How to Create Classic Cocktails at Home

This article is sponsored by Bottled in Bond Cocktail Parlour and Kitchen.

Whether you prefer whiskey on the rocks or in a sophisticated cocktail, most of us can agree that sipping on a tasty beverage at the bar is almost always better than drinking at home.

At speakeasy-style bars like Bottled in Bond, you'll enjoy your favorite libation in a unique, kid-free environment. At the same time, you get to watch the pro team of bartenders work their magic to craft delicious cocktails you won't find anywhere else.

Bottled in Bond's bartenders create consistently perfect drinks by following a few cocktail ‘best practices' when they're behind the bar. We caught up with the BIB crew to learn some of their favorite bartending tricks, so you can start, expand, or complete your home bar.

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Create a signature drink for dinner parties guests or a personalized nightcap in the comfort of your own home with these bartender-approved tips:

Choose Your Spirits Wisely

It's easy to get lost in the seemingly endless aisles of Specs or Total Wine looking for the “right” brand of whiskey, gin, tequila, etc. Many people tend to assume that more expensive is always better. Adam “Whiskers” Boyer of Bottled in Bond explains that it all depends on how your plan to use the spirit in your home bar.

When people make cocktails at home, they spend more money than they really have to for a good drink. People spend $50-$100 on a whiskey that tastes great by itself and doesn't need the addition of sugar or anything else you'd find in an Old Fashioned. When it comes to Old Fashioneds or any cocktails in general, I lean towards the more affordable whiskeys. Look for $20-$30 bottles of higher-proof, bonded whiskey if you don't plan on drinking it alone.

Adam Boyer, Bartender at Bottled in Bond

If you're planning to drink whiskey on the rocks or neat, you might want to invest in a high-end spirit. However, you'll get more bang for your buck with a cheaper, high-proof spirit that still makes a delicious, refreshing cocktail ingredient.

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Before your next trip to the liquor store, ask your favorite bartender which spirits they recommend for classic cocktails, straight-up spirits, and specialty drinks. Adam recommends JW Dant Bonded for Old Fashioned or other whiskey-based mixed drinks.

Follow the Rules…to an Extent

When cooking at home, it's essential to follow a recipe, right? Can you imagine making a brand new dish on the fly without a cookbook or Pinterest post to reference? Adam explains that you should look at cocktails the same way. He suggests adding at least one cocktail recipe book to your kitchen or home bar setup.

The ratios in your mixed drinks can make or break the final product. With a “home” pour,  you can lose the balance of flavor that you’ll get at a bar. Of course, there's always room for creativity and even a heavy-handed pour, especially when you're the one behind the bar.

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Lean towards your preferences, but be sure to keep the balance of flavors (sweet, sour bitter) by referencing a recipe and measuring as you pour to ensure tasty cocktails every time.

Use Bartending Tools

After a long day, it can be tempting to swirl together whiskey and soda in a plastic cup and call it a night. Just like the spirits and other ingredients in your mixed drinks, the way you combine those ingredients has a significant impact on how your cocktail turns out.

You don't need to gather a full arsenal of stirrers, strainers, and professional drinkware to drink at home, but there are a few essential tools Adam recommends buying before you attempt to make your own drinks:

  • Shaker – Bonus points for a Boston shaker! We promise this works better than stirring with a spoon or merely pouring everything into your cocktail glass. 
  • Measuring cup – This is key for following your recipe. You can also buy a jigger, but a standard kitchen measuring cup covers all the bases on its own.
  • Wire mesh strainer – Most shakers have a strainer top, but a wire mesh strainer is even finer and perfect for catching leftover ice shards or citrus pith during the final pour. 

Bring Your Favorites Home

The last tip on this list is the simplest and maybe the tastiest of all. Thanks to Bottled in Bond, novice bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike can enjoy their favorite libations at home without lifting a finger.

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Make your next Happy Hour or date night extra special with a pair of Old Fashioneds. Pick up 2 for $15 mini bottles or a larger 750mL bottle to share with friends. Each Old Fashioned is expertly crafted and bottled in signature BIB packaging for easy transport and consumption at home.

Pair your drinks with a tasty Date Night Meal to-go! Date Night selections change periodically, but they always include an appetizer and two entrees to share with your special someone.

Bottled in Bond food pairing

Be on the lookout for Bottled in Bond's next portable cocktail innovation: Bespoke Kits. These kits let you recreate custom Bottled in Bond drinks anywhere, anytime. Each recipe kit will run for one month each and feature seasonal, fresh mixers along with a bartender-favorite spirit, all of which you can mix (in your new shaker!) and pour into your favorite glassware.

Visit Bottled in Bond Cocktail Parlour and Kitchen for a drink at the bar, delicious meal, or to-go treats to enjoy at home. We recommend beating the heat with their Whiskey Daisy, a sweet, light, summer drink with a warm kick at the end.

Related Reads:

How to Choose the Right Whiskey for You

4 Fantastic Cocktail Pairings for Your Next Night Out

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