Despite our weekly recipe obsession, Marisa and I aren't actually tossing back cocktails as often as our bloglife might suggest. When we're not pregnant or nursing babies, the two of us are both very likely to indulge in a glass of prosecco or a rioja over dinner more than anything else. But there is something so free-spirited and festive about a well-made cocktail - about putting the time and attention into something indulgent and meant solely for enjoyment - that we're drawn to mixology and love trying out our weekly recipes here at Chasing Saturdays. And it sparks such an extra feeling of fun to have a signature cocktail prepped when friends come over for an otherwise simple evening.
One cocktail reference I've used a lot lately is The Savoy Cocktail Book, a collection of classic recipes from Harry Craddock, the head barman at London's Savoy Hotel during the 1920's and 30's. The art deco illustrations that are sprinkled throughout the classic recipes make me feel connected to a bygone era as I decide which ratio of whisky to vermouth to use in my Manhattan, for instance. And I love Craddock's genteel notes, like "the following Cocktail, although apparently harmless, is sometimes liable to be snappy."
I recently found this list in the Forward of the Savoy book and thought I'd share, to keep in mind whatever your cocktail of choice may be:
A FEW HINTS FOR THE YOUNG MIXER
1. Ice is nearly always an absolute essential for any Cocktail.
2. Never use the same ice twice.
3. Remember that the ingredients mix better in a shaker rather larger than is necessary to contain them.
4. Shake the shaker as hard as you can: don't just rock it: you are trying to wake it up, not send it to sleep!
5. If possible, ice your glasses before using them.
6. Drink your Cocktail as soon as possible. Harry Craddock was once asked what was the best way to drink a Cocktail: "Quickly," replied that great man, "while it's laughing at you!"
In the 2013 reprint, an addition to the book claims "The Savoy Cocktail Book is about the alchemy of pleasure and the imperative of fun." "Above all," they say, "the cocktail is the essence of celebration, the affirmation of liveliness and life itself." So whether you choose to whip up a classic cocktail or pop open a bottle of prosecco, let's all remember to make Harry Craddock proud and keep things light and lively this weekend. Here are a few of our favorite past recipes, some classics and some modern ones, worth trying out:
- The Bee's Knees
- Classic Daiquiri
- F. Scott Spritzgerald
- Tinto de Verano
- Aperol Spritz
- St. Germain and Champagne
- Classic Pisco Sour
- Autumn Pear Moscow Mule
(all photos, jamie grill photography)