Tempered Spirits

Homemade Cocktails — Experiments, Critiques & Travels

Mixing Basics

So You Want to Start Mixing…Great! It doesn’t have to be complicated (but it can be…oh yes, it can be).

First off, read Simon Ford’s article, “Advice for the Novice Bartender” over at Food Republic.

If you get one book to start with, let it be David Stolte’s Home Bar Basics, mentioned above.

How to Stock Your Bar

Wondering how to stock your collection? No problem. Watch Robert Hess’s video, or maybe read another of Simon Ford’s articles, then read on:

  1. Don’t buy it all at once unless you’re seriously loaded with cash. Even if you’re a millionaire, that’s not the best way to buy booze and mix drinks because you don’t learn as much.
  2. Pick a simple drink or a liquor that you’ve had before or are curious about. The Margarita is an excellent starting point, as is the Old-Fashioned. Buy the necessary ingredients, but only for that drink.
  3. Mix said cocktail, following the recipe that you find, then drink it. Do this several times over the course of a week or two, maybe varying the recipe or technique a little to see how the taste is affected. Be sure to taste all the ingredients separately, excepting bitters and some citrus.
  4. So you’ve mixed your drink for a week or so. Like it? Curious as to how another tequila works in the Margarita, or if you prefer a rye or bourbon Old Fashioned? Pick up another bottle of the same liquor and compare it to the first while you still have some left. Or, you can move on to a different drink, maybe with some of the same ingredients.
  5. Continue building up your booze collection one drink at a time. Do not expect all that booze to hang around, and don’t bother saving it for years and years…it’s meant to be enjoyed! If you’re wary about buying a bottle, try it at a bar first.

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