Sunday, January 17, 2016

1 Plus 1 Equals Ooh!

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and came across an interesting article on “simple” cocktails; i.e., ones that only require a few ingredients. Quite a few of the cocktails they listed had only two ingredients (not including the garnish). I like that kind of simple, and in fact, I have a number of cocktails that I enjoy that require only two ingredients. And not unusual ingredients, like funky flavored vodkas or unusual mixers, just the kind of things most home bars have on hand. If you stock the following list in your bar, here are 10 lovely 2-ingredient drinks you can make any time. 

Dry vermouth
Champagne/Prosecco/Sparkling wine
Baileys Irish Cream

Cranberry juice
Rose’s Lime Juice (or any sweetened lime juice)
Ginger ale
Tonic water

Cocktail onions
Fresh raspberries (optional)
Whipped cream"Chocolate jimmies (optional)


A Gibson is a variation of a martini; like a martini, it can be made with either gin or vodka, plus a splash of dry vermouth. What makes it a Gibson is that it is garnished with an onion (or two, or three) instead of an olive (or two, or three).
Vodka/Gin:Vermouth = 5:1
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass; garnish with cocktail onion(s).

This was the first alcoholic drink I ever had, recommended to me by a friend who moonlighted as a bartender. Simple and not too sweet, it can substitute for a mimosa at brunch and dress up a celebratory glass of champagne in the evening. Some folks add Cointreau, but I prefer the pure cranberry version.
Champagne: Cranberry Juice = 3:2
Pour juice into a champagne flute and top with champagne.

Kir Royale
Another elegant champagne cocktail, a “true” Kir Royale calls for crème de cassis; however, I prefer Chambord – partly because I usually have it on hand, but partly because I prefer the taste. I also prefer my champagne cocktails ungarnished, but I will admit that the elegance of a single bright raspberry floating in the glass or perched on the rim is an elegant touch.
Champagne: Chambord = 3:1
Pour Chambord into a champagne flute and top with champagne. If desired, garnish with a raspberry.

The gimlet is an old-fashioned cocktail that has fallen out of favor, thought of by many as an "old lady" cocktail. I disagree! It's simple and elegant. Sweetened lime juice gives it its trademark sweet-tart edge, with an added hint of citrus from the gin.
Gin: Rose’s Lime Juice = 4:1
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a lime wedge.

Black Russian
Sister to the popular White Russian, the Black Russian cuts the rich bitterness of coffee liqueur with vodka but doesn’t lighten it with cream. It's a rich, hearty cocktail that is best sipped slowly beside the fireplace. 
Kahlua: Vodka = 1:2
Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice and stir.

Horse’s Neck
Most bartenders refer to this cocktail as a “Whiskey Ginger;” most of my friends who drink it refer to it with the name of their preferred whiskey, e.g., “CC and Ginger.” Technically, it’s only called a Horse’s Neck if it’s garnished with a long curly strip of lemon peel rather than a lemon twist or wedge, but since lemon garnish in my house is nearly always a frozen, coiled strip of lemon peel, a Horse’s Neck it is! I prefer to use bourbon as the base, or it can be made with brandy or cognac.
Whiskey: Ginger Ale = 1:4
Pour the whiskey into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a curled strip of lemon peel.

Gin and tonic is a classic cocktail that will never go out of style. It’s a lovely summer drink, combining citrusy gin with the slight bite of tonic water. For variations, it can be garnished with anything from a cucumber slice to a rosemary sprig, but a traditional G&T uses lime.
Gin: Tonic Water = 2:5
Pour into a highball glass filled with ice; garnish with a lime wedge or slice (or other garnish of choice).

The Godmother
Amaretto is one of my favorite additions to a sweet martini, as it mixes well with chocolate, raspberry, and caramel. But the Godmother (which I’ve also heard referred to as a “Tawny Russian,” despite its lack of both Kahlua and cream) is strictly amaretto and vodka, served over ice. (Replace the vodka with scotch and it becomes a Godfather.) I sometimes make my own variation of the Godmother, which I’ve dubbed the Fairy Godmother, by adding a splash of Tuaca, a vanilla liqueur, and serving it in a martini glass. But when I’m in the mood for something on the rocks, the Godmother is a favorite.
Vodka: Amaretto = 3:1
Pour into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice and stir.

Coffee with Baileys
As much as I love an icy cocktail, there are times when I want something warmer, and when I do, what I often want is coffee with Baileys. Irish coffee is not my style, so I leave out the whiskey and add some extra whipped cream. It’ll warm you up right down to your toes!
Baileys Irish Cream: Coffee (regular or decaf) = 1:3
Pour Irish Cream into an oversized mug of steaming hot coffee; garnish with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Top with grated chocolate or chocolate jimmies to make it extra-fancy.

Cape Codder
Cousin to the Cosmopolitan, the Cape Codder simply eliminates the triple sec. It can easily be made into a lovely mocktail by switching out the vodka with ginger ale, seltzer, or lemon-lime soda. Although occasionally garnished with lemon, the lime-cranberry combination is my personal preference.
Vodka: Cranberry Juice = 1:4
Pour into a highball glass filled with ice; garnish with a lime wedge.


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