Booze and its effects have been present in our lives since the dawn of humanity. As Wikipedia knows, “drinking is documented in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, in the Qur’an, in art history, in Greek and Roman literature as old as Homer, and in Confucius’s Analects”.
To keep this venerable tradition alive, I’d like to become a beer brewer at some point. Unfortunately, for my current lifestyle this entails owning too much stuff. I’m lucky to have a hobby-brewing friend in Cologne who has let me assist him a few times; but as far as beer goes, I’m afraid that more won’t be possible for now.
Despite this setback, I decided to make what hipsters call “mixology” my third moderate proposal for 2014: Even when you’re not brewing or distilling your own booze, trying out and improving existing recipes can be fun.1 Thanks to spending a few years in the Caribbean, I’m quite happy with the state of my Cuba Libre and Mojito skills. Now, back in Germany, there are new drinks to master.
How to invent a new drink
A bartender and booze blogger puts it this way:
The key to creating new cocktails involves knowing your product and your market, i.e., drink a lot and talk to people.
Simple enough: I like to drink and, for starters, I’ll be my market.
But in a world of abundance, where shall I begin (without risking a cirrhosis)?
Ideally, I’d like to experiment with a local drink (that doesn’t require any fancy tools or hard-to-get ingredients). Thankfully, bartenders on my island prepare a simple variant of the famous Manhattan cocktail.2 The island Manhattan is quite sweet and pretty straight-forward to make: All you do is mix 2 parts of vermouth, 1 part of whiskey, and a maraschino cherry.
This could serve as a stepping stone. The booze blogger continues:
[Like] mastering any skill, begin with a bit of research, expect to fail a few times, learn from those failures, experiment and practice. Luckily, when it comes to inventing cocktails you still get to drink your mistakes.
This is basically applied dilettantism. It shall be fun to investigate this matter further!
Most certainly, I’ll try to replace the whiskey (that’s being used as a basic liquor in both the classic and the island Manhattan) with rum. Opposed to island habits, I’ll also try using bitters or at least a drier vermouth, in order to get a drink that’s less sweet. I also believe that adding something bubbly (Sparkling water? German Sekt?) could help to make it more of a summer drink, but that could just be a rookie mistake.
We shall see. If things go fine, a whole new drink might be the result of a summer of experimentation. For the benefit of science and mankind, onwards!