A cocktail is a work of art in a glass. The purpose of a cocktail is to bring out the flavor of a spirit. This is done in many ways and for many reasons. There are basic cocktail styles that you need to master. After understanding these styles, all other cocktails are easy to make and remember. An important thing to remember is that the cocktail world is a world full of mimicry. Once you come up with an idea, someone will run away with it and do something similar. Unlike other industries, doing this is a sign of respect. The world of cocktails changes rapidly and also tends to repeat trends. If you do not like the current cocktail fads, then wait a couple of weeks. It will change again.
The reason and the purpose of a cocktail are intertwined. A good cocktail will be balanced, unique and pleasant. Cocktails were invented to mask the terrible booze that was flowing due to the prohibition of alcohol in America. Necessity is the mother of invention. With the use of fruit juice, carbonated beverages, and fortified wines, bartenders invented cocktails that are now part of everyday life.
Basic skills are needed to know how to make cocktails. You have to know when to shake and when to stir. You have to know what type of ice to use for certain cocktails for dilutions. These are learned best through trial and error. There are basic rules that you can use on these.
The cocktail world is full of copycats. There is also a lot of fads that happen and trends that are good and bad. Generally, I drink seasonally. I don’t drink as much neat whiskey in the summer as I do in the winter. I stick to floral drinks in the spring and spiced drinks in the fall. I like to develop menus in this same vein. The trends and fads that are out now are debatable. Mixology is having its day. More and more craft cocktail bars are popping up. The number one cocktail is the Margarita, but classics are making headway. The Old Fashioned and the Negroni are catching up. The Martini, Daiquiri, and Aperol Spritz are making headway. If you look at any cocktail list at a respectable bar you will see these drinks or close variations.
The world of cocktails is a diverse, dynamic world of flavor. You will find different spices and fruits used to make wonderful and awful drinks. You are not supposed to like everything. It is important not to yuck anyone’s yum though. Just because I don’t care for something does not mean that there is not merit to it. You are not supposed to like your first 3 Negronis, but like sushi it grows on you. Pretty soon when you get in the mood for a Negroni, nothing else will hit the spot. One of the hardest and most important parts of your cocktail journey is not being contemptuous. Being condescending toward someone just makes you look like a jerk. There are times for martinis and times for cheap beer. Its best if you can appreciate each.