The original recipe for a cocktail was alcohol, sugar, water and bitters. Bitters actually began as medicinal tonics but were added to cocktails due to their concentrated flavors. Unfortunately they fell out of favor but, are now making a comeback. Bitters add a nice bit of oomph to the mix. And the great thing is, you only need a dash.
For my final class, my students mentioned they wanted to do something with cocktails, mixology…they didn’t know. So I came up with the idea of making a basic drink from the original recipe. To work with, they had Jack Daniels, Captain Morgans spiced rum, Jose Cuervo gold, Makers Mark, Bacardi white, New Amsterdam gin, Absolut vodka for alcohol. Don’t worry, these were the mini bottles and I had 4 students. No drunkeness here, LOL! This was the good part about having a small class. Sugar and honey were available as sweetners, and tonic and seltzer for water. I told them about bitters and provided Angostura and Peychauds, the 2 most popular and widely available bitters on the market.
They tasted the bitters first, thinking they were kind of gross. But thought that since I put them on the table, they should use them. Funny that the guys made drinks from the dark liquor and the ladies from the white. The drinks started off a bit strong, Jack Daniels, honey, tonic, lemon juice. I told him to add to dashes of Angostura. the drink softened up a bit. Same with the Markers Mark and honey…add Angostura. Now this is something you could sit back and sip on and enjoy. The ladies used the rum, sugar, Peychauds, and lime. Nice drink, crisp with hints of citrus.
No one however used the gin. That’s fine…it came back home with me!!