Everyone usually has the same, traditional New Year’s resolutions: losing weight, eating better, or traveling more. Those are definitely valid things to work on, but c’mon, they’re not very exciting. This year, spice things up a little! This can be the year you master mixology and become the go-to cocktail expert among your friends and family. And, to get you started, we’ve come up with three New Year’s resolutions for any cocktail lover.
1. Once a month, I will make a new cocktail. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut. But this year, challenge yourself to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. You don’t need to go crazy: if you like whiskey, there are hundreds of different brands out there, so try a new one! If you’re a vodka-lover, try a sweeter gin, like Hendrick’s. For cocktails, if you like Mojitos, try a Dark and Stormy. If you like Old Fashioneds, try a Sazerac. Or, if you like Moscow Mules, go for a French 75.
2. I will invest in quality tools and accessories to make my cocktails better. Are you guilty of stirring a cocktail with a kitchen spoon? Or using the same glass for every drink? What about straining with a colander? We love the creativity, but it’s time to get the right bar tools to take your cocktails to the next level. For the very basics, we recommend investing in a Rocks glass (6 for $18) for everything from an Old Fashioned, to a margarita, and Highball (12 for $25) for any drinks that aren’t shaken. As far as tools, go for a cocktail shaker ($8), Hawthorne strainer ($4) and bar spoon (2 for $5).
3. I will learn more about the history and origins of the ingredients I use. You know that an Old Fashioned calls for Angostura Bitters, but what are bitters and what do they add to a drink? What is the difference between Bourbon, Scotch and Whiskey? And, what really constitutes a “perfect cocktail?” This is the year to answer all your burning cocktail-related questions. You could research some cocktail classes in your area, or even easier, buy a book and teach yourself. Some of our favorites: “Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas” ($17), “Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail” ($22), and “The Bartender’s Bible: 1001 Mixed Drinks and Everything You Need to Know to Set Up Your Bar” ($7).