Classic cocktails, recipes and techniques appeal differently to different people. Additionally, there is such a range in experiences, from those totally new to the world of mixology to seasoned pros who work in amazing pre-prohibition style cocktail bars.
My hope is for The Straight Up to be as much for folks more experienced, looking for something off the beaten path as for those new to cocktails. In a sense, to have something for everyone, educating new folks about classic drinks, spirits, techniques, etc, as well as providing some recipe, which whether classic or new, would appeal to those looking for something a bit different. The last thing I want to do is to turn off readers who are just getting into cocktails by the complexity and shopping trip required to make a drink like The Bittersweet Garden or Eeyore’s Requiem.
That being said, and somewhat to my surprise, the two most popular recipes posted on The Straight Up have been those exact cocktails, both of which contain ingredients that the average drinker probably has never heard of before. Things like Fernet-Branca, Cynar, Green Chartreuse, etc.
This surprising popularity of the more unique ingredients is likely in part due to the ubiquitous nature of many classic recipes, which can be found almost anywhere (although at The Straight Up, tasting notes, histories and variations are typically included); however, this observation also highlights that despite most of the people I know, there are many other folks, who like myself, enjoy ingredients and combinations slightly outside the realm of the typical.
Wondering what the heck this is? You’re not alone.
Contrast this with those who are just learning about classic drinks like the Martini or Manhattan. Running into cocktails with ingredients they have never heard of, like Cynar, can be somewhat overwhelming. For this reason, and in order to eventually become a more complete resource, these ingredients, their history and a few drinks you can make with them are making their way to The Straight Up. The hope being that these write ups will be of use to help those unfamiliar with a particular ingredient to get a feel for what that ingredient is all about. They will also provide some history and other knowledge to appeal to those who have tried them before. This same ideology holds true for other aspects of the site.
The KEY for anyone getting started is to know that like most things, it takes TIME to learn mixology. Do not to be intimidated by ingredients that you’ve never heard of, but rather be excited to try something new.
I am constantly learning new things, whether through my own experience, reading or simply observing others. Not long ago, I was completely new to the world of cocktails (and still have much to learn). That being said, it really is easy to get started with a few recipes and build from there using ingredients you already have, slowly expanding your collection and repertoire.
There are plenty of recipes on The Straight Up that do not require a lot of ingredients to make and are more approachable to those with just a few items at home or new to cocktails all together. However, without perusing them one by one, it can be difficult to figure out which those are.
In coming articles, we will be highlighting some of these recipes and showing how simple it can be to make great cocktails, without going crazy hunting for strange bitters or spending a fortune at the liquor store. . . . . . not that there is anything wrong with that.