I am not a professional bartender; nor am I a professional drinker, though if the job existed I would certainly apply. I will also state up front that I am not a drunk. I have been drunk, but it is not a habit with me so it’s not the same thing. Besides, the hangovers are just not worth it. For me, at least, cocktails are not drinks with which to get drunk. I enjoy them too much for that. It is also too damn expensive. I feel the same way about scotch and cognac. Champagne, on the other hand, is very hard to drink without getting a bit too tipsy. It has something to do with the bubbles, they say. Also, an open bottle of wine begs to be drunk; it almost pours itself into the glass. Wine is a brazen hussy.
There is a cocktail revolution or, more accurately, a cocktail renaissance going on in this country that is to everyone’s benefit. People are rediscovering the roots of American cocktails. Many of the original bartending manuals are being reprinted or are available online including the first known bartending book to be published, How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion by Jerry Thomas printed in 1862. You will notice that I gravitate to cocktails created during Prohibition or before. I find the act of being able to drink a little history intriguing, and I find the whole period from the American Civil War through the early 1930s captivating.
I will sometimes list what specific brands of liquors and liqueurs I use in the recipes, but I will generally leave it to you to experiment and try your favorite brands.
By all means, have a drink!
But please drink responsibly.