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Cocktail 101

Master these two cocktails and not only will you have two classic drinks in your arsenal, you’ll also have mastered many of the basic techniques of bartending. 

Old Fashioned

Ingredients

1½ ounces of Bourbon

¼ ounce of  2:1 simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part sugar)

2 dashes of Old Fashioned bitters

1 expressed orange peel

1 Luxardo Maraschino cherry, optional

To prepare

Pour Bourbon, simple syrup and bitters into a mixing glass. Fill mixing glass one-third of the way full with ice. Stir with a bar spoon until very cold. Serve on ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel and a maraschino cherry (optional). 

Old School Rum Daiquiri 

1½ ounces of white rum

¾ ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice

½ ounce of 1:1 simple syrup (one part sugar to one part water)

To prepare

Pour white rum, lime juice and simple syrup into mixing glass. Fill shaker one-third of the way full with ice. Shake vigorously for fifteen seconds. Strain into a coupe glass.  

Note: This recipe is a great one to learn, as it is easily adaptable. Switch out whiskey for the rum and you end up with a whiskey sour. Substitute the whiskey for vodka or gin and you have a gimlet. 

Infuse Your Own Liquor

Infusing spirits is a simple way to tailor your liquor cabinet to your personal tastes while taking your bartending game to the next level. Josey Hill is the bar manager at Red Room, which is known for its infusions, and he is sharing the ins and outs of the process so you can try it at home. 

Steps: 

1. Choose your liquor

According to Josey Hill, any liquor can be infused, so it all comes down to preference when choosing which spirit you want to work with. Regardless of the type of spirit you select, be sure to get a bottle that is at least of middle-shelf quality. The better quality of ingredients you begin with, the better quality your final product will be. 

2. Choose your ingredients

The ingredients that can be used to infuse liquors run the culinary gamut. Fruits, roots (think ginger and garlic), herbs and spices are popular choices, and the combinations are endless. When choosing ingredients it’s important to consider how the flavor of the ingredients will play off of the tasting notes of the liquor. A couple of favorite pairings of Hill are Scotch with Bordeaux cherries and tequila with basil and pineapple. 

3. Bottle it Up

Combine your ingredients and your preferred liquor in a large glass container that can be sealed. Then wrap the entire container in plastic wrap to make sure it is airtight. Store the container in a cool, dark place. Your refrigerator will work great if you have the room.  

4. Let It Infuse

To make sure the flavors of the ingredients sufficiently permeate the liquid, you want to allow the infusion enough time to steep. Porous ingredients like fruit only require about a week to infuse, whereas denser components like roots and spices need up to two weeks. Hill recommends changing out your fruit weekly, as it can eventually spoil. 

5. Serve It

Once your infusion has reached your preferred flavor intensity, it’s time to strain it. Pouring the liquid through cheesecloth removes sediment and ensures clarity. Once you’ve strained your infusion, it is ready to enjoy. Serve it on the rocks or in a cocktail.

Try it: Candied Bacon Bourbon

Ingredients 

10 strips of bacon, diced

¼ cup brown sugar

A fifth (750 milliliters) of Maker’s Mark bourbon 

To prepare

In a large skillet, sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and cook until done. Pat bacon dry with paper towels and place in a large glass container. Pour in Maker’s Mark. Wrap container with plastic wrap and store in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Strain mixture through cheesecloth and store in original bottle or in a decanter. 

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