Originally Posted by Rambo
This is awesome Jeff. Thanks. Got a few questions - they're in bold next to said item.
What's a sweet burbon? Isn't that mostly a preference thing?
Sweeter bourbons will be just that, sweeter. Maker's Mark is an example of a sweeter one- the mashbill contains no rye, but a fair bit of wheat instead. And it is a preference thing for sipping, but for balancing a cocktail, you have a little less wiggle room. The Manhattan contains sweet vermouth and that sweet cherry, so you need to balance those out with the whiskey and bitters.
As for Manhattan recipe, I do 4:1 bourbon to red vermouth, 3 dashes of bitters. And a cherry. Use the good brandy soaked ones or the syrupy red ones if you have fond memories of those on ice cream as a kid.
Martini- I'm pretty classic with this one. 4:1 gin and vermouth. Garnish with an olive, a twist of lemon, or a cocktail onion, which makes it a Gibson.
Pegu club: 2 oz gin, 3/4 oz each of Lime and triple sec, and 2 dashes of bitters. Really, that's a simplification/bastardization of the original recipe, but it'll do quite well. The original calls for orange curacao which isn't really particularly different than triple sec, and a dash each of angustora and orange bitters.
New Orleans sours: I generally make them (well, the ones I do make- I don't bother with vodka or tequila really, so I don't make those) at 2:1:1 spirit:lemon:liqueur. That formula is hardly set in stone, you can of course adjust to your preferences. 1.5:1:1 is also common.
Ward 8: 2 oz bourbon, 1/2 oz each of orange and lemon, tsp grenadine. Garnish with a cherry, and if you have one, a miniature flag of Massachusetts. As a sidenote, it's probably the most ironic cocktail there is. It was created to celebrate the election of a certain Martin Lomasney, who was a political boss in Boston at the time. The irony is that Lomasney was a big advocate of prohibition and helped to bring it about.
And now he lives on in cocktail book notations everywhere. May he burn in hell.
Luigi note: yeah, pretty much just a tip out of the bottle. Call it a dash, call it a splash, just a little bit. Not as little as a dash of bitters, but that's the general idea.
Daiquiri: 3 oz of rum. Say, 3/4 oz lemon and a bit of simple syrup( I make it in airline bottles and would use about a third). It's really just your basic sour, go with what feels right. Crust the glass with sugar if you really feel the need, but up the lemon or lime in there if you do. And if you do use lime, use less then you would lemon.
Measurements in the a:b:c format are ratios. They're in parts, and you can adapt them for the volumes you need. If the cocktail is predominantly one thing and has equal parts of the others, or something simple like that, I find it's easier to think in ratios. Also, some cocktails are the subject of debate in terms of the proper proportion, so that format helps keep straight how it's being made. A Martini at 1:1 with orange bitters (the original formula, and it would have used sweet vermouth) is very different from the 'classic' formula of 4:1 gin and dry vermouth. Or, really, just vermouth, since the technical name for the cocktail we think of is the dry martini. If you really want to screw with a bartender, order a sweet martini. I've tried one, it's actually pretty dang good. I still need to find some orange bitters to complete it though...
But further examples include the manhattan, which is often made at 3:1, a bit of a holdover from it's formulation with the more bitter rye. For bourbon, 4:1 is an altogether safer proposition, though your tastes certainly may incline more sweeter than mine.
In terms of translating to exact amounts, a standard cocktail glass holds 4 ounces, or two and a half shots. A martini or manhattan made at 4:1 will take 2 shots of gin/whiskey and half a shot of the appropriate vermouth. For the stinger, you have 1.5 shots of brandy and 1 shot of creme de menthe to make 4 ounces.
In terms of recipes for sours, a sour is something modified with lemon and sugar. Not so much sugar as to make it sweet persay, but enough to balance out the sharpness of the lemon and make it more or less tangy. Essentially you're making lemonade with liquor instead of water. when you add the seltzer (or even flat water, if you want) to a sour, you're basically pouring lemonade in there. They're very simple, can be done with any spirit, and the beauty of it is you can adjust proportions to your personal tastes.
And a gimlet is traditionally a generous helping of Rose's lime dumped into gin. 2 oz gin to 3/4 oz roses is a reasonable ratio, I suppose. Rose's Lime is still easily available right next to the Rose's Grenadine at any supermarket, but I use juice and basically do a riff on the sour. There is a noticeable difference in using the syrup and using juice and sugar (or simple syrup, which is really just a way of using sugar without the pain of trying to dissolve it into a cold drink). Try 'em both though, the Gimlet hasn't stuck around for so long using Roses because it's a horrendous mixture.