In the Spirit of Things

July 6, 2009

How now,

Isn’t it strange how certain places, moments, drinks, and spirits seem to somehow impart in you a certain emotion or mood?

I quite like it.

Example, the classic sambuca “last time I did that I…” response. Or tequila (silly people).

However, if you head beneath the surface of it all you find certain drinks attached to very defining emotions. It’s quite interesting.

Here’s a few off the top of my head. The base spirit and my instinctive mood-based and classic drink derived from it.

(Nothing essentially innovative here, a few variants, but a collection of classic mood drinks no bartender should be unaware of.)


French Martini (Bluu variant)

37.5ml Berry (infused preferably) Vodka
12.5ml Chambord (or other suitable liquor)
50ml Pineapple Juice
7.5ml Fresh Lime Juice
Dash Runny Honey
2 Dash Orange Bitters

Shake all, excluding lime husks, and fine strain into a frozen martini glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf scewered to three summer fruits.

Notes. The pineapple’s resultant foam (from shaking) starts the drink with a silky smooth beginning, continuing swiftly into the sweet notes of the Chambord binding with the honey’s clinging sweetness. The lime and bitters are present throughout adding a slight bitter note to the drinks texture. Ends on a long-lasting pineapple-based tartness.

Most certainly a definitive modern day vodka-based classic. Summarises the rich and berry-based sweetness many bar-goers believe to be defining in the nature of the cocktail. Nothing overtly exciting, but as one slightly less-than-courteous customer once pointed out it is a drink, if ever there was one, that can give a date a romantic ending“. Almost complete blanking of the alcohol taste leads to a deceptively morish concoction.

Hits the nail on the head with regards what vodka is associated with these days. Masked alcohol burn, excessive intake, slightly tacky, and for some reason, ever so slightly upmarket.

Summarised history can be found here, or in fact in thousands of other places. Google it my dears.


Tom Collins

60ml Gin
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
10ml Gomme
Top with Soda

Shake and single strain into a chilled collins glass filled with crushed ice. Top with dash of soda. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Notes. The definitive gin cocktail. Gin’s underlying burn is masked by the lemon and gomme, whilst still imparting its herbal and floral undertones to the drink. Nothing offensive to be found here. A perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Almost impossible to go wrong with. The basis of countless variations, a perfect build to combine with any additional flavours. A personal favourite of late is the addition of kwai feh and orange bitters resulting in a beautifully refreshing tall drink.

For me the basic Tom Collins is as defining to gin as the botanicals themselves. A social, yet classy, drink if ever there was one. Goes down quickly and leaves a clean pallete. Summarises gin’s history of seedy speak easys, aristocratic narcissism, and deceptive alcohol content into a single drink. Simple, refreshing, and dangerous.

The (lengthy and disputed) history can be read about here and here.

Rum (Rhum)


60ml Rum (Personally I prefer lightly spiced varieties such as the Angostura range)
15-20ml Fresh Lime Juice (to taste)
15-25ml Gomme (to taste)

Shake hard and double strain into a frozen daiquiri glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Notes. A well made daiquiri (an unfortunate rarity of late) is a beautifuly balanced drink. Sour notes cling to the tongue along with the dark sweetness of the rum throughout. The addition of the gomme is practically unnoticeable but helps to produce a far smoother texture. End on a spicey note added by the rum.

A true all-time favourite for many an alcohol lover. Rum’s inherent nature of unrefined, heated, and seedy fun is represented throughout. Fun, fun, and more fun.

History can be found here.



37.5ml Silver Tequila
12.5ml Cointreau (Grand Marnier for a smoother finish)
12.5ml Lime Juice
Dash Gomme

Shake all extremely hard and double strain into a half salt-rimmed, frozen margarita glass.

Notes. The tequila’s fiesty taste is present from the first salt-infused sip until the end. The triple sec and lime help balance the drink without overtaking its simple and fearsome taste.

A party drink through-and-through. Not subtle or even attempting to be. Of late, unfortunately along with many tequilas, has been affected by a certain large corporation‘s branding as being a quite tacky and tasteless drink to order. Nothing wrong about this drink though. Hits the spot and keeps on going.

History can be found here.


Old Fashioned






Im not going to even to attempt to do this drink a disservice by summarising it in a few words. An article on it will follow shortly.

Watch this space.

To work I go…


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