When it comes to music, I am deficient in the table-turning and track-mixing departments— except maybe when it comes to hip hop, a personal guilty pleasure. However, something I can mix is a drink. Which brings me to my second guilty pleasure: mixology. Here are my top 5 tips to making a killer cocktail—recipes included!
1. I learned spiking the eggnog isn’t the only holiday treat when making Holiday Cocktails with Dana Seabury at Tamo Bar in Boston.
- Cocktail Tip: Estimate about 1.5 oz vodka for the average martini glass
- Mixed Drink Trick: Thin out cranberry sauce with a little juice or water
- Recipe Technique: Hold your abs in and shake 20 times for a nice cocktail froth
2. Want the bar to be hopping at your own holiday party? Pottery Barn’s Jonathan Pogash taught me the secret with Rum Punch & Mistletoe Margaritas that blew both my mind, and my liver (kidding!).
- Cocktail Tip: BACARDI® Gold—great spiced rum with hints of vanilla and oak
- Mixed Drink Trick: Jiggering means measuring out ingredients precisely
- Recipe Technique: Homemade grenadine=pomegranate juice + sugar, boiled down
- Fun Fact: Reposado means “rested”—Tequila CAZADORES® rests in oak for 2 months
3. Plain Jane? Not so much when it comes to “The Jane” Cocktail with Pete Harrison at Restaurant Charles in New York City.
- Cocktail Tip: 1.5 oz. is about 6 seconds from a speed pourer
- Mixed Drink Trick: Crush mint leaf in your hand to release the oils
- Recipe Technique: No strainer? Tilt pint and shaker, slowly release liquid
4. I can now make Acai Cocktails after mixing it up with mixologist Neyah White at Bloodhound in San Fran.
- Cocktail Tip: Acai has 57% more antioxidants than other super fruits
- Mixed Drink Trick: To release the oils, “slap” or “bruise” tarragon to wake it up
- Recipe Technique: Consider serving your cocktail “peasant style” in a tumbler vs. a flute glass
5. Do you Dubbonet? Well now I do after “doing” The Dubonnet Fizz with Zachary Sharaga at Louis 649 in New York City.
- Cocktail Tip: Bitters are a concentrated flavoring agent made from hundreds of spices and herbs. Available in most grocery stores, a little bit goes a long way
- Fun fact: 80% of what you taste is what you smell
- Mixed Drink Trick: For crystal clear ice, double freeze it. Boil the water first to remove the oxygen from tap water and then pour straight into ice trays or molds
- Recipe Technique: Add water; stirring well helps chill and slightly dilute the cocktail; this softens the spirits and balances the beverage
Read more tips, tricks, and picks from our contributing editor and self-described food slut Divya Gugnani