Breaking the ice: a beginner’s guide

“Two ingredients. Nothing more. A classic cocktail referred to in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, this cocktail not only makes you look awesome, but also hides a delightful complexity of flavour”

The world of the artisanal cocktail can be perceived as an intimidating one. But through this brief lecture (and it is a lecture), MICHAEL PRESLEY SHARPE hopes to break down a few barriers, and gently stir the fine art of mixing drinks into something more palatable 

Flowery intro paragraphs aside, my goal is to show that cocktails can be easily enjoyed by everyone. With the right tools, and a few pointers from somebody with practical knowledge and a breadth of bartending experience, you’ll all be picking up ice cubes from the kitchen floor in no time.

One of my favourite tenets from the world of cocktail bartending reads thus: ‘complexity through simplicity’. It’s one held by those of us who enjoy fine balances of flavour subtleties in their drinks. (Sure, I could hurl fruit into a blender with gin and hit mix, but it would only deliver cheap thrills to cover up a dreary libation.)


With that in mind, we will be briefly looking at the Gimlet. Two ingredients. Nothing more. A classic cocktail referred to in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, this cocktail not only makes you look awesome, but also hides a delightful complexity of flavour. 

While an extremely basic cocktail, it would behove any aspiring mixologist intending to make it to be in possession of a cocktail shaker (any style; more on that in the future), and some cocktail measures, or ‘jiggers’. I know from experience that these items can be picked up from most supermarkets, or similar. (Alternatively, if you don’t mind making enemies, you can slip them into your purse the next time a careless mixologist leaves them on the bar.)

The end result is super basic, but super delicious. The dry gin is utterly balanced, and offset by the light, citrus notes of the cordial; it’s a crisp, light, zesty alternative to a Martini that serves as the perfect pre- dinner, or aperitif, cocktail. But don’t let that stop you from drinking it after dinner, or with lunch, or, you know, whenever.

Ingredients

60ml London Dry Gin
40ml Rose’s Lime Cordial (must be Rose’s)
cubed ice

Method

– Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, and fill the ice to about 3⁄4 of
the shaker.


– Connect the top piece, and shake it like you hate it.

– Then, using a tea strainer (or a sieve), pour the mix into a cocktail glass and enjoy.

 

Michael Presley Sharpe mixes drinks at The Doghouse, Bristol and blogs at writinliquor.wordpress.com. He also enjoys autumn walks, country music and legal highs; thedoghouse.bar