MATTHEW KELLY / SUPERCALL

Entertaining
9 Cocktails You Should Learn After Mastering the Basics

By

You’ve mastered the Martini, conquered the Manhattan and quashed the Old Fashioned—congrats, you’ve completed level one of your cocktail training. But don’t go resting on your laurels because that’s just one small step on the long journey toward cocktail expertise. You may be able to pick up a shift at your local dive, but you wouldn’t last a second at a high-end cocktail bar. It’s time to move on to level two with these essential intermediate cocktails.

MATTHEW KELLY/SUPERCALL

The Black Manhattan is the essential educational cocktail. Based on one of the most famous drinks in the world—and likely the drink you learned to make first—this darker variation swaps sweet vermouth for the amaro of your choice, allowing you to experiment and dip your toes in the world of Italian bitter liqueurs. Begin, as we do, with approachable, floral Averna amaro, then move on to cola-spiked Ramazzotti, spice-forward Cardamaro or vegetal Cynar.

The Essentials

rye
Averna
bitters
MATTHEW KELLY/SUPERCALL

You may have boned up on your classics, but let’s not forget about lesser known, old school cocktails. Like a missing link between the Old Fashioned and Sours like the Sidecar, Gimlet and Daiquiri, the Crusta is a crucial drink in cocktail history, even if it isn’t ordered much these days. Not only will it give you experience working with brandy, but the original Crusta recipe also calls for an ornately thick sugared rim and delicate lemon peel, so it’ll improve your garnish game, too.

The Essentials

brandy
orange curaçao
lemon juice
MATTHEW KELLY/SUPERCALL

There’s nothing too challenging in the ingredients list of a Ramos Gin Fizz—except perhaps orange flower water, which you can pick up for cheap—but making one is a taxing rite of passage for every bartender in training. Famous for its exhausting dry shake, the fizz requires an extreme arm workout by shaking the liquid ingredients with egg white for up to 12 minutes before adding ice and shaking briefly to cool everything down. Trust us, the supremely fluffy cocktail is worth the effort.

The Essentials

London Dry Gin
Cream
Egg white
MATTHEW KELLY/SUPERCALL

After long nights working up a sweat behind the bar and taste-testing your way through classic cocktail anthologies, you might find yourself in need of a recovery drink the next morning. Skip the brunch Bloody and try a classic hangover cure from one of the best bars in the world, The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. Delicate, white wine-based Lillet Blanc and citrusy Cointreau will comfort your battered soul, while gin and lemon juice will revive your spirits. It even has a few dashes of eye-opening absinthe for good measure.

The Essentials

gin
Lillet blanc
Absinthe
MATTHEW KELLY/SUPERCALL

Part of the recent cocktail revolution, the Penicillin is considered a modern classic. Invented in 2005 by Sam Ross of Attaboy, the cocktail became standard fare around the world in just a decade. Now every bartender worth his or her salt can shake one blindfolded. The drink combines a strong base spirit with citrus, sweetener and a float of that same spirit—in this case, a base of blended scotch with a topper of peaty Islay scotch. Riff on that form, and you may just invent your own modern masterpiece.

The Essentials

ginger root
blended scotch
lemon juice
PATRICK SPEARS / SUPERCALL

If you want to feel like you’ve truly made it into the bartending club, develop a taste for fernet. Shots of the stuff are known as the bartender’s handshake, a ritual of sharing the intensely medicinal, menthol-forward amaro with a fellow drink maker. Instead of jumping straight into shots, take baby steps by first mixing fernet cocktails, like the Hanky Panky, to tame its intense flavor.

The Essentials

Gin
Sweet Vermouth
Fernet Branca
MATTHEW KELLY / SUPERCALL

Sherry may have recently become popular among Americans, but the renewed interest is just a second wind for an old spirit. The fortified wine has not only graced Spanish bar tops for centuries, but has long been the base for esoteric cocktail nerds around the globe. A German bartender invented the Bamboo at a Japanese hotel in the 1890s, which gives you some inkling of how worldly you’ll be if you learn to make it.

The Essentials

sherry
dry vermouth
angostura bitters
MATTHEW KELLY / SUPERCALL

You can shake and stir your way around the back bar, but it’s time to take off the training wheels and learn some more complicated mixing techniques. Swizzling is an easy way to mix all the ingredients of a tall drink while making it unbelievably frosty and refreshing. The classic Rum Swizzle also highlights the spiced almond syrup known as falernum, which is a key ingredient in many Caribbean cocktails.

The Essentials

Dark Rum
Lime Juice
Falernum
MATTHEW KELLY / SUPERCALL

Even if you’re a gin devotee or whiskey connoisseur, it’s worth testing the tiki waters because it might spark a newfound passion for rum drinks. Invented by Don the Beachcomber himself, the Cobra’s Fang is an uber-tiki-tail if there ever was one, built in a tall Hurricane glass with multiple rums, several fruit juices, falernum and absinthe. The crowning ingredient, though, is the obscure fassionola syrup. Whip up one of these, and you’ll impress even the most experienced bartender.

The Essentials

Rum
Falernum
Juices

Published on

More From Around The Web