What makes a great cocktail? When looking at the composition of a cocktail it often is a matter of finding a balance between flavours.
We have a number of basic tastes that we can identify. When it comes to cocktails I like to think of balances between Sweet, Sour, Salty, Smoky, Spicy, Savoury, and Bitter (6SB). While not all these flavours need to be incorporated into each cocktail, finding a harmony between two or more flavours results in a new level of depth that our palate savours.
At the most recent Tastemakers: Vol VIII event I hosted at Hello Goodbye Bar, I was fortunate to partner with Campari Canada to put together a workshop that covered the basic elements of bartending, the histories of some of the most iconic cocktails and most importantly, allowed new, novice and home bartenders participate in a hands-on workshop in which each attendee had the opportunity to make three different cocktails: The Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Boulevardier.
The best part about it was teaching them the historical proportions for the recipes but allowing them to be in the driver’s seats based on their taste preferences.
Each person used different amounts of the ingredients to create their own unique take on the cocktail.
Going back to the flavour pairing theory, the interesting thing about the three aforementioned cocktails is that they all possess similar flavour pairing elements: The balance between base spirit (whisk(e)y), sweetening agents and bittering agents.
Let’s break this down by recipe:
What’s your favourite classic cocktail and how do you like to make it? Let me know in the comments below!