What is a Cocktail Part II

I have been doing a lot of work not only in the lab, but in books on Cocktails and different ingredients lately. In Part I of What is a Cocktail, I gave you the basic ingredients that make a Cocktail a Cocktail.

In Part two I will expand on this concept. Many individuals have tried to define a Cocktail and the dictionary probably gets it as close you one can.

Cocktail: Iced drink made of spirits, bitters, flavoring and sugar.

Which is indeed true. David Embury in his book, "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" takes this concept a bit farther

A Cocktail (I mean an aperitif cocktail) A drink to be taken before a meal as a stimulant to the appetite and as aid to digestion.  Embury goes on the break down the function of a Cocktail. On these points I would like to expand.

1. It must wet the appetite and not dull it. Do not over use juices, creamers sugars etc.

2. It should stimulate the mind as well as the appetite. I love this point and those of you who enjoy a Cocktail in my bar know I love talking drink ingredients and history as well as experimenting with new Cocktails.

3. I should be pleasing to the palate. This seems obvious to me, however I have ordered a Cocktail that did not have the correct amount of alcohol which led to an unfavorable outcome.

4. It should be pleasing to the eye. For this reason alone a garnish is a must and should be served on a Cocktail napkin or coaster.

5. It must have the right amount of alcohol flavor to distinguish it from other beverages.

6. It must be well chilled either with ice or sufficiently chilled glasses.

Well just a little more to think about when you are mixing Cocktails for your Band of Usual Suspects.

Next up will be some more of the actual Cocktails.

The Professor


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