Previously, we’ve stuck to cocktails, which in the classic definition have strict requirements. Today, we’ll branch off to allow mixed drinks (basic and two part). What’s a two part drink? It’s a drink with two ingredients and (potentially) a garnish: gin and tonic, scotch and soda, rum and coke, etc. These drinks don’t have a strict ratio, and a lot goes to personal preference. I would generally start with a 1:3 ratio, but it’s easily adjustable to your own tastes. Assuming a carbonated mixer, these don’t get shaken or vigorously stirred (a gentle stir with a swizzle stick or bar spoon won’t hurt) as you don’t want to drive off all the carbonation. As the majority of your drink here is the mixer, the way to make these better is to go with a better mixer.
Next, let’s move onto a ratio that will open up a large range of drinks to be made. This is a 2:1:1 ratio; 2 parts strong, 1 part sweet, 1 part sour. Strong is going to be your liquor. Sweet can be simple syrup, grenadine, triple sec, or any other liqueur that has a sweet flavor. Sour is generally citrus juice (generally lemon, lime, or a blend of the two), keep in mind that if you’re grabbing Rose’s Lime Juice that’s a sweetened ingredient. Go ahead, and put the three ingredients you want into the shaker filled with ice, shake it until it’s chilled, and strain into a chilled glass. What drinks fall into this family? Daiquiri (rum, simple syrup, lime), lemon drop (vodka, simple syrup, lemon), sidecar (brandy, triple sec, lemon), gimlet (gin, simple syrup, lime). Again, this ratio gives you a starting point, and you can adjust the ratio for specific drinks to taste. You can also add a dash of bitters if you wish. As a reference, a traditional recipe for the Bee’s Knees is:
- 2 part honey syrup (simple syrup made with honey)
- 3 part lemon juice
- 8 part gin
Squinting, you can see the 2:1:1 ratio. This drink tends towards the stronger side, with less sweetness and sour to balance it out.
Finally, let’s move on to a simple spritzer ratio. This is a 1:2:3 ratio; 1 part fruit juice, 2 part liquor, 3 part seltzer. Here the goal is to look for seltzers and juices that work well together, and then find an appropriate liquor to mix in. You can either shake the liquor and juice together, and strain it into a glass, or you can put the liquor and juice into a glass and give it a quick stir. After that, top with the seltzer. For an example, look towards something similar to a Paloma: grapefruit juice, tequila, and grapefruit seltzer. As a reference, the traditional recipe for the Paloma is:
- 1 part Lime Juice
- 3 part Tequila
- 8 part grapefruit flavored pop
The major difference here is pop instead of seltzer, and some lime juice to offset the sweetness of the pop (which will have the grapefruit flavor). If you look, it’s pretty close to the 1:2:3 ratio we were talking about. The ratios aren’t shackles, they’re there to provide guidelines to give you a starting point.