“Shaken, not stirred”. That’s how James Bond demands his vodka martini, with a “large thin slice of lemon peel.” If you’d like to be your own bartender, you’ve come to the right place.
The origin of the term ‘cocktail’ is a bit hazy. The story of a lady innkeeper frequently features in different theories who served spirited drinks to war soldiers, occasionally stirring and garnishing them with feathers of her neighbour’s rooster. Another popular theory mentions Antoine Amedie Peychaud who invented Peychaud bitters in the 16th century and he used to serve toddies in eggcups. Some suggest that the word ‘cocktail’ has close links with the French term “Coquetier” (pronounced as ‘cocktay’ in English) for eggcup. Another popular explanation hints at the tradition of cock tailings, when tavern owners would collect ale tailings from each cask, which was often referred to as ‘cock’, and bring it to the market as a mixed beverage.
Wherever the initial spark came from, the trend definitely caught on. Most celebrations commence with a chic ‘Cosmopolitan’ or the deceptively humble ‘Apple Martini’, continue with a refreshing glass of Bellini or Mimosa and end hazy-eyed with the classic LIIT.
(What Does Your Favourite Cocktail Say about You?)
Creativity rides up a level as bartenders flaunt their genius with playful presentations. Imagine a frozen orchid in a sparkling Cosmopolitan, or a mysterious blue fire on your Vodka drink! Yes that’s the grin we’re talking about. The good news is that you can do it too.
Stirring up the perfect cocktail is the easiest way to impress someone, but only if you manage to get it right. If you have the ability to shake, stir and strain and love to experiment, dive into the world of mixology. “Throwing a cocktail party is probably the coolest thing to do. Think pitchers of Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, Sangria and wonderfully flavoured stuff. You don’t have to be a pro to get it right - just follow the proportions and you’re all set,” says Shatbhi Basu, India’s first lady bartender. Hailed as the ‘Queen of Mixology, she also runs a school of bartenders in Mumbai.
We got her to give us some tips to keep handy while making your own cocktail -
1. Plan the cocktail menu in advance, then calculate the amount of liquor and other ingredients you will need. An overstocked bar is better than running out.
2. Ready the bar - squeeze juices, prepare garnishes and lay out the glasses to make the process of mixing quicker.
3. Have plenty of clean, clear, aged ice on hand. The key to success lies in stocking up loads of ice. The more rocks the merrier.
4. Now that you’ve got the ice, it’s time to fill up the glasses. That’s the first lesson in mixing a drink. Ice goes in first, followed by spirit and everything else.
5. The other integral elements are the bits and pieces that go in to elevate the most ordinary cocktail to great heights like lemons, oranges, mint leaves, starfruit , pomelo (papanus), kiwi fruit and strawberries.
6. Use coloured flavoured spirits for drama and visual appeal. A splash of blue curacao as a finishing touch, a hint of Campari or a drizzle of crème de menthe works wonders.
Time to mix some really snazzy drinks! We bring you her best recipes, classic cocktails that will never go out of fashion.
A very simple cocktail made with only three ingredients – lime, vodka and sugar. Throw in some mint leaves for added freshness.
Havana is the birthplace of the Mojito which is a rum based cocktail. It offers a refreshing hit of mint and lime.
This blush red concoction will make any girl smile and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make it at home with a handful of ingredients like cranberry juice, lime and vodka.
4. Long Island Ice Tea
Don’t let the name confuse because this one right here is one of the most potent drinks. It is made with a mix of four liquors – gin, tequila, vodka and rum.
5. Bloody Mary
This spunky cocktail is a great companion for your boozy brunch. It has a spicy undertone with a vodka base and the tang of tomato juice and zing of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
6. Twisted Whiskey Sour
A great cocktail that will take you back in time. Perfect for a reunion or a laid back evening with friends. This recipe gives the traditional drink a fruity makeover with the addition of orange juice.
7. Pina Colada
Nothing spells holiday like a glass of pina colada! This tropical cocktail is made with balmy flavours of cream coconut and pineapple blended or shaken with ice and rum.
Whether it is a sunny Sunday brunch or a romantic evening, a glass of Sangria fits every occasion. Red wine is beautifully blended with fruits and liqueurs.
Daiquiri may be frozen or served straight up. It is usually a fruity concoction with three basic ingredients – rum, lime and sugar.
Everyone knows the Margarita with the salted rim – it’s chic and classy. One of the most popular cocktails of all time learn how to make it at home.