Your Guide to Making Cocktails at Home
Your Guide to Making Cocktails at Home
Hidden behind a nondescript black door in the heart of Temple Bar, Vintage Cocktail Club is something of an open secret among the city’s mixologists. Opened in 2012, and spread over three, rather opulent floors, the venue is a discrete hideaway for those who like their cocktails both retro and utterly authentic.
However given the fact that these days, such nocturnal hideaways are off limits, we thought we would find out how to make cocktails at home. We had a socially distanced chat with VCC’s General Manager, Gareth Lambe, about the best cocktails to make while under lockdown.
Despite Gareth being stuck at home like the rest of us, he’s been busy working on new creations. “I’ve had a couple of martinis but I’m more cocktail creating than drinking at the moment. I’m working on a new menu for VCC, so I am coming up with new flavour combinations, technique and servings. There was definitely a few texts for cocktail recipes from family and friends. Some at crazy times in the early hours of the morning, but I’m always happy to help.”
For those of us who want to release our inner mixologist over the next few weeks, Gareth recommends keeping things simple. “One mistake people make is using too much booze and using the wrong glassware. It’s important to keep things simple,” he says. It’s also vital to get the measurements right, up to a point at least. “For a starting point, its super important as for a bartender balance is everything, but you can adjust the different elements by a few ml to suit your own liking at home. It’s you that’s drinking it so why not have it your way?”
For cocktail newbies, it’s important to make what you like to drink. “Sours are a great starting point to understand balance and the recipes are endless. It’s very simple: spirit, enhancer, citrus, and (optional) sugar.” Gareth also recommends making an Old Fashioned, a Wee Dram, and a Negroni; four classic cocktails which should see you through lockdown in fine fettle.
Shake it hard and serve short over good fresh ice or in a stemmed glass over an ice ball. Then add 50ml of Blanco tequila to a salt-rimmed glass, for a Margarita. For a Side Car, add 50ml cognac to a sugar-rimmed glass, and for a White Lady, add 50ml gin with optional egg whites. Next, add 25ml of cointreau, followed by 25ml of citrus; either freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Finally, make yourself a sugar syrup, which should be 2 parts sugar to 1 part boiling water, then stir until dissolved and cool.
Grab a jar about 500ml in volume, fill with ice, and add 1 tea spoon sugar syrup, then add a few dashes of angostura bitters and stir; your ice should start to collapse, which is a sign that dilution has started. Continue to stir but keep an eye on the bottom of your mixing glass and you will see a small pool of the sugar, bitters and dilution starting to form. Then add 30ml of your favourite whiskey/bourbon/rye/cognac/dark rum, and throw in more ice and stir for 15 seconds and taste. At this point it will taste fairly sweet; then add in another 30ml and keep stirring, continually tasting every few seconds. It’s important to keep tasting so you can taste the drink changing. When it reaches a point where you like it stop and pour into your chilled ice filled rocks glass, squeeze over a zest of orange and serve.
Grab a mixing glass, fill with ice, throw in 40ml of Irish Whiskey (we use Bushmills 10 year old) 20ml port, 20ml apple liqueur and 20ml pear liqueur. Stir well, serve in a stemmed martini or coupe-style glass over an ice ball, and finish with the zest of an orange.
This is one of our favourites to make, and it’s no surprise it’s one of the world’s most popular cocktails: it’s almost impossible to get wrong. Fill your mixing glass with ice, add 30ml of Tanqueray gin, Campari & martini rosso, then stir well and pour into your chilled ice filled rocks glass, and finish with a zest of an orange. For a lighter option swap out the gin for soda water, which will turn your drink into an Americano (another classic).