The idea of memorizing dozens of cocktails is daunting. Bartenders must be near geniuses, you might think, with those many, many recipes knocking around in their heads. But, like so many impressive talents such as close-up magic or being able to solve a Rubik's cube, there is a trick to it. And once you know it, you’ll be able to shake up cocktail after cocktail without a recipe book in sight.
It’s a simple formula: two parts spirit, one part sour, one half part sweet.
There you have it, the key to unlocking pretty much every sour cocktail out there.
Here’s what it actually means: To make essentially any simple cocktail that falls into the Sour category, pour two ounces of liquor into a shaker with one ounce of something sour (like lime or lemon juice) and a half-ounce of sweetener (like simple syrup or agave syrup). Shake with ice, strain into a glass (either with or without ice, depending on your preference) and there you have it—a perfect sweet-tart cocktail.
First, try out these tried-and-true combos: