By Jacob Rakovan, head bartender of The Daily Refresher, a craft cocktail bar in Rochester, NY.
As the cocktail revival roars into full swing, Craft distilleries spring up across the country, and cocktail nerds obsess about micrometers of bitters and archaic cordials, the faithful Jack and Coke of your college days can seem pedestrian, dusty, and frankly, boring. The days of day-glo Slurpy-machine Margaritas and sticky-sweet shooters are safely behind us.
While there is never anything wrong with a good whiskey served neat, in the interest of versatility, general suavity and a little novelty, everyone should know how to make a few classic, timeless cocktails. After all, you don’t need to juggle shakers and wax philosophic about the “aristocrats of the working class” in the manner of a certain gap-toothed Scientologist, just to be comfortable and confident behind the bar.
What you really need to be cocktail-savvy, is to understand the structure of these 10 basic drinks.