Was feeling uninspired today, so I crowdsourced this topic. There were many entries, but the winner was: Top 5 Favorite Cocktails, courtesy of my friend Deb, whose birthday was yesterday, and in recognition that it's always 5 o'clock somewhere, and that somewhere will be here in about 2 hours. Bonus? I'm including the recipes!
- Gibson - fill cocktail glass and cocktail shaker with clean ice. Pour about 1/2 ounce of good dry vermouth (Noilly Prat's a good baseline) over the ice, shake vigorously, then pour the vermouth off the ice. Pour desired amount of gin (I usually go with about 3 1/2 ounces of Hendrick's) into shaker, shake vigorously. Dump the ice out of the cocktail glass, strain drink into glass, garnish with 3 Sable & Rosenfeld's Tipsy Onions.
- Manhattan - fill cocktail glass and cocktail shaker with clean ice. Pour bourbon (Maker's Mark is a good baseline) and good sweet vermouth (I like Vya) at a 3:1 ratio into shaker. Add several drops of your favorite bitters (Peychaud's is traditional, but I've recently become addicted to Fee Brother's Whisky Barrel bitters). Shake vigorously. Dump the ice out of the cocktail glass, strain drink into glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry or, if you can find them, several Morello cherries in brandy.
- Mint Julep - fill rocks glass with clean ice. Muddle 6-10 leaves of Kentucky Colonel mint with about a teaspoon of white sugar and a tiny bit of water in the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with desired amount of bourbon (I usually go with 3 ounces of Woodford Reserve) and a good handful of clean ice, and shake VERY vigorously until the shaker frosts. You're trying to get the mint to disintegrate and the sugar to dissolve. Strain drink into ice-filled rocks glass. Top with a little club soda and a sprig of fresh mint.
- Daquiri - fill cocktail glass and cocktail shaker with clean ice. Pour golden (NOT LIGHT/WHITE!) rum (I like 10 Cane) and fresh squeezed lime juice at a 2:1 ratio into cocktail shaker, and add simple syrup to taste - you have to taste, because limes have different acidity levels. I usually start with about 2:1:0.25 on the simple syrup and work up from there. Shake VERY vigorously until the shaker frosts. Dump the ice out of the cocktail glass and strain drink in.
- Gin gimlet - fill cocktail glass and cocktail shaker with clean ice. Pour gin (I like Tanqueray Rangpur) and Rose's Lime Juice (MUST be Rose's, NOT fresh lime) into shaker at a 2:1 ratio and add about 1/2 tsp powdered sugar (depending on how big a drink you're making and how sweet you like it). Shake vigorously. Pour the ice out of the glass and strain the drink in.
Image credit: me!