It is so satisfying to cook a dish you have learned by heart. A little know-how saves time, reduces stress, and frees you to be more creative. Whether you love to cook or just need to solve the dinner problem, this repertoire of how-tos gives you confidence to add personal style and hopefully makes life more tasty.
There are so many ways to prepare the same dish. These are recipes(Opens in a new window) for dishes and drinks you’ll make again and again, pared down to the essential ingredients and steps. They include tips to take out guesswork, choose the best tools, answer the most common questions we hear, and amp up the qualities that make us love each food in this series: to make crispier, faster chicken; creamier, tastier beans; fearless squash, more pro-looking layer cake; cocktails you can memorize; and eggs, precisely how you like them, every time.
Let’s get cooking.
At some point, you will find yourself in a situation that requires a cocktail. This scenario crosses demographics. These recipes eliminate the conversation-killing act of looking it up on your phone.
Memorizing at least three cocktail recipes, these or another set of favorites, and having the ingredients on hand to make one, instantly boosts your status as an adult.
Cocktails are not difficult nor mysterious. Their formulas are so pared down that they’re a good canvas for experimenting with different brands and idea twists.
Special tools(Opens in a new window) are not technically crucial but they’re stylistically important. The sound of ice clinking in a shaker(Opens in a new window) or clunking in a glass, the glint on a stirrer(Opens in a new window), the way you turn a shimmery jiggerful(Opens in a new window) of liquid into the cup, are all part of the cocktail experience. If you are making a cocktail, you might as well have the right tools — ones you like that feel good and look swanky.
Here are several tips for making good ones:
Ice is an ingredient
Small ice(Opens in a new window) dilutes your drink and gets it cold more quickly. Big ice(Opens in a new window) sticks around for longer without watering down your drink. I like smaller ice in a shaker and bigger ice in a glass. You can use a large cube mold or make a big cube in a container and break it yourself.
All of the Cherries are Invited
Bright red maraschino cherries are adorable like cocktail candy. Fresh cherries provide some sustenance but no sweetness. Dark, dense, fancy maraschino cherries may be expensive, but worthwhile, since a single jar upgrades a few dozen drinks.
Use a muddler
Usually, drinks that contain juices or eggs are shaken(Opens in a new window) to emulsify them (really mixing things together). Shaking with ice nicely chills drinks, makes them thicker and more cloudy.
The shape and size of a cocktail glass accentuates the drink itself. You can absolutely drink a Tom Collins from a dad mug, or an old-fashioned from a juice glass, but they will definitely taste different.