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What Are The Six Basic Cocktails?

There are perhaps a limitless number of cocktails that could be made, with variations as numerous as there are ways to mix ingredients together and bring out particular tastes and aromas.

Modern mixology is primarily built on the concept of spectacle and scale, with beautiful colours, elaborate ingredients, specialised glasses, elaborate and often theatrical mixing methods and a wide variety of flavours mixed together.

However, at the core of every great cocktail is high-quality ingredients, and many early cocktails were concocted as celebrations of this, eschewing sweetness for an overall dry taste that sharpens the appetite.

Many of these principles were the result of one of the most popular mixology books ever written, David A Embury’s The Fine Art Of Mixing Drinks, which established not only many of the core principles for great drinks but also proposed that there were six basic drinks that were standard in the arsenal for any cocktail mixer.

These were:

  • The Manhattan, a whisky drink softened with sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters.

  • The Old Fashioned, an almost-neat whisky drink with a very small amount of syrup designed as a celebration of early pre-prohibition cocktail making.

  • The Sidecar, a mix of Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.

  • The Martini, a mix of gin and dry vermouth that contrary to James Bond’s taste is stirred with ice rather than shaken.

  • The Jack Rose, an apple brandy cocktail mixed with Grenadine and lemon juice.

  • The Daiquiri, a mix of white rum, lime and syrup.

The basic cocktails he selected were partly out of preference but also out of a belief that all cocktails are formed of a spirit base, a “modifying agent” that gives a cocktail its signature taste, and flavouring and colouring ingredients that add particular unique accents to a drink.

Because the core recipes are so simple, an entire galaxy of different flavours, tastes and delicious drinks can come from six basic cocktails.

For more information and a list of drinks from a cocktail bar in Stirling, visit our website today.

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