Simple Drinks for Stupid People

by Audrey Ference

We’re grownups, and we owe it to ourselves to know how to make proper cocktails. I don’t care if you’re over the whole bartender-with-a-handlebar-mustache-in-sleeve-garters thing, good cocktails are here to stay. Even at one of those half-assed house parties where the liquor selection is a random jumble of bottles with a forlorn, unwashed shaker jammed in with an ancient thing of angostura, you can drink something nice, even if you have to drink it out of a plastic cup like an animal. Plus you can make up your own cocktail recipes to impress your friends and future lovers. It’s all about ratios!

Sours — 2:1:1/2

Sours are the best! Margaritas are sours, and so are sidecars. It’s just booze plus citrus juice plus sweetener, in a 2:1:1/2 ratio. So a marg is 2 oz of tequila, 1 oz of lime, ½ oz of cointreau. You can scale it up or down for more servings, obviously, so two side cars is 4 oz brandy, 2 oz lemon juice, 1 oz of cointreau. Almost any combination of liquor, citrus, and liqueur tastes awesome this way, or if there’s no liqueur available, use a sploosh of simple syrup or even some sugar. Shaken, please. Oh, and you MUST use real juice. None of that disgusting lime juice in a bottle. Feel free to be a dick and squeeze out a bunch of the little lime wedges meant for people to garnish their G & Ts.

Aromatic cocktails — 4:1:dash

Martinis, manhattans, rob roys — these are aromatic cocktails. I like a 4 to 1 ratio of spirits to fortified wine, with two shakes of bitters. Those people who wave the vermouth bottle over the mixing cup and wink at you are, frankly, idiots. Drinking a big glass of cold gin isn’t illegal or anything, but don’t kid yourself that you’re having a cocktail. Vermouth is delicious! 2 oz gin, ½ oz white vermouth and two shakes of orange bitters is the martini nature intended us to drink. Tequila goes well with sherry. Rye and sweet vermouth. Etc. Try different kinds of bitters if you want to. Get kooky! It’s hard to go wrong. Although please do stir it. Okay? Okay.

Champagne cocktails — Splash:pour

These are sort of duh. Put whatever into champagne. Juice. Liquor. Liqueur. Bitters. Pomegranate seeds. Not hard to figure out but maybe not something you’d remember to try either. Of course, no need to mess around with good champagne — just drink it. But when there’s a lukewarm bottle of Andre on the table, maybe dump in an ounce of gin and a splash of bitters to make it go down easier.

So there you go. Make yourself a nice cocktail tonight, or later this week, or this weekend. Choose your own adventure.

Audrey Ference writes Sex With the Natural Redhead for The L Magazine.

Photo via Flickr