In honor of this month’s focus on craftmanship, we bring you a trio of tips on crafting the perfect cocktail at home, courtesy of Esquire’s Aaron Goldfarb.
- Find a Purpose. Goldfarb sought out Eric Jeffus, bartender extraordinaire at New York’s Cafe Boulud’s Bar Pleiades, for some expert advice. Jeffus suggests starting by picking a category for your drink ingredients. Are you going for spirits? Maybe a citrus flair? Once you’ve determined your direction, says Jeffus, “. . . it’s just a matter of playing Mr. Potato Head and swapping things in and out.”
- Start with Variants. Make things easy by simply switching out one key ingredient of a classic cocktail recipe. Erica Duecy, author of Storied Sips, recommends one-ingredient substitutions because, “they hardly ever fail, and you can keep on experimenting to find a combination you prefer.” Try subbing gin for whiskey, or a sweet vermouth for a dry one. And of course, there’s always tequila!
- Get Inspired. When you’re ready to create a cocktail completely from scratch, inspiration can be all around you. Start with a seasonal ingredient, like ripe summer peaches, and pull in flavors that compliment your main note. Using herbs as a launching point is another popular mixology trend. Bartender Jeffus has even started with the name first – the Blackheart Machine, his iced coffee and fernet cocktail, was inspired by a Spoon lyric.
Stout’s perfect recipe for anything is bold, brave and determined. So grab that cocktail shaker, set your imagination free and go for it! End up with something tasty? Share your recipe in the comments below. And for even more great mixology insights and ideas, check out Goldfarb’s full article on Esquire.com.