Classic Cocktails You Can Learn How To Make Right Now

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by Brian Brushwood & Jason Murphy

So you’ve decided to do something absolutely crazy and invite guests over to your house. To be fair, you didn’t really have a choice – you felt compelled to ask your boss over for dinner because you’re trying to land a promotion, or maybe just not get fired or whatever. The point is, your goal is to impress them with a level of sophistication you’re pretty sure they don’t expect from you, given they see your sad face hovering over that Cup-a-Soup every day on your lunch break.

After watching a crash course on how to properly cook steaks, you’re feeling pretty confident that you can pull this off. But then it hits you: drinks. Do you pick up some wine? Or beer? You have some liquor on hand, but you don’t know anything about making cocktails, and asking, “All right, who’s up for some shots?” probably isn’t appropriate.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re going to show you how to make four classic cocktails so that when your boss’s spouse asks, “Can I get an Old Fashioned?” you can reply, “Yes; yes, you can. Because I’m totally classy and know how to make those.”

First things first: You will need a few things. Fortunately, not many, because with just five different spirits (and a few other things) you can make any of these, and more. Here’s how to set yourself up for cocktail-making badassery:

 
 
 
 

Martini

Ah, the classic martini. Everybody knows what they are, and everybody likes them. Well, except for people who don’t like gin, we guess. But they don’t count, because gin is awesome, and we have numerous scientific studies to back us up on that.

As with many mixed drinks, you’ll find that they don’t really require a lot of ingredients. A martini, for example, has three: gin, vermouth, and garnish. That’s it. They key is all in how it’s prepared. Here you’ll learn how to properly chill the glass, then coat it with vermouth instead of mixing it with the gin. Of course, you’ll still want to chill the gin as well, but that’s all there is to it. Oh, don’t forget the olive garnish.

And for the love of god, stir it, don’t shake it.

 
 

Manhattan

As it turns out, the Manhattan isn’t the only cocktail named after a borough of New York City: There are four more. But the Manhattan is definitely the most popular because ... oh hell, we don’t know why.

Like a martini, not much goes into this drink: bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Pour all of the ingredients into a mixing tin, fill three quarters with ice, and stir until it’s cold. Its simplicity is ... well, simple. It’s so simple its simplicity is simple. Think about that.

Or, you know, don’t, because that was kind of dumb. Just toss a cherry in that sucker and enjoy it and forget we ever wrote a dumbass sentence about simplicity.

 
 

Old Fashioned

We’re going to get a little fancier now, and use things like sugar cubes and orange rind. Plus you’ll learn how to muddle such things.

This time we start with said sugar cube and place it in the bottom of the glass, then add some aromatic bitters. After we let it sit for a bit, we mash up the sugar into the bitters with our muddler, squeeze some of the citrus out of an orange rind into that mixture, then muddle that into the bottom of the glass. Man, there’s so much muddling going on here, which we love because we’ve never muddled anything and we just like saying the word muddle. Muddle.

From there, we add a touch of soda water, then add our rye whiskey. Add ice, stir (again), and enjoy. Cherry optional.

 
 

Whiskey Sour

Holy crap. A drink we actually get to shake! We feel like an actual bartender now.

Begin with some fresh squeezed lemon, then add your bourbon right away. Next, we add some heavy simple syrup, which you can go buy or totally just make yourself. After that it’s time to add the egg white.

Wait, no! Don’t skip this entry. Yes, salmonella is a thing, but there’s no way it would dare attack us while we craft this glorious drink. Right, guys? Guys?

Then ... yes. It’s shaking time! Throw everything together, add ice, then shake again. Oh, man … is there a way to add both muddling and shaking, and maybe a little bottle twirling or something? We’re so damn excited.

 
 

There are many more you can make, which may require you to stock up on a lot of stuff that you don’t already have. We mean, it’s not like you’re a bartender or something. Or hell, maybe you are. But if that’s the case, why are you reading this?

Just kidding. We’re actually interested in any variations to these drinks that you prefer. If you have any, drop them in the comments below.

Like this article? Check out “VIDEO: Bar Etiquette Sins and How to Avoid Them” and “How To Create Your Own Signature Cocktail”.

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