EASY YET SOPHISTICATED COCKTAILS TO MIX IN YOUR HOME BAR
Sipping cocktails should be a simple pleasure: the easier to assemble, the easier to enjoy. Drinks composed of three ingredients are simple to shake and stir. When those ingredients are combined in equal proportions, cocktails pour in a flash, allowing the home bartender to spend more time mingling with friends and less mixing drinks. Three-ingredient cocktails, in which all ingredients are in equal proportions, lend simplicity but not at the cost of sophistication. Many of the world’s most well-known cocktails are built upon a balance of a trio of ingredients. The less-is-more foundation of these dependable classics was laid long ago. Learning their simple formulas makes home bartending a breeze and can make even a novice mixologist look like a star.
Get acquainted with an Old Pal. Nearly 100 years old, the recipe first appeared in Harry McElhone’s 1921 book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. The trio of spirits called for is rye whiskey, Campari and dry vermouth. The showpiece is high-proof rye, with a backbone that can stand up to both the sweetness and bitterness of the aperitif Campari. For something local, we used ASW Resurgens Rye. Dry vermouth is the vinous modifier that balances everything out.
To make an Old Pal:
Stir together 1 ounce each of rye, Campari and dry vermouth in a mixing glass filled with ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
The crisp and herbaceous Bijou dates back to the late 1800s. Translated to “jewel” in French, the Bijou was christened by Harry Johnson, who named it for the combination of the color of three jewels: gin (diamond), vermouth (ruby) and chartreuse (emerald). It has a bright sweetness to start, followed by a lush and lingering herbal kick. It’s a gem of a sipper.
To make a Bijou:
Stir together ¾ ounce each of gin, sweet vermouth and green chartreuse in a mixing glass filled with ice. Add a dash of bitters. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
The Negroni is the classic three ingredient cocktail: a little sweet, with bracing bitterness and richness. People have been drinking the Italian classic since its invention in 1919. For a more savory approach, use mezcal instead of gin. Mezcal is gin-like in its floral herbaceousness and minerality, but it also brings sweet, smoky and earthy flavors to a drink and lets the vermouth shine. When replacing gin with mezcal, those familiar with a Negroni will notice how much the orange peel garnish stands out. “We sell a lot of Negronis at The Painted Pin,” bar manager Trip Sandifer says. “The mezcal Negroni is by far the most popular variation.”
To make a Mezcal Negroni:
Stir together 1 ounce each of mezcal, Campari and sweet vermouth in a mixing glass filled with ice. Strain into rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange peel. Twist the peel over the glass, peel side down, to express citrus oils onto the surface of the drink before placing in glass.
“These are great to make as freezer cocktails as well,” notes Sandifer. “It’s a foolproof method that allows you to have a ready-to-drink ice cold cocktail any time.” With each of these drinks, Sandifer’s ratio is three parts cocktail mixture to one part water. Then combine in a sealable bottle and freeze.
The Painted Pin
737 Miami Circle N.E.
For Cocktail Ingredients:
199 Armor Drive N.E.
Peachtree Road Package Store
1895 Peachtree Road N.W.
Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits
2161 Piedmont Road N.E.
Drinks columnist at Simply Buckhead. Food, spirits, and culture writer.