You can make great cocktails at home, in your kitchen or bar. Your homemade cocktails can surpass those from the hippest speakeasy or the swankiest nightclub.
A great cocktail is transcendent. As the flavors dance on your tongue, your mind recalls fond memories and faraway places. Your jaw relaxes and stress leaves your body. Possibilities blossom. Love winks across the room. A bad day turns into a slightly better one.
A bad cocktail just gets you drunk. If that’s all you’re after, buy a bottle of grain alcohol and say goodnight.
For the rest of us, amazing cocktails at home are easier than you think.
What keeps people from crafting great cocktails at home? Myths and false beliefs.
There are three common myths holding you back:
Myth #1: You need expensive ingredients
Just because you don’t want to buy a $50 bottle of Laphroaig for a 1/4 oz float on top of a Penicillin doesn’t mean you can’t make great cocktails at home.
You can make exquisite cocktails at home without splurging on expensive ingredients.
Consider the humble Daiquiri. This classic has remained unchanged for hundreds of years for good reason – nothing is better than an ice-cold Daiquiri on a hot night. There are only three ingredients: sugar, fresh lime juice, and white rum. You can sip Daiquiri after Daiquiri all weekend, imagining yourself at a rooftop bar in Havana, for less than $20.
Just don’t throw frozen limeade in a blender with Captain Morgan. Please, no.
Myth #2: You need expensive equipment
There is a ton of home bartending and craft cocktail stuff for sale on the internet. Most of it is junk. You might use some of it more than once. Maybe.
You will need the basic tools of the trade. A jigger, shaker, beaker, and bar spoon will get the job done.
You don’t need a smoker, aerator, infuser, ager, spice grinder, or blender for 95% of the cocktails you’ll want to make. You can go your whole life without a “fish tank bubbler” to make an absinthe air.
One exception is tiki drinks. If you want to make a lot of tiki drinks for lounging by the pool, add a blender to the list of essentials.
Myth #3: You need professional training
Technique is a huge part of cocktail craft, and it’s critically important to achieve greatness.
But you don’t need professional training to develop great technique. My technique is better than most “professionals” behind a bar. Why? Because to me, cocktails are a passion, not a job. I’m pursuing perfection, not a paycheck.
Once, I attended a very fancy work dinner at a private country club. After dinner, some colleagues and I went to the bar for cocktails. This was a private club in a gated golf community – you’d expect great drinks. Yet, the bartender couldn’t remember how to make an Old Fashioned. Seriously.
Technique is critical, but training is overrated. Read a book, watch some YouTube videos, and practice.
And “practice” is actually fun when crafting cocktails – you get to sample the results.
Don’t let bad information and false beliefs keep you from enjoying amazing cocktails at home.
You don’t need expensive ingredients, expensive tools, or professional training. Are you ready to get started in mixology?
What myths are keeping you from crafting cocktails at home?