Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I love wine.  I had a fling with tequila between the summers of 2007 and 2008, but wine has been my only long-term relationship (with alcohol).  The closest thing I've ever come to drinking cocktails were Tequila Sunrises (during that bout with tequila) and the Jack-n-Cokes I get every time I'm at a bar.  They're simple, sweet, and alcoholic.  Who could ask for more!

This year for Annie's birthday (the day the Maya calendar supposedly ended), we fought through a blizzard to take The Art of the Cocktail at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.  Only our group of 4 (us and her parents) and 2 other guests actually made it to the class, so we did it at the bar of the Manzanita instead of in the Living Room Restaurant.  There we had their two top bartenders giving us the secrets behind their most popular drinks.  I got pretty drunk... I think it was the altitude.  We took the recipes home, tweaked them to our tastes, experimented with friends, and now I'll list the recipes for the 4 cocktails that got us through the holidays.

We bought all of the tools necessary to make these cocktails, like a cocktail shaker, jigger, & strainer.

Since I'm using a jigger, all of my proportions are in ounces, but yours could just as easily be in tsp or Tbsp or shots or whatever you want.  That's the convenience of proportions, so I'll just leave them as such.

Annob's Sidecar (this makes 2)
1 Cointreau
2 Simple Syrup (if you want less sweet, make this 1)
2 Lemon Juice
4 Brandy
Shaken and strained into two dry martini glasses, or in our case, a wine glasses.
(If you're feeling fancy, use 1 orange for 1 lemon and drop a spiral of orange peel in the glass.)

Annob's Moscow Mule
2 Vodka
~6 Ginger Beer (usually I split a can/bottle between roughly two drinks)
Stirred with a cinnamon stick, leaving the cinnamon stick in the glass.

Annob's Margarita
1 Cointreau
1 Lime Juice
1 Orange Juice
2 Simple Syrup
3 Tequila
Shaken and strained into a salt- or sugar-rimmed glass.

Annob's Keeneland Breeze
2 Bourbon
2 Cointreau
6-8 Ginger Ale

It's shameful for us to take any credit at all for these classic/standard drinks, but we did play with the recipes we were given.  You could order a Sidecar, Moscow Mule, or Margarita at just about any respectable bar, and who knows, maybe they'll be better!  Keeneland Breeze is a cocktail from the Keeneland horse-racing track in Lexington.

As far as the cocktail recipes are concerned, all fruit juices are fresh-squeezed.  Lime and lemon juice are completely interchangeable.  You can even replace the orange juice in the Margarita with lime.  Cointreau can be replaced with Grand Marnier with little distinction in taste.  I just like to keep Cointreau around for when I make buttercream.  The cheapest Brandy you can find works for the Sidecar, we use Christian Brothers VS (the same brand I use in my Sangria).  You can use the cognac of your choice, as well.  We use Bulleit Bourbon and Absolut Vodka.  I've used 1800 Reposado for my Tequila in the past, but currently we're using Espolon Reposado.  Goslings is the standard Ginger Beer, but I'm really digging Regatta for its extra fresh-ginger spiciness.  It might be too much for some, though.  Finally our simple syrup is just half sugar and half water.  No boiling required.  Just use warm water, shake it up, let it dissolve for a few seconds, shake it up again, and drop it in the fridge to remove the cloudiness.

I'll be honest, I hated vodka until I discovered the Moscow Mule.  Also, we bought a muddler to work on things like lemon drops and mint juleps, but we focused on these 4 drinks instead.


No comments:

Post a Comment