One of my favorite writers is Paul Clarke. He writes about cocktails for The New York Times, Imbibe magazine and many of the other food and booze publications I read regularly. He also blogs at www.cocktailchronicles.com. Awhile back, I read a blog post he wrote on Serious Eats about a simple cocktail formula that kind of blew my mind:
“Sour-style, liqueur-sweetened cocktails such as margaritas and sidecars usually fall into a 2:1:1 or 3:2:1 ratio of spirits:liqueur:citrus, depending on how sweet or tart you prefer the result. Remember the particular formula that’s to your liking and you can start swapping all kinds of things through to make different drinks: rum instead of brandy, apricot liqueur instead of Cointreau; while a little wiggle with the proportions may be required with some substitutions, as long as you follow the basic formula you can be assured that you’ll wind up with something balanced.
In an issue of Esquire, drinks correspondent David Wondrich offers another handy formula for creating cocktails on the fly—one that calls for two ounces of spirits, one ounce of a fortified wine, a teaspoon of liqueur and a dash or two of bitters. Ancestral relatives of the Manhattan and the martini often follow this formula, with excellent results, and best of all, it’s amazingly versatile.”
Brilliant! I have a couple of good cocktail books that cover the basics, including The Essential Bartender’s Guide by Robert Hess, but as I learn more about mixing cocktails this cocktail formula is going to come in very, very handy.