Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Entertaining
7 Cocktails to Drink While Cooking Dinner

By

When you have dinner heating up on the stove and you’re tired out from all the prep work, the go-to move is to crack open a bottle of red wine to enjoy while waiting for the meal to cook. But sticking only to wine deprives you of the wide world of excellent, pre-dinner cocktails that will satisfy while whetting your appetite for what’s to come. From low-proof Highballs to easy-to-mix twists on the Martini, here are seven cocktails to make (and drink) while you’re waiting for dinner.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

The Negroni’s less intense older sister, the Americano is the perfect pre-dinner aperitif. This drink nixes the Negroni’s gin base in favor of equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth. The low-ABV mix gets garnished with club soda and an orange twist, for a bittersweet, bubbly refreshment that won’t overpower your tastebuds.

The Essentials

Campari
Sweet Vermouth
Club Soda
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

The Aperol Spritz is a delightful aperitivo, but if you’re cooking solo on a weeknight, you don’t want to pop open an entire bottle of Prosecco. Instead, you can make this spritzy twist that calls for an effervescent mixer you’re sure to already have in your fridge: La Croix. Mezcal, Aperol and St-Germain mix with grapefruit and lime juice, and get topped with La Croix Pamplemousse (that’s fancy talk for grapefruit seltzer). It’s fresh, fruity and floral, and sure to get your belly rumbling.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Aperol
La Croix Pamplemousse
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

There’s a Whiskey & Soda, and then there’s a Japanese Highball. Yes, the two call for the exact same ingredients (though the latter specifies Japanese whisky, obviously), but there’s a world of a difference in taste and technique. Break out the Japanese whisky, club soda and a barspoon. Then take the time to follow the Japanese method for mixing Highballs very precisely: stir one large ice cube until frost appears on the glass, then add whiskey and another cube, and stir 13 times clockwise, then add one last ice cube, top with soda, and stir exactly 3 times more. Your efforts will create the best whisky Highball you’ve ever tasted, just in time for mealtime.

The Essentials

Japanese Whiskey
Soda Water
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

If you’d prefer something a little stiffer to get you revved up for dinner, opt for the Vesper. Slightly easier drinking than the regular Gin or Vodka Martini, this cocktail (a favorite of James Bond) uses a split base of both clear spirits, along with a splash of Cocchi Americano. The vodka lessens the gin’s junipery bite, and the fortified wine adds a nice, velvety mouthfeel and a lightly floral, bitter aftertaste.

The Essentials

Gin
Vodka
Cocchi Americano
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Straight scotch may be a bit much on the tummy before dinner, but it works wonders in this lighter aperitif. A lovely pairing for a hearty winter meal, this cocktail blends scotch with Campari, apple cider, honey and lemon juice. You’ll get smoke, sour, bitter, sweet and tart—basically everything you could want to warm up your palate before a big meal.

The Essentials

scotch
Campari
apple cider
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Take a page from Queen Elizabeth II’s book by adopting her preferred pre-dinner (and just about every other time of day) drink: the Dubonnet Cocktail. This riff on the Martini uses the fortified wine Dubonnet Rouge instead of vermouth, which lends the cocktail an herbaceous, spicy, and slightly fruity backbone. As dinner simmers away, kick back and enjoy it like the queen you are.

The Essentials

gin
Dubonnet Rouge
bitters
Matthew Kelly/Supercall

If the height of your cooking prowess involves sprinkling artificial cheese powder over boiled macaroni, then you need a cocktail that’s equally simple to make—but no less delicious. This unconventional Highball mixes celery soda with the French aperitif Salers Gentiane. Their marriage is crisp, vegetal, herbaceous and bittersweet. It’s the perfect drink to feel as proud of your mixology skills as your bone app the teeth cooking skills.

The Essentials

Salers
Celery Soda
Cubed ice

Published on

More From Around The Web