I learned a few things going through these first few recipes in the PDT Cocktail Book:
1. I really don’t own any cocktail making equipment – as evident by the fact that I used a mason jar as my martini shaker. Hey, it worked.
2. A proper cocktail may have a few steps and ingredients, making it more complicated than opening a bottle of wine. But it can be well worth the effort.
3. As I learn and re-learn with each book I ‘cook’ through: Read the frigging recipe start to finish BEFORE you go shopping. Damn. Would have saved me two trips back to the store for mix. Sigh…
The first recipe I made for my brave taste tester and myself was the Daiquiri, page 103. A mix of rum, lime juice and simple syrup. Not your typical blender drink with strawberries, and dare I say, much much better. The perfect blend of sweet and bitter – this was a wonderful start to the night. It helps that I absolutely love the taste of rum – just takes me back to pretty much any tropical vacation I’ve ever taken. Fantastic.
Next up was the Manhattan, page 171. I didn’t have brandied cherries (and sure as hell wasn’t going back to the store a third time), so I made do with nectarines. I realize these have nothing what-so-ever to do with brandied cherries, but a sweet fruity garnish was exactly what this whiskey based drink needed. It’s pretty, kind of grown up and has a real kick. Very tasty.
Third was the Martini, page 173. I realized I’m not really a fan. While I enjoy gin and olives - this was just a little strong for me. I’m also not a fan of how the olives changed their flavour after even such a short time in the alcohol. I also realized that I don’t own skewers or toothpicks – luckily a meat thermomater and a chopstick can substitute nicely even if it isn’t pretty.
Finally, it came time to make and sample the Tom Collins, page 252. Gin and Lemon with simple syrup and club soda. So refreshing and went down so smooth. Perhaps too easily, but I’m not complaining.
The instructions are so easy to follow (provided you actually read them), the illustrations are playful and fun and the recipes are bang on. Let’s keep going!
Bee’s Knees, page 59
Gimlet, page 131
Mint Julep, page 181