You could say that these days there are two types of bartenders: the classic, whose main function is to pour shots and pull pints of beer, and the mixologist who creates and prepares cocktails that appeal to all the senses.
The mixologist is all about the skill, staying in touch with peers around the world and participating in competitions that attract more and more fans. As with the new generation of food artisans (butchers, bakers, chefs, etc.), these creative bartenders follow the precept of “Consume less, but consume only the best!”
From Cocktail Evolution to Revolution
The cocktail seems to have first appeared circa 1830 in New Orleans when French chemist Antoine Amédée Peychaud served up bitters, water, sugar and brandy-based medicines in egg cups (hence the name cocktail). It was not until the 1980s that the great wave now sweeping world capitals was born. At this time, major alcohol brands hit upon the idea of creating both spirits and consumer experiences tailored to a younger generation, one that considered gin, vodka and whiskey as drinks for their parents. The marketing genius of Absolut Vodka and Bombay Sapphire gin literally propelled this product category into the 21st century.
In the late 1980s, Dale DeGroff, nicknamed King Cocktail, reigned at New York’s Rainbow Room as the modernizer of cocktail culture by updating “vintage” cocktails. This phenomenon quickly gained momentum, emerging in the London, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo cocktail bars where people went for the atmosphere and the experience more than to quench the thirst. All major cities with a strong tourist trade now have creative and innovative bars, all interconnected by the powerful communication tools that are social networks.
The “Demococktailisation” of the World
Creating cocktails is no longer the preserve of bars and bartenders. It has been democratized by the flood of information on the web—videos, recipes, chat sites, etc.—and by easy and affordable access to all the necessary ingredients.
For tasteful fun at home and when entertaining, make sure to have on-hand some basic alcohols (vodka, gin, whiskey, rum and tequila), some flavoured alcohols (Orange-flavoured: Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau / Vermouths: Martini or Cinzano / Coffee-flavoured: Kahlua or Tia Maria / Almond-flavoured: Amaretto Disaronno / Cream: Bailey's Irish Cream). Then, mixers such as juices (orange, cranberry or pineapple), soft drinks and tonic waters, syrups (cane, fruit or created by bars) and fruits (lemons, limes, maraschino cherries and so on).
Now it’s up to you! You can improvise with any combination of ingredients you like, keeping in mind a 2-to-1 ratio (2 ounces of basic alcohol to 1 ounce of other alcohol). Equipping your home bar with a shaker is ideal, because it creates good oxygenation and, if you add milk or Bailey’s, produces a foam. Add any soft drinks only after you shake, though!
Five Timeless and Masculine Drinks
Origin: United States
Because this is the cocktail of James Bond ... and because it's good! It was invented after the Italian vermouth Martini began to be imported into the United States in the late 19th century.
Contents: a 2-to1 ratio of gin and dry white Italian vermouth, 1 lemon zest or 1 green olive ... and voila! The most famous cocktail in the world.
Origin : Cuba
The official drink of Cuba, the mojito traces its origin to the English explorer Francis Drake, who in 1580 during downtime while looting Havana liked to mix mint leaves crushed with industrial rum (cane liquor obtained by distillation of residues when processing brown sugar).
Contents: 10 mint leaves, 50 ml rum, ½ lime cut in pieces, 2 teaspoons of cane sugar or 20 ml sugar syrup, soda water and crushed ice.
3) Old Fashioned
Origin : United States
This drink was created by a bartender at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky circa 1880. He added sugar to a whiskey cocktail in honour of Colonel James E. Pepper, who passed on the recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. More recently, an old fashioned often could be seen in the hand of Don Draper in the Mad Men televised series.
Contents: 60 ml of whiskey (bourbon, whiskey), 1 sugar cube, 1 dash Angostura Bitters, 1 orange zest, 3 ice cubes, 2 maraschino cherries and sparkling water.
4) Gin & Tonic
Origin: India (by the British)
In 1750, tonic water (which contains quinine) was served in the British Navy to cure malaria during the conquest of India. Some sailors discovered that when they mixed in gin with tonic, the bitterness disappeared. Smart sailors!
Contents: 60 ml dry gin, 150 ml tonic water, ice cubes and lime or orange slices
Origin : Italy
Around 1920, a Count Negroni asked bartender Camillio Fosco Scareli of the Casoni Café in Florence to customize its classic Americano, a cocktail made with Campari, vermouth and sparkling water. So he replaced the soda with gin and named his invention in honour of the count.
Contents: 30 ml dry gin, 30 ml Campari (or other bitter-type alcohol), 30 ml red vermouth, ice cubes and a half-slice of orange.