I don’t even remember when the word mixology started popping up. I think its around the same time as the prohibition-theme took over bars, and a large mass of young professionals moved on from fruity Daiquiris and Pina Coladas to artisan gin and different expressions of a Dark n’ Stormy. A Bartender was no longer a bartender, but a mixologist, and the cocktail was no longer just a drink, it was a piece of culinary delight. A new era of making cocktails had begun… or I just got older, who knows.
If you have been following this blog, you have perhaps noticed my new addiction of making cocktails at home. And I am not talking about quickly mixing some gin and tonic; I can take up to an hour to mix a cocktail. I don’t like cooking, but making syrups for my drinks is a whole other story. I am not that good at it yet, to be honest. But I learn something new every time. Here are a few tips that I have followed to get started with, to become a home mixologist
#1 Know your spirits
You would think that you don’t use your best spirits when you are making cocktails. The taste gets lost in the mix anyway – or does it? What I have learned is that there are different types of Gins and different types of Rums, and they all give very different results when combining with other ingredients. For example, there are five main types of Gin: London Dry Gin, which is heavily juniper flavored, aromatic and botanical; Plymouth gin, which is made, surprise, surprise, in Plymouth and has sweeter, eathier flavors than the London Dry; Genever or Dutch gin which has a darker color and flavor that is more similar to a light-bodied, botanical whiskey; and Old Tom’s gin which is something in between London Dry and Genever. Old Toms gets its name from being the type of gin used for a Tom Collins. The point is: spirits have big differences, and a mixologist bases the rest of the ingredients on how they build on the spirit base.
#2 Make your own syrups
When browsing cocktail recipes, you often see that there is some kind of syrup included in the mix. My first thought when seeing this was: I don’t want to start buying whole bottles of syrup for making just one drink. It took a while, a long period of only infused GTs to be able to avoid the syrups, before I realized that making a syrup yourself is easy. You just cook sugar in water for a few minutes, and a simple sugar syrup is done. You can also spice the syrup with some herbs, fruits or berries by cooking them in the same kettle. For example, last weekend I just threw in some thyme.
#3 Use Garnishes
The last and perhaps the trickiest part: making your own garnishes. I started this activity only a week ago, by making some glazed thyme-twigs. Hmm..did not come out exactly as in pictures, and it actually took more than half an hour to just do that. Next step, I want to start flaming different fruits and peel with a blowtorch.
The easiest way to pimp-up your drink is to add some fresh fruit pieces, lemon or lime peel, slices of vegetables (like long strips of cucumber), berries on a stick or herb twigs. Its that little extra that makes cocktail making, sorry, mixology so much fun.
Here you go, three simple steps to start your own speakeasy. Now to start looking online for that blowtorch..