Truth: I consider myself something of a cocktail aficiando, but I would really like to be a cocktail pro. SO, I’ve teamed up with Absolut to up my cocktail game (and help you up yours)! According to the pros, here are a few of the classic drinks you should master. Memorize the ratios, taste the differences, and bust some knowledge at parties. :p Once you know the basics, you can switch out flavors and spirits to match the season and your mood.
The Old Fashioned
There’s no total conensus on the single perfect way to make an Old-Fashioned. Every bartender seems to have their preferred concoction, but the first time the “Old Fashioned” term was used was in 1881 at a Kentucky gentleman’s club. The drink became popular during Prohibition because it was often used to improve the taste of bad liquor. Now, made with the good stuff, it’s a classy bourbon-based drink that everyone should know. Try pairing it with bold, fatty dishes like a grilled pork.
The Negroni comes from Florence, and it’s a truly classic drink based off the Americano cocktail, only made stronger. Apparently Italians really like to go hard, so some bold bartender swapped out the soda for gin and came up with this kicker. Pair it with an array of hard and blue cheeses.
The story goes that this pink drink has been served up in a martini glass since the 1980’s, starting in San Francisco. BUT, it wasn’t until the year Absolut Citron was launched (1988) that the Cosmopolitan as it’s known today was created. Pair the drink with well-spiced foods, salads with bright flavors, or even fruits.
This simple, classic American cocktail became common in the twenties. It can be made with just two ingredients – gin and dry vermouth – but you can always spice things up a bit with an olive, citrus twists, or bitters. Serve it with raw oysters on the half shell.
The minty, rum-based mojito has a long, unclear history; we know it comes from Cuba, annnnd that’s about it. But, whether it’s a fruity version (like this strawberry one!) or just the traditional style mojito, it’s a staple on the cocktail menu. Its cooling flavors go well with spicy foods or barbecue, but you can also try serving it with other Caribbean dishes, like fried plantains.
This South American cocktail gets its snappy name from citrus and pisco brandy. There are Peruvian and Chilean versions that use different citrus fruits or spices, but start out by trying the classic formula that just uses good ol’ lemon juice. Best pairing with this frothy drink? CEVICHE! Raw citrus seafood makes the perfect match for this lemony, cool cocktail.
One theory about the origins of the gimlet is that it was named after British Royal Navy Surgeon General Sir Thomas D. Gimlette, KCB, who allegedly introduced this drink to convince his messmates to take lime juice as an anti-scurvy medication. (Wouldn’t we all like to sip on cocktails to cure diseases?!) This is one for gin lovers – just add lime cordial and a twist of lime and you’re ready to toast! Because the drink is so simple, it’s easy to incorporate other fruits and flavors that you love – just make sure to keep things refreshing! Enjoy with a cured or lightly grilled salmon, or fresh oysters.
Around 1850, Aaron Bird took over a Merchants Exchange, changed its name to the Sazerac House, and began serving the “Sazerac Cocktail”. It was made with cognac imported by the previous owner and, legend has it, the bitters being made down the street by a local druggist, Antoine Amedie Peychaud. Today, it’s one of New Orleans’ favorite drinks. Pair it with rich, dark chocolate for dessert.
Got these down? Find even more classic cocktails to master here.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Absolut. Thank you for supporting the partners who make this blog possible!