I’m not sure we ever need an excuse to drink cocktails, but here it is.
Next Friday (May 13) is World Cocktail Day and it would be remiss of us if we didn’t mark the occasion. It’s also Black Friday, double cause for getting some friends around to celebrate and get your mixology on.
World Cocktail Day marks the publication date of the first definition of a cocktail, on May 13, 1806.
The New York tabloid The Balance and Columbian Repository defined a cocktail as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.’’
During the 1920s American prohibition, when there was not a lot of high-quality alcohol available, cocktails were the perfect way to make smuggled rum, gin or whisky a little more palatable.
Many concoctions that emerged then are still favourites today, including rum mojitos and the Tom Collins (gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, soda).
Drinking didn’t stop during prohibition, it just went underground. Cocktails went hand in hand with jazz music at illegal speakeasies.
To help get you in the mood for World Cocktail Day, we asked some of the guys at Sense of Taste for their favourite cocktails.
Golden Hour, using Basil Hayden Bourbon, which is on the Sense of Taste website for $69.99.
1 part Basil Hayden
¾ part Lillet Blanc
¾ part Aperol
Garnish with grapefruit zest. “It’s refreshing, good any time, dangerous, sweet, citrus and herbal. Completely balanced.’’
Espresso Martini, because coffee is awesome.
30ml vodka, 60ml fresh coffee, 60ml kaluha. Shake hard and double strain.
I’m partial to a couple of classics.
A Dirty Martini, using Poli Marconi Gin and Noilly Prat Vermouth. And a Gin Gimlet. Both are super easy to make, and highlight the flavour of the gin rather than hide it with a heap of other flavours.
Poli Gin starts with Pinot Grigio juice as the base, so it has plenty of flavour but is ridiculously smooth.
It would have to be a Margarita, sitting at the pub with my mates. I just like the taste of tequila.
If I was making it at home, I’d use Rooster Rojo Anejo tequila ($65.99 online). Aged for a minimum of one year in used bourbon barrels, it has a pronounced richness and exceptional smoothness.
BRENDON, WEST END
Pina Colada. I love the tropical taste and flavours of pineapple and coconut. It is perfect on an island getaway, and I enjoyed the cocktail on the island of Palawan, an archipelagic province of the Philippines.
The Escape song by Rupert Holmes resonated with me when enjoying this cocktail.
Incidentally, the first Pina Colada was mixed in 1954 when Ramon Marrero created the delicious pineapple treat in a Puerto Rican hotel.
I don’t know about you, but this is all making me thirsty. Head into your local Sense of Taste store and stock up so you’re ready to shake out your favourite cocktail on Friday.