Great Cocktails and the Stories They Tell
Through a collection of 48 original and adapted cocktail recipes, along with engaging bar anecdotes and practical guides, Confinement Cocktails immerses readers in a world of exploration and sensory delights. As the first cocktail book to be published in Luxembourg, the idea was born during the extended periods of lockdown in 2020. However, its content draws from the authors’ extensive experiences gathered over many years of global bar-hopping, from Shanghai to Chicago, from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, with a special appreciation for Luxembourg’s own bar scene. This book equips readers with the essential knowledge and skills to craft delicious cocktails and unleash their own creativity in mixology.
Memorising Cocktail Recipes
How can you memorise hundreds of cocktail recipes?
You might do so if you are a professional bartender mixing dozens of cocktails per day. But all by yourself, at home?
It is indeed quite complicated and requires analysis and structure, more than plain learning by heart. Eric Alperin, owner of the LA bar Varnish, says that his staff needs to be in control of a list of about 110 cocktails. Differences between one drink and another might be tiny, like instead of one dash of Angostura, go for 2 dashes of Orange Bitters. Imagine memorising not only all the façades of the buildings in your street, but also if the windows open to the left or to the right. You must start by identifying buildings before you can concentrate on the windows or you will get lost in detail.
Same with cocktails: start by understanding cocktail families or styles before moving to specific cocktails and their individual variations. Assimilating these categories will help you get a feel for what to expect in a cocktail. Will there be citrus or Vermouth, will it be boozy or long, shaken or stirred in a glass? Most popular cocktails follow broad template guidelines, like 2:1:1 (Alcohol:Citrus:Sugar) for a Sour cocktail. If you remember the blueprint for a Whiskey Sour, you will know how to do a Pisco Sour or a Margarita.
Most drinks follow a basic template which is characterised by the ratio “alcohol vs. modifiers”. A 100 ml “Whiskey Sour” often follows the 1:1 “alcohol vs. modifiers” template: 50 ml Whiskey, 25 ml Lemon, 25 ml Sugar (Simple Syrup). You may remember this drink by the formula 50/25/25. If you use a 25 ml measuring glass (jigger), you might also memorise it in terms of parts or shots: 2/1/1. By the way, using more modifiers reduces the average amount of alcohol in your final drink.
If you know the template for a “Last Word” and you want to mix a “Paper Plane”, remembering it uses the same template, you will only need to remember the ingredients of the second drink. Here are a couple of (simplified) cocktail templates.