If you are going to start drinking cocktails, my advice is to begin with a classic. Classic cocktails are the foundation of all the new creations that bartenders/mixologist are now serving across the country. Without the classics, there would be no new cocktails. (Remember, you have to start with simple math before you can move on to differential equations -- and sometimes, 2+2 is just what you need.) I also use classic cocktails as a measuring stick to decide if I'd like to order a bartender's original cocktails. If a bartender has a solid grasp of the basics, I feel more comfortable consuming a more creative concoction.
To help get Denver drinking, I asked ten of my favorite bartenders what classic cocktails they love to serve. Keep reading for the results.
See also: - Barman Sean Kenyon's response to Jenn Wohletz's cocktail grievances - Ask the Bartender Archives -- musing from one of Denver's most reputable barmen - Reader: Go ahead and slam daiquiris, but leave old-fashioneds aloneMike Henderson Root Down and Linger
Cocktail: The Old-Old-Fashioned
Why he loves it: I'm from Wisconsin, so one of the first "real" drinks I learned to make when I became a bartender was a Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet. Granted, now I prefer to make my Old-Fashioned the old way, with just whiskey, sugar and bitters But that drink has always been close to my heart. I love its simplicity, and making a proper Old-Fashioned for a guest for the first time is a joyous occasion.
The Old-Old-Fashioned 2oz WL Weller 3 dashes Angostura bitters 1 raw sugar cube Splash soda Muddled, stirred and served over block ice in a double Old-Fashioned glass with a cheery flag.Nick Touch Squeaky Bean
Cocktail: The Daiquiri Why he loves it: I love this classic because of its simplicity, and when made properly, it's quite delicious. It is also a great base to expand on for the "just make me something" call from a guest. I enjoy introducing it to my guests because nine out of ten of them hear the word daiquiri, and instantly picture the overly sweetened, blended, umbrella-decorated, Chili's version. It's always fun to see their reaction to a well-made, classic daiquiri.
Classic Daiquiri 1.5 oz Banks 5 Island rum .75 oz fresh lime juice .75oz 1:1 simple syrup Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass, lime wheel garnish.
Continue reading for more cocktail recipes.