Saturday, April 10th, 2021
8-9:30 PM CDT
Matt Regan, Instructor
Summer beckons. While one can never fully be prepared for the heat of an Austin summer, there are some cocktails and cocktail techniques we can add to our repertoire in an effort to lessen the blow. Citrus, herbs, bubbles, bitter and ice (lots of ice) will be the tools of our trade as we explore Classic Cocktails 302: Beat the Heat.
As always, we will review foundational cocktail concepts, cementing return students as bonafide veterans and establishing new students as star rookies. So whether you have made every class in our series, or are joining us for the first time, this class is for you.
What You Will Learn
- Equipment – The eight must have tools (or solid substitutes) you need to have on hand
- Spirits – What to keep in stock, and how to store it
- Accoutrement – The necessary ingredients needed to compliment the star of the show
- Technique – It takes more than just talent (aka spirits) to assemble the perfect drink
A summer drink should be refreshing. It should be cold. It should be light, and maybe even long. It should allow for more than one round. Our “Beat the Heat” menu touches on all these must-haves, while using several different base spirits in an effort to find the right drink for every palette.
- Aperol Spritz – bubbly, slightly bitter and very low in total ABV, it does not get much easier than this when you need a round of refreshing drinks on a hot day.
- Mojito – mint is magical on a summer day, and this drink will prove it.
- Paloma – grapefruit juice is a twofer here, providing the heat-beating one-two punch of citrus and bitter.
- Part Time Lover – not technically a classic, but blending citrus, bitter and sweet makes this an instant favorite for summer in Texas, and a nice alternative to a margarita when you have a hankering for a tequila drink.
- Ramos Gin Fizz – mentioned in just about every class in our series as one of my all time favorites, it is finally time to bring this gem into the light. If it is refreshing enough for summer in New Orleans, it can get the job done in Austin.
What to Bring to Class
If you have been looking for an excuse to outfit a home bar, like gadgets, or simply believe in the old adage “you should always have the right tool for the job,” then get your hands on this equipment prior to class (Amazon smile links provided, so you can double down on your gift to PFLASA, but the retailer of your choice will do!):
- Bar spoon – A bar spoon is long and balanced, with a spiral pattern along its stem that makes stirring easier
- Mini measuring cup / Jigger – there is no “eyeballing it” in craft cocktails
- Hawthorne strainer – Pour the cocktail, leave the mixing ice
- Mixing glass – Do not tell James Bond I said this, but many cocktails are better stirred than shaken
- Shaker – Do not fear the Boston (two piece) shaker, it is far superior to the frustrating 3-Piece shaker
- Ice mold – We like our cocktails cold, but we do not like them watered down
- Vegetable peeler – good news, you probably already have this on hand!
- Citrus Juicer – a little fresh squeezed citrus juice goes a long way in making a great cocktail. Something like this, or a simple reemer will get the job done.
- Muddler – OPTIONAL, helps extract extra flavor from fruits and herbs
If you are not yet ready to commit to purchasing equipment, feel free to substitute any of the above with some of these suggestions that you may be able to find around the house:
- Bar spoon – a regular spoon, a butter knife, your finger?
- Measuring cup / Jigger – kitchen measuring cups and spoons, medicine cup (yes, I went there, call it a metaphor)
- Hawthorne Strainer – mesh strainer, mini colander, plastic lid
- Mixing glass – Yeti tumbler, 3-Piece shaker, mason jar, large cup, pint glass
- Shaker – Yeti tumbler (with lid), 3-Piece shaker, mason jar (with lid), Nalgene (large mouth water bottle)
- Ice mold – small bowls, shot glasses, cupcake tin, aluminum foil molds (I will be honest, most of these ideas are a reach, but feel free to get creative)
- Vegetable peeler – paring knife (seriously, you don’t have a vegetable peeler? Please just get a vegetable peeler!)
- Citrus Juicer – your hands, literally. Just squeeze that lemon over a bowl
- Muddler – pestle (wooden only, not stone, you do not want to break your glass), long wooden spoon, metal straw
It is going to take some alcohol to make cocktails! Depending on what you want to be prepared to make the night of the class and/or where your spirit preferences lie, have a few of the following on hand (no need to get them all!).
- Amaro (Aperol Spritz, Part Time Lover) – this Italian (traditionally) bitter alcohol provides great balance to a number of drinks, and is literally the namesake ingredient in an Aperol Spritz. Go with Aperol this time around, as it has the right balance of bitterness for our menu, and a low ABV.
- Prosecco – Italian sparking wine, although you can use Spanish Cava, French Cremant or American bubbles as well. Just go with something dry and inexpensive. Pro tip: unless you are planning to make 8 or so Aperol Spritzes, consider Whole Foods’ 4 pack of Presto Prosecco cans, each is the perfect amount for two drinks, so you do not waste a bottle!
- Rum (mojito) – get in your time machine and go back to Classic Cocktails 101, it is time to break the white rum out of the cabinet. For this class you can keep it super simple with a white rum (Flor de Cana, Plantation, El Dorado).
- Tequila (Paloma, Part Time Lover) – as previously mentioned, there is no shortage of choices with Tequila. For this class, I recommend a blanco/silver, which will be light and pair well with our citrus, but go with what you have on hand or know you like.
- Elderflower Liqueur (Part Time Lover) – most notably St. Germain, elderflower liqueur is sweet, with notes of tropical fruits and honeysuckle. It is a popular liqueur to add sweetness and softness to cocktails.
- Angostura Bitters (Part Time Lover) – the classic implementation of cocktail bitters. This is not optional. Get a bottle, for this class, for all your drinks.
- Gin (Ramos Gin Fizz) – stick with a classic London dry gin when stocking your bar, then branch out into other varieties as you want to explore the genre. Brokers is a great London dry gin to start out with if you need a recommendation.
Be sure to have the following handy as well to round out your ingredient list:
- Rich Simple Syrup – a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Make ahead of time by heating sugar and water over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool, then refrigerate.
- Limes (at least 4 or 5)
- Lemons (2 or 3)
- Oranges (at least 1)
- Grapefruits (at least 2)
- Club soda
- Fresh mint sprigs (get a bunch)
- Agave Nectar (optional, can use simple syrup)
- Orange flower water (difficult to find, do not fret if you cannot get your hands on any)
- Eggs (1 or 2)
- Heavy cream (8 oz container is plenty)
- Coarse salt (kosher)
- Ice (including crushed ice, if you have access)