It’s an increasingly complicated world we live in. It seems that everything we do now has to have a hundred moving pieces and parts all jumbled together in order to produce a result. This mindset even applies to mixed drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I love the speakeasy-style cocktail lounge that has become trendy recently. The kind of place where it takes fifteen minutes to make a cocktail because the bartender is using a handheld blowtorch to char the locally-sourced cherries for your Manhattan. The bartenders and mixologists that create those drinks really are artists.
But let’s be honest. Most of us are not going to spend that kind of time or money on cocktails at home, especially not if we are having a party and need to serve a crowd. I have compiled a list of three simple cocktails that contain no more than three ingredients and take no more than three minutes to make and serve. These are crowd-pleasers that don’t require any special skill or equipment. Once you’ve mastered these three originals, you can create an endless number of variations, adding ingredients and changing techniques as you see fit.
Classic Gin and Tonic:
This is one of my all-time favorites. Fresh, herbaceous and not too sweet, you get a lot of flavor from just a few ingredients. Simply stir one part gin, two parts tonic water and a splash of lime juice in a glass over ice. Garnish with another slice of lime. If you don’t have limes on hand, lemons will work just as well.
Variation: In the summer, when they are at their best, muddle some fresh blackberries with the lime (or lemon) in the bottom of the glass. The sweet berries pair beautifully with the juniper taste of the gin.
For a sweet tropical treat, try a tequila sunrise at your next beach party or taco night. It’s a classic that can even be served at brunch alongside huevos rancheros! Pour a dash of grenadine in the bottom of a tumbler filled with ice. Top with one part tequila and two parts orange juice. The grenadine will stay settled at the bottom of the glass and blend with the orange juice to produce the sunrise effect. Garnish with a cherry or thinly sliced orange wheel.
Variation: If grenadine is too sweet for your taste, try using cranberry or pomegranate juice in its place. The sunrise effect will be lessened a bit but it will still taste delicious!
For all you whiskey drinkers out there, try a mint julep to cool down on a hot summer’s day. Best known as the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby, a julep is incredibly simple and so refreshing. Muddle a few mint leaves (leave the stem on for extra mint flavor) with a teaspoon or two of sugar according to your taste. Add ice and top with two ounces of bourbon. Stir to combine and make sure the sugar dissolves. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Then sit back, relax and slowly sip.
Variation: Muddle a slice of fresh peach with the mint for an extra taste of the South!
Just a few minutes using a few ingredients can yield some deliciously impressive cocktails. These are just a few options. There are thousands of three-ingredient combinations out there to try. Experiment with ingredients you already have and create your own concoction!
Top image via Food.com