive) ingredients, it's probably not going to happen. Not to say that these aren't great ideas - I'd love to go to a party where the options aren't whatever was cheapest at the offlicense.

edit: Thought of something - I'd never drunk this, or seen this drunk, in North America, but it's fairly popular here in Oxford: Pimm's and lemonade. I'm not sure if counts as a cocktail (probably not), but there's only two ingredients, amounts are somewhat subjective, it's pretty tasty, and it's probably something most of the students at your college have never had before.


Edited by lexy (log)

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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well... lexy is right. cost is a MAJOR factor in college. i'm not to far away from school and i can't remember a time when i could afford more than 1 bottle at a time. and it was rarely mixed with anything but soda... and by that i mean dr. pepper and coke.

maybe you can look at this from a economic point of view. do classic cocktails like slkensey mentions, but focus on 1 alcoholic ingredient for a couple weeks. like cointreau... then you can tackle a margarita and a sidecar in subsequent weeks, reusing the cointreau. or do a month of bourbon cocktails.

really, i think education is most important thing here. i didn't know anything about booze when i was in college, except it made you drunk (which was good enough for me). try focusing on one liquor and teaching about how it tastes. then provide a recipe or two to try it out (slkinsey's suggestions for this are right on).

lastly, this might not be good for party cocktails, but... i remember that having a quest for an evening was always fun in college. so maybe throwing in a few complicated recipes would inspire an adventure to find all of the ingredients?

good luck!

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I recently threw a party and served old-fashioneds (it was a New Orleans theme) and I was surprised how much people LOVED them. Everybody, from college age on up was gulping them down like no tomorrow. There are lots of recipes online and it's probably on the classics page, but I just mixed up equal parts bourbon and club soda with sugar water (or sugar) to taste, a dash of bitters and a maraschino cherry was added as people poured their drinks. Easy, tasty, a hit.

Well... I'm not so sure I'd call this a Bourbon Old Fashioned. With all that soda (equal parts!) it's really a highball: a sweet Bourbon & Soda with a little bitters. An Old Fashioned goes something like this: muddle sugar and bitters in the bottom of a glass, add two ounces of strong booze (I like 100 proof rye, but I've had good ones based on applejack, bourbon, gin, rum, etc.) and stir to finish dissolving the sugar, add a big lump of ice or several large cubes, stir to chill, toss in one or two fat strips of lemon peel.

As a fellow student, let me just say that cost is a big factor when it comes to drinks. If it's something that requires a half-dozen separate (and expensive) ingredients, it's probably not going to happen. Not to say that these aren't great ideas - I'd love to go to a party where the options aren't whatever was cheapest at the offlicense.

That's why the classics are often going to be the best. They're usually two- or three-ingredient drinks, and one of those ingredients is likely to be something cheap (vermouth) or really cheap (lime juice). None of the ones I listed calls for more than three ingredients. So it's certainly possible to go to the store and see whatever is on sale and choose drinks based on that. I also think lostmyshape's idea of choosing an expensive ingredient like Cointreau that is used in smaller amounts and doing several weeks of Cointreau drinks is a good one. And it could start with a discussion of what triple sec is, what Cointreau is, what less expensive alternatives exist (Marie Brizard) and where it is appropriate to use a less expensive alternative, etc.

The fact is, of course, that there is no such thing as a good cocktail made from shitty cheap booze. This may be why few college students get into home mixology. No amount of clever mixology can disguise a Margarita made with five dollar industrial tequila and Leroux triple sec. There is, of course, a whole family of mixed drinks (I hesitate to call them "cocktails") that was more or less invented to mitigate the pernicious effect of lower quality liquor: the highball. But I don't think a column on mixing a Whiskey & Ginger would be very interesting.


--

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You might start out reading a few threads here, and then looking at the two eGCI classes on mixology.  Read over them, and then ask questions.  Easy and funky are both very subjective.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26772 -Classic cocktails

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26775 -Evolving cocktails part 1

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=26787 - Evolving cocktails part 2

Does your university have a student bartender organization?  Back in the day at Columbia there was a student enterprise organization that trained bartenders and staffed various events with trained students.  Maybe your university has something similar and you can consult with them about what they are teaching, and what they're observing when they're serving.

These are all fascinating threads. Being technically underage the world of mixed drinks is entirely new for me. I've always spent my money on learning about wines. Lots of great ideas in both threads though I could never see myself drinking a snickers martini or drinks of that nature.


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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The fact is, of course, that there is no such thing as a good cocktail made from shitty cheap booze. This may be why few college students get into home mixology. No amount of clever mixology can disguise a Margarita made with five dollar industrial tequila and Leroux triple sec.  There is, of course, a whole family of mixed drinks (I hesitate to call them "cocktails") that was more or less invented to mitigate the pernicious effect of lower quality liquor: the highball.  But I don't think a column on mixing a Whiskey & Ginger would be very interesting.

I would disagree. I would say that the cocktail (as opposed to other types of mixed drink) was in fact originally invented to make shitty cheap booze drinkable. If you check the Jerry Thomas version of the Whiskey Cocktail, for instance, you're not being given a Rock & Rye with bitters like one would expect a proper Old Fashioned to be made like today - instead of a tablespoon of sugar syrup, you're given 3-4 dashes. This is because in the original cocktail, the sugar syrup wasn't there as a sweetener, it was there as a smoothing agent to make young and/or poorly distilled whiskey taste less rough. Using those ratios (and with the help of bitters), one can make a passable shot out of all but the saddest of whiskey. (Georgia Moon has a way of proving me wrong, but I haven't tried Jerry's "Improved Whiskey Cocktail" recipe on it yet, due to a lack of Maraschino and Absinthe... Next time I'm feeling up to it maybe I'll see if it will work with amaretto and Pernod. :raz: )

The original Kamikaze followed the same principles. A couple drops of Rose's lime juice in a shot of vodka isn't going to give you a Gimlet, but what it does do is smooth out the vodka. Citric acid and sugar are the two most common additives in vodkas for this very reason.


Edited by mbanu (log)

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Well, there is some question in my mind as to whether we, with our modern palates, would have found a JT-style whiskey cocktail circa 1875 palatable. There are, of course, plenty of cooking techniques that were developed to mitigate the taste of meat that had turned, but I think most of us would agree today that fresh, unspoiled meat is necessary for making a good dish of food.


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Are there good cocktail bars in your town that you could recommend for people who might want to try a certain cocktail without investing in a whole bottle of liqueur? Even better would be if you could find a good cocktail bar that has a student discount night.


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Are there good cocktail bars in your town that you could recommend for people who might want to try a certain cocktail without investing in a whole bottle of liqueur? Even better would be if you could find a good cocktail bar that has a student discount night.

That would be ideal, but I can't exactly go out and try mixed drinks myself. I couldn't get the school newspaper to pay for an underaged kid to go out and try drinks.

I'll have to stick with trying to make them myself. :biggrin:

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Thanks for the help and inspiration everyone. My piece ran today. I stuck to drink that had autumn themes but am planning on doing different themes for later issues.

In case anyone is interested in reading:

http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/displa...d5d&image_num=1

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Thanks for the help and inspiration everyone.  My piece ran today.  I stuck to drink that had autumn themes but am planning on doing different themes for later issues.

In case anyone is interested in reading:

http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/displa...d5d&image_num=1

While in person, I would argue that the drinks you called martinis are not martinis, it is good to see that you are in print.

You may also want to consider other drink styles like wine spritzers--those can certainly be in a college student's budget.

But, I remember drinking in college being an exercise in getting drunk and partying. That's why I drank so much Jaegermeister and RedBull. Together. In the same glass.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Thanks for the help and inspiration everyone.  My piece ran today.  I stuck to drink that had autumn themes but am planning on doing different themes for later issues.

In case anyone is interested in reading:

http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/displa...d5d&image_num=1

While in person, I would argue that the drinks you called martinis are not martinis, it is good to see that you are in print.

You may also want to consider other drink styles like wine spritzers--those can certainly be in a college student's budget.

But, I remember drinking in college being an exercise in getting drunk and partying. That's why I drank so much Jaegermeister and RedBull. Together. In the same glass.

I more than acknowledge that none of my martinis are actually true martinis. It was simply a semantic decision to make the drinks seem more accessible and familiar.

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I was holding off on this one for a couple of threads, but here goes...

Madame et Monsieur, allow me to present: The Brazilian Wax*! Cachaca, grenadine, Angostura, and Fresca. #include <beer.h> glass by Thinkgeek.com. Bendy straw by Harris Teeter. Kind of settled, but it was a really neat cloudy red gradiant.

thebrazilianwax24xk3yd.jpg

Use a good amount of middling cachaca (I'm finding this one a good way to kill off what's left of my Pitu before buying something nicer for more respectable cachaca drinks) in a glass with ice, a few dashes of bitters, bit of grenadine, then pour Fresca slowly in. The grenadine will largely stay at the bottom and gradiate very nicely towards the top. Admire for a bit then stir so you don't suck up a mouthfull of grenadine.

*A working title

Edited for late-breaking spelling errors. Film at 11.


Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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ooooh... i have a brazilian friend who always has some cheap cachaca he brought back from visiting his family. We're always trying to find ways to finish a bottle. might give that one a try.

and back on-topic: BryanZ, good idea going with a theme. good luck on future columns. BTW, ever seen Gary Regan's Cocktalian Column in the SF Gate? some of the best cocktail-related journalism (well, journalistic fiction?) around.


Edited by lostmyshape (log)

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#include <beer.h>

Dude, I love it.

I'm just waiting for the forks that say

fork();

But, I'd really like my glass to say

#ifndef FULL

#define FULL


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Madame et Monsieur, allow me to present: The Brazilian Wax!

Oh, man. That is not a working title - that is pure Sex-and-the-City-pink-drink spin-off heaven. Bravo. I know tons of girls who would drink that and love ordering it just for the name. I'm more of a Manhattan drinker myself, but I am dying here.


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Interesting drink, Chef Shogun. I think it might do a little better in a Collins glass (tall and narrow) rather than a pint glass, though. That way the gradient will display better, and it's a more elegant drink.


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Oh, man.  That is not a working title - that is pure Sex-and-the-City-pink-drink spin-off heaven.  Bravo.  I know tons of girls who would drink that and love ordering it just for the name.  I'm more of a Manhattan drinker myself, but I am dying here.

Yeah, well...me too, but sometimes you have to make up a party drink! :raz:

Incidentally the formula works well with SoCo, too. Thanks for the comments!


Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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