Every man should know how to throw a solid party. No gathering is complete without some adult beverages to get the good times rolling, but if you want to take things a step beyond generic beers and wines it might be time to try the world of crafting cocktails. While there's nothing wrong with sipping a fine tequila neat, cocktails can bring out interesting flavors that are simply not doable otherwise. If you think about it, it's the difference between enjoying the taste of sugar - and enjoying the sight, smell, taste, and overall excitement of looking at a delicious fresh baked scone.
You should not merely be satisfied with knowing how to make just one or two cocktails, though. Memorize a library of recipes, and change what you serve throughout the year to complement the weather and settings. Good drinks taste better when they are optimally paired with their surroundings. You can improve the taste of already mouthwatering classics by rotating when you serve them to blend with the seasons.
As the weather warms up after the cold of winter, light and pleasant drinks rule the day—or night. Whether you are having some work buddies over for happy hour or are making dinner for that special someone, it is good to have the recipes for a few spring cocktails up your sleeve. Drinks with fruity flavors that sit lightly on the stomach nod to to the sweetness of the warming weather, making them perfect for this time of year. A tangy Americano pairs nicely with fresh spring vegetables and grilled appetizers, while a sweet Cosmopolitan makes a quenching nightcap.
Summertime is made for entertaining, and there is no better way to flex your hosting muscles than to commit the recipes for some classic cocktails to memory. Maybe you want to shake up a few martinis in honor of Agent 007, or maybe your goal is to make enough margaritas to hydrate your whole party. Whatever the occasion is, summer cocktails impart refreshing flavors with bold attitudes. Their crisp tastes blast away humidity while invigorating the palate. Meanwhile, their key ingredients have just the right kick to get you in the mood for some fun in the sun.
Once September rolls around, the weather can go from chilly to sweltering and back all in the space of one day. This is a good time of year to mix up drinks with more complex flavors. An old fashioned sets contrasting bitter and sweet tastes against the rich backdrop of bourbon. After a day spent hunting or hiking, nothing beats an evening of mulling over your adventures while sipping some good drinks. And if you are watching the game at home with some friends, try tossing back a few whiskey sours instead of settling for yet another brew.
As the numbers on the thermometer drop and the cold begins to set in, it is time for drinks that warm you to the core. Winter is packed with occasions for toasting and well-wishing, so make sure you know how to stir up a few crowd pleasers like the champagne cocktail. Its bubbly base is the classic drink for celebrations, but the addition of cognac and bitters gives it something extra special. Be prepared to set the mood for smaller gatherings, too. A thick, bittersweet Sazerac is perfect for sipping quietly by the fireplace as snow drifts past your window.
Serve up Your Skills
If you do not know the first thing about mixing cocktails, you can look online for recipes and techniques. There will be some trial and error involved, but that is just part of the fun. You can always recruit your friends to be your taste testers—somehow, they never seem to mind that job. It will probably take a few different experimenting sessions, but it will not be long at all before you have reached expert bartender status. The ability to mix and serve a good cocktail is an important life skill, and it is one that you can acquire with a little bit of research and dedication. These guidelines are a good place to start, but soon you will develop your own instincts as to which cocktails work best in which situations. You can even branch out and develop your own signature specialties that make the perfect additions to whatever festivities you have planned. So grab a martini shaker, an ice bucket, and some quality spirits and get to work stirring up the best party in town.