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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Advanced Craft Cocktail Theory: Steal this Cocktail

Perhaps one of the most difficult skills an aspiring cocktail maker can grasp is inspiration. Inspiration is the culmination of knowledge, skill and passion, and it only comes about through an understanding of ingredients, technique, and cocktail theory. There’s nothing more exciting and terrifying than standing in front of a bar with an empty glass and combining ingredients in a new and innovative way to make a satisfying cocktail. Therefore, you should be encouraged to steal from those that came before. Please note I’m not referring to outright theft of drinks, but using what is available to create new, interesting cocktails.

The difficulty lies in that innovation is the synthesis of knowledge. Knowledge and the ability to understand its component parts must be the basis of innovation, which means that a well stocked bar comes first. Obviously, if ingredients aren’t available, you’re not going to be able to make a cocktail with them. In addition to a well stocked bar, familiarity with each bottle is immensely helpful. Knowing that Calvados tastes like apples, spirit and woody notes and a hidden dimension of ‘apple tree’ or that Cynar is made from artichokes and yet tastes like honey and tobacco and a slight sulfury bitterness makes pairing ingredients that might have disparate primary flavors but complimentary secondary flavors easy. The understanding that Campari plus lemon equals pink grapefruit drives the Jasmine. This is not easily formalized. Writing tasting notes on cocktail ingredients can be useful at first, but at some point they become a crutch and inhibit beauty and the sudden strike of inspiration.

Recent Additions

  • Galah (Okar) — Dark rum, Pineapple juice, Okar Island Bitter, Orgeat, Lime juice, Mint
  • Seersuckerpunch — Jamaican rum, Nicaraguan Rum, Simple syrup, Apple juice, Cucumber, Malic acid, Salt, Basil
  • Old Mate — Rye, Dry vermouth, Okar Island Bitter, Lemon peel
  • Kentucky Mule — Bourbon, Ginger beer, Lime juice, Mint
  • Hanzo Steel — Shochu, Reposado Tequila, Aquavit, Meyer Lemon Aperitif, Yuzu juice, Simple syrup

Recent Discussion

  • Re Isle of Skye Swizzle, 4 hours 55 minutes ago drinkingandthinking commented:

    refreshing, but pineapple drowns out the spices of Becherovka and Drambuie

  • Re Here Was A Man, 18 hours 41 minutes ago HallA commented:

    Solid 3. I made with Cocchi Doppo di Teatro, which is a little sweeter than Punt a Mes and probably should have put a barspoon of zucca or something else to match bitterness. Definitely worth a try.

  • Re Poire Bomb, 21 hours 41 minutes ago flickerdart commented:

    Used closer to 1/4 Maraschino (Luxardo), with Pear Williams Purkhart Eau-de-Vie, and Canton for the ginger. the look is a bit like pink lemonade; the flavor is soft floral and fruity. I think a few extra dashes of Peychaud's only help make this drink better.

  • Re Bel-ami, 2 days ago flickerdart commented:

    Made with Blume Marillen, and Elixir Combier instead of the Chartreuse. Was a bit sweet so I added a touch more Suze and threw the proportions way out of whack. The 1:1 ratio is good and opens up nicely as you drink. I can only imagine this would be better with the real deal Chartreuse instead of the substitute.

  • Re Progressive Orangutan, 4 days ago Shawn C commented:

    Curated to specifically list Carpano Dry--I had to add this as a new ingredient (brand) in the database.