Whether it is neat, straight up or on the rocks, a gentleman should be able to make a drink that is as elegant and sophisticated as he is. Cocktails are celebrations of different flavours from all four corners of the globe and choosing from this myriad of variety is no mean feat. That said, there are the essentials that you simply cannot do without – those cornerstones of bygone bars which still form the basis of mixology today. Below are ten classic cocktails that every gentleman should be able to make. And remember, it’s always cocktail hour somewhere in the world…
Here in Minnesota, no brunch spread is complete without a small glass of beer nestled next to your Bloody Mary. Also called a snit, on some mornings it’s the scrappy little sidekick aiding your hulking, tomato-based hero in fighting off last night’s hangover. Others, it’s the cheeky first mate, steering you with a wink toward a day-drinking afternoon while the captain’s back is turned. It is, objectively, a very good idea.
Which is why it’s kind of weird that no one really understands why or where the practice began. What is certain is this: If you order a breakfast cocktail outside of the Upper Midwest, you won’t get a beer back.
When and how do you drink it Pure?
It’s mainly drunk as an aperitif; keep in mind that the word comes from the Greek meaning to whet (literally, open up) the appetite, so a glass of it, over ice, works before lunch or dinner. The name comes from the French pronunciation of the German word for wormwood, famously used in a number of alcoholic beverages and medicines up to the late 19th century, including absinthe. But the Germans didn’t invent it; it seems the Chinese were already doing something similar tho
IF YOU VISIT A TRADITIONAL lambic brewery in Belgium, you’ll see spiders spinning webs among the casks. They are not a nuisance, and brewers don’t swat them away. The spiders are there by design to protect the fruity beer from fruit flies. The webs do, however, create a fitting environment for lambic, which can seem a little like magic. Using the oldest of all modern brewing styles, brewers summon wild yeast, resulting in funky, sour beers.
“The taste of whisky is primarily linked to so-called amphipathic molecules, which are made up of hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts. One such molecule is guaiacol, a substance that develops when the grain is dried over peat smoke when making malt whisky, providing the smoky flavour to the whisky”, Karlsson explains.
Karlsson and Friedman carried out computer simulations of water/ethanol mixtures in the presence of guaiacol to study its interactions. They found that guaiacol was preferentially associated with ethanol molecules and that in mixtures with concentrations of ethanol up to 45% guaiacol was more likely to be present at the liquid-air interface than in the bulk of the liquid.
“This suggests that, in a glass of whisky, guaiacol will therefore be found near the surface of the liquid, where it contributes to both the smell and taste of the spirit. Interestingly, a continued dilution down to 27% resulted in an increase of guaiacol at the liquid-air interface. An increased percentage, over 59%, had the opposite effect, that is to say, the ethanol interacted more strongly with the guaiacol, driving the molecule into the solution away from the surface”, Friedman continues.
Researchers have discovered traces of what could be the world’s oldest wine at the bottom of terracotta jars in a cave in Sicily, showing that the fermented drink was being made and consumed in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia.
Travel back in time to 1662, when Catherine of Braganza (daughter of Portugal’s King John IV) won the hand of England’s newly restored monarch, King Charles II, with the help of a very large dowry that included money, spices, treasures and the lucrative ports of Tangiers and Bombay. This hookup made her one very important lady: the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.
When she relocated up north to join King Charles, she is said to have packed loose-leaf tea as part of her personal belongings; it would also have likely been part of her dowry. A fun legend has it that the crates were marked Transporte de Ervas Aromaticas (Transport of Aromatic Herbs) – later abbreviated to T.E.A.
That last bit probably isn’t true (etymologists believe the word ‘tea’ came from a transliteration of a Chinese character), but what is for sure is that tea was already popular among the aristocracy of Portugal due to the country’s direct trade line to China via its colony in Macau, first settled in the mid-1500s (visit today to sample the other end of this culinary exchange, the Portuguese pastéis de nata, aka egg custard tarts).