For generations Americans have had a fairly straightforward approach to cocktails – gin and tonic, highball, rum and coke – without ever giving a second thought to the possibilities a true bartender genius is capable of. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, specialty cocktails were commonplace, featuring interesting flavor pairings and even more interesting names.
Those days are starting to come back as the craft cocktail movement gains momentum in big cities including New York and Los Angeles. American tastes started evolving 25 years ago when wine was rediscovered in a big way. That was followed by an extensive love affair with craft beer and the rise of the microbrewery across the U.S. Now it’s finally the cocktail’s turn, and bars and restaurants that have tapped into the trend have flourished.
So what makes a craft cocktail a craft cocktail? Some key attributes include:
• Fresh ingredients, preferably locally sourced
• In-house additives with unique flavors like bitters and syrups
• Interesting flavor pairings, like sweet and nutty or lemons and bacon
• Seasonal offerings like cider flavors in winter and mint in summer
Creating a series of your own craft cocktails is not only an adventure, it will shock and amaze your friends. Craft cocktails are delicious and have unique flavors that will be an unexpected surprise for your guests. Some tips on how to craft your own cocktails:
Think outside the box when you’re developing your drinks. Interesting twists is the name of this game. Intrigue your friends and family with exotic flavors and weird pairings.
Make it fresh as much as possible. Flavorings made at home and fresh ingredients help give your cocktails a flavor that can’t be captured in anything you get from the liquor store and helps your craft cocktail really stand out.
Take Your Time. Craft cocktails are meant to be a specialty and something that you don’t see everyday. Don’t ruin a nearly perfect drink by rushing the process. Take you time measuring, pouring and shaking to ensure you present the absolute best cocktail possible to your guests.
Get some witty names. The tradition of branding cocktails with clever double entendres, famous songs or people, and off-color puns is as old as the cocktail itself. Engage your guests with some great names for your creations.