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RECENT COCKTAILS: NOVEMBER 27, 2012
Brandy, Becherovka, Bärenjäger
NOVEMBER 25, 2012
Campari, Eau de vie of Douglas Fir, Gin, Ginger liqueur, Lemon juice
NOVEMBER 24, 2012
Becherovka, Bärenjäger
NOVEMBER 23, 2012
Rye, Sweet vermouth, Bénédictine
NOVEMBER 20, 2012
Blended Scotch, Islay Scotch, Bitters, Lemon juice, Orgeat
NOVEMBER 13, 2012
Bourbon, Galliano, Aperol, Lemon juice
NOVEMBER 12, 2012
Red wine, Brandy, Falernum, Bitters, Lemon juice
Apple brandy, Dark rum, Jägermeister, Lemon juice, Honey syrup
NOVEMBER 11, 2012
Rye, Sweet vermouth, Cinnamon Schnapps liqueur, Orange bitters
Light rum, Coconut rum, Bitters, Cherry Bitters, Lime juice, Orange juice, Raspberry syrup

A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Craft Cocktail Making: Theory and Structure of Sugar

Our first installment discussed acidity, one of the primary building blocks of modern cocktails. Acidity can come from many different sources: citrus fruit, milk, wine, and vinegar. All have significant acidity, which helps balance out sweetness in a drink. One of the challenges of working with acidity is that often times the quantity of acidity in a drink is right, but the flavor profile is wrong. A drink that is perfect with ½ ounce of lemon juice will be significantly different with ½ ounce of lime juice, even though their pH are similar. Lime juice has a strong, grassy aroma and flavor that lemon juice lacks.

Luckily, the range of flavors inherent to sugar are much smaller than those associated with acidity. Sugar is a much older addition to alcohol than acidity, as it helps mask the unpleasant flavors of distillation impurities and the burn of alcohol. Sugar was in the first “cock-tail”, along with a spirit, water, and bitters.

The delicate, snowy white crystals of refined sugar at the grocery store have very little to do with sugar in ancient times. In fact, sugar is a relatively modern invention, gaining popularity in the 5th century in India as crystallization technology allowed sugarcane juice to be transported cheaply and efficiently. From India, sugar refining spread to China and eventually into the Middle East, where the refining process was industrialized. From there, it spread into Europe, probably in the 8th century.

Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane to the Caribbean from the Canary Islands. Huge plantations were developed, significantly decreasing the price of sugar in Europe and opening it up to wider use. In the 18th century, price increases led the British to create sugar plantations in India, bringing sugar full-circle back to its origin.

Recent Additions

  • Thou Shall Not be Named — Reposado Tequila, Mezcal, Amaro, Aromatized wine, Lemon
  • Night People — Rye, Sweet vermouth, Elderflower liqueur, Bitters, Peychaud's Bitters
  • Bela Lugosi — Fernet Branca, Mezcal, Pineapple juice, Agave syrup, Lemon juice, Sugar
  • Anne Bonny's Last Call — Light rum, Orange liqueur, Coconut liqueur, Lime juice, Pineapple syrup, Pineapple, Basil, Lime
  • Holy, Fig and Rye — Rye, Amaro, Fig syrup

Recent Discussion

  • Re Jakarta Mai Tai, 3 hours 18 minutes ago Craig E commented:

    So glad you tried it and you liked it! The recipe is built quite directly on the modern version of the Trader Vic Mai Tai, including the nutty curry-leaf syrup in the place of orgeat and even the split rums.

  • Re There's Always Money in the Banana Stand, 22 hours 28 minutes ago prattginkgo commented:

    As usual, went easy on the St. Elizabeth, about 4 mL. Dirty dump works too if you don't want to rinse your blender.

  • Re Jakarta Mai Tai, 23 hours ago prattginkgo commented:

    Phenomenal drink, so this is nitpicking--but shouldn't this be a Jakarta Daiquiri? 2 oz. rum, 3/4 lime, 1/2 syrup is a pretty standard daiquiri, and adding a bit of Curacao isn't unheard of. Muddling 5 fresh curry leaves in cane syrup did the trick for me, and I strained onto new ice.

  • Re Margarita, 1 day ago jpan999 commented:

    Jo's Margarita

    Tequila Blanco - 2 oz
    lime and lemon - 1 oz
    Orange liqueur (Cointreu works) - 1 oz
    Mezcal (spash)
    mix with ice
    strain

  • Re The Showgirl, 1 day ago KurtB commented:

    Maybe my favorite cocktail I discovered on this site. Love this!!