5 Trending CocktailsStock Up on Bartender Supplies
The next big trend in cocktails? Shaking ’em up at home. So say the experts at Diageo World Class, the planet’s biggest, most prestigious cocktail competition. World Class judge and Diageo Reserve’s Global Cocktalian Lauren Mote said: “We want more ‘armchair mixologists’ to have the courage to explore what’s possible and create their own signature serves in the kitchen. Next year we expect just that—people experimenting with cocktails at home.”
Smart retailers will take note and start stocking the spirits and other ingredients home bartenders need—and, if they have the space, the tools, glassware, garnishes, and books too.
Wondering where to start? Right here, with all you need for five classic cocktail styles.
The original cocktail, according to the definition first printed in 1806, was spirits, sugar, water, and bitters—what was then called “a bittered sling” or what you might know as an Old Fashioned. It’s just one of a number of classic strong and stirred drinks, including the Sazerac and Vieux Carré, that have become fashionable all over again. The essentials here are brown spirits and bitters. It is, after all, the bitters that make a cocktail a cocktail and not a highball or a punch; they are a sure sign of someone serious about the craft.
Stock up: Whisky (rye, bourbon, blended), brandy, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters (Angostura, Bittered Sling, Scrappy’s, Peychaud’s), absinthe, Bénédictine
Tools and glassware: Mixing glasses, bar spoons, jiggers, muddlers, julep strainers, Old Fashioned glasses, silicone molds for ice spheres and cubes
Martinis & Manhattans
What could be more elegant than a stemmed martini glass holding a chilled, spirit-forward cocktail? The Martini and the Manhattan are two classics that never go out of style. If a home bartender knows only one drink, it should be one of these and preferably both. The key here is quality ingredients and the proper tools. And that means a mixing glass as, regardless of what James Bond might say, spirit-only drinks like these should always be stirred, not shaken, to control dilution and keep the liquid crystal clear.
Stock up: Gin, vodka, whisky, sweet and dry vermouth, orange and aromatic bitters, cocktail olives, good quality brandied or Amarena cherries
Tools and glassware: Mixing glasses, bar spoons, jiggers, julep strainers, Hawthorne strainers, cocktail (martini) glasses, Nick & Nora glasses, cocktail picks
What could be more elegant than a stemmed martini glass holding a chilled, spirit-forward cocktail?
Bitterness in cocktails works to whet the appetite and aid digestion, and no one understands that better than the food-obsessed Italians. While many cultures make digestive bitters, no other makes so many of them, or so many variations. These herbal concoctions find their way into elegant, all-grown-up cocktails like the Negroni, Boulevardier or even the refreshing spritz made with Aperol, the sweeter sibling to bitter, red Campari. Many of these can be built right in the glass, for the utmost in simplicity.
Stock up: Gin, bourbon and prosecco as well as a wide range of Italian amaros—bittersweet herbal liqueurs—such as Campari, Aperol, Averna, Cocchi, Montenegro, Fernet Branca, and Cynar
Tools and glassware: Old Fashioned and Collins glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes
The sours are a massive family of drinks that are not necessarily sour, but typically have a citrus component. They include such well-known cocktails as the Margarita, Sidecar, and Cosmopolitan as well as lesser-known classics like the Clover Club and Aviation. Because these drinks are made with fruit juice and often egg whites as well, they are shaken vigorously with ice for speedy chilling and dilution. They should have a good balance of sweet, strong and tart flavours, and can be lengthened with soda water or sparkling wine, as in a Tom Collins or French 75.
Stock up: All the base spirits, plus liqueurs, especially Cointreau, and quality sodas such as Fentiman’s or Fever-Tree
Tools and glassware: Cocktail shakers, Hawthorne and tea strainers, jiggers, citrus juicers, channel knives, Collins glasses, cocktail coupes
Borne on a tropical breeze are the easy-to-drink, rum-based cocktails from the Caribbean.
Borne on a tropical breeze are the easy-to-drink, rum-based cocktails from the Caribbean, such as the Mojito and Piña Colada as well as the boozier South Pacific-themed tiki drinks that originated in California in the mid-20th century. While the Mojito is a mainstream fave, tiki drinks like the Mai Tai, Navy Grog, Zombie, and various punches have a passionate cult following. So does tiki’s so-kitschy-it’s-cool glassware and other accoutrements inspired by Polynesian culture as well as arcane ingredients and compelling back stories.
Stock up: Rum, liqueurs and syrups, especially the almond syrup known as orgeat, which is essential for Mai Tais, as well as falernum, gomme, and tropical fruit flavours
Tools and glassware: Muddlers, tiki mugs, punch bowls, swizzle sticks, fancy straws, cocktail umbrellas, fun party napkins