It may be different with chefs and food because most may want to stay away from old-timey dishes, but mixologists and bartenders will always be expected to tip their caps to the classic cocktails. These drinks have been honed perfectly for decades and never go out of style. Many of these classics are still made in the most avant-garde cocktail bars not just because they’re most perfect mixes but because they’re so unbelievably easy to make. So with less than a dozen different bottles, some ice, glassware and our tips, try your hands at being a competent at-home mixologist with the following easy classics.
Gin and Tonic
Gin and tonic was not the idea of some bored lover of alcohol who loved to try new things. In the 1800s, malaria was a problem India and the gentlemen in the army of the British East India Company took to mixing quinine with water, lime, sugar and gin so it was easier to take the medicine. Gin and tonic is great for the warm weather and obviously a healthy pick for all of us in Nigeria.
Just put some ice in a glass, pour your gin and tonic in whatever ratios you prefer, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Like with most cocktails, the margarita’s origins are murky but our favourite story is the one that says a Tijuana nightclub owner came up with the mix to impress a performer named Margarita Cansino who would later be known as Rita Hayworth. Whether you prefer it on the rocks or straight up, “the Marg” brings sweetness and acidity into perfect harmony.
All you need to do is put your tequila (2oz), lime juice (1oz) and Cointreau (1oz) in a shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker develops a light frost after which you serve in your glass. If you prefer to rim your glass with salt, first rub a slice of lime around the glass’ edge then dip the rim in a plate that’s been coated with salt.
Daiquiri is said to have been invented in Santiago de Cuba by an American during the Spanish-American War. By the early-1900s, it made its way to America and became the favourite drink of everyone from JFK to Hemingway. Apparently, it was the late Sasha Petraske’s favourite drink. He’s one of the most influential personas in the modern cocktail revival, who helped his patrons learn how daiquiri should actually be made. This drink is a great combination of sweet, sour and strong. It’s as easy to make as it is to mess up.
Mix two ounces of white rum, an ounce of freshly-squeezed lime juice and three quarter ounce of simple syrup in a mixing glass and shake well before pouring in your coupe.
The Champagne Cocktail dates back to legendary barman Jerry Thomas. He wrote a book in 1862 titled How to Mix Drinks: Bon Vivant’s Companion, where he penned the standard recipe for a sparkling wine cocktail still being used today. In Thomas’ days, the champagne cocktail was known as “Chorus Girl’s Milk,” and it remains one of the few popular Champagne cocktails. Mixing the strength of brandy with the effervescent classiness of champagne, it’s hard to go wrong.
Just add two dashes of Angostura bitter and sugar cube into a Champagne flute. Then add one-third of an ounce of cognac and gently pour in three ounces of chilled champagne.
We presume this cocktail was first made in Manhattan, but whether this was at the snooty Manhattan Club in the 1870s or other locales on the isle in the previous years is still being debated. With this drink, you have the spiciness of whiskey balanced with the sweetness of fortified wine vermouth.
Stir two ounces of whiskey, one ounce of sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura bitters with cracked ice. Pour it into a coupe before you garnish with an orange twist.