Unlike the baker and the cook, there is a third path that can be taken in the culinary realm that is unlike any other. The mixologist is the modern alchemist that turns spirits into delightful concoctions and scintillating potions. A true hydromancer, this class must balance the skill of the craft with the tongue of the consumer. A well crafted drink can be the difference between ambrosia and rubbing alcohol.
But do not assume that this class can simply hide behind the veil of alcohol to mask their flaws and mistakes! A true mixologist must know the give and take of the drink and work to shape it, not control it. Most importantly, you must remember that not all mixologist work with the spirit world.
The Bartender’s Cabinet
Ice – Water, not alcohol, in all of its forms is the foundation of this class
Lemon & Limes – Taking a page from the cook, citrus is used to enhance flavors
Gin – Clean, clear and smells like Ent blood and is the drink of druids
Beer – Ales, lambics, lagers and stouts are all essential
Wine – Red and white should be on hand at all times
Mixers – A catch-all for sodas, tonics, juices and whatever else is needed
Vodka – Needs to be kept cold, very cold
Rum – The choice of pirates, best used for bartering
Whisky – There are subtle differences between whisky, whiskey and bourbon, learn them
Simple syrup – An elixir of sugar and water, allows for easy dissolving of sweetness
The Mixologist’s Toolbox
Ice – No, this isn’t an error. Temperature control is the most important tool of the mixologist
Ice Scoop – If you see a mixologist scooping ice out with a glass, they’ve failed the first lesson
Jigger – the mixologist’s measure tool
Cocktail shaker – Cobbler has the most uses, but a Boston or French work too
Bar Spoon – a special kind of teaspoon used for measuring and mixing, extra long to reach any depths
Glassware – the mixologist should have a multitude of glassware for each occasion. Shot, wine, pint and lowball are the norms
Corkscrew – winged or Sommelier knife, just make sure it can remove corks and open bottles
Juicer – electric or by hand, depends on the quantity of juice needed
Blender – essential in warmer climates, less so in the chilling north
Counting – the internal method of control, a count is the amount of time it takes to pour approximately half an ounce
Unlike the baker, there is no true quintessential drink for the mixologist to prepare. While other classes are about structure and routine, the mixologist is about balancing control with impulsiveness. Giving a recipe for a Gin and Tonic is odd since different gins match better with different garnishes. Hendrick’s goes well with cucumber, while Beefeater goes better with limes. But some drinks do require recipes and here are three of the essentials.
Made famous by spies in many kingdoms, the Martini isn’t better shaken, unless you like your drinks to look cloudy.
1 count dry vermouth
5 count gin
Olives or lemon zest for garnish
Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass.
Garnish with either olives (one or three, never two) or with the zest of a lemon.
Often the drink that allows for great variation and inspiration, the core of the Manhattan is the same. Feel free to experiment and make this drink your own. A good Manhattan should be your calling card.
5 count whiskey, Rye or Canadian
2 count vermouth, sweet
Dash of bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass over ice and stir. Strained into a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up.