It’s no secret I like a cocktail: I wrote here about how I like a Martini, here about my favourite, a Manhattan, and after trying a Pisco Sour (during my Peruvian restaurant adventure) earlier in the week, I rushed out and bought a bottle of Pisco so I could recreate it at home. This week I also finally got round to buying some proper ingredients to take my kind if Manhattan, into a bonafide, real-deal, Manhattan. With an influx of new cocktail ingredients this week, I became inspired to finally try and make a creation of my own.
This was a biiig task. I have no mixology experience, and usually like to drink cocktails other people have made, so I didn’t have a full bar. What I did have was some classic ingredients, with all the flavours I love the most. I did some rudimentary research, learnt what a smash, simple syrup, and muddle meant, and worked out some rough ratios.
I’m not a fan of sweet and sickly cocktails, or drinks full of juice, so I decided to stick to a sharp lemon or lime flavour combined with some sort of herb. From my research, I had it whittled down to five possible winning creations, so there was only one thing for it – I had to try them all!
This one had too much lime (a literal taste of things to come), but aside from that didn’t taste like anything. The ginger wasn’t punchy enough, there was only a subtle hint of mint, and the gin wasn’t saying anything. A disappointing misfire.
I like vodka a lot more than gin: I like the clean, crispness of it, so I thought it would be perfect to partner with the lemon and rosemary. Although this did taste nice, the lemon was a bit overpowering, and I, unfortunately, didn’t get any rosemary from it at all.
Now, we were getting somewhere. This was lovely. The Pisco and vermouth mixed together beautifully (as I found out earlier in the night when I tried a Paddington Martini – Pisco is from Peru, just like Paddington!), and the lime and mint are a classic combination. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the ratios quite right all night, so I ended up with slightly too much lime or lemon juice in nearly everything.
Inspired by a Moscow Mule, this was so nearly perfect. I love Middle Eastern food, especially the pairing of pomegranate and lime in a lot of dishes, so I thought I would try and recreate it here. I just needed to add a little more pomegranate molasses (I didn’t want to make it too sweet with having the ginger syrup too), and a little less lime. I will absolutely try this again though, as it was so, so delicious. I think these will be perfect in the Summer months.
I think it’s no surprise that the winner was the one drink without the overpowering lime or lemon flavours. I, like James Bond, favour a Vodka Martini, crisp, dry, smooth, perfect. Inspired by a Vesper, but not having any Lillet to try it out, I went for the nearest thing and added vermouth. Even though I’m sure many people the world over have made this version, let me tell you, this was just the most perfect drink, and it will without a doubt be added to my regular line-up. It was so dry and so smooth – it was truly spot on to my tastes.
I enjoyed this challenge so much, but I was happy to have a glass of water at the end of the night! It was interesting to explore my tastes, and mix things accordingly: something I do often in cooking but never with drinks. I’ve walked away from this with two, possibly three, drinks that I will make again. The only thing missing is a name…any suggestions?