Back then I hadn’t the slightest idea of how to think beyond the vodka cranberry and the margarita. And there’s nothing wrong with those drinks. There’s a time a place for them. Like when you go to that dive bar back home or you’re at your favorite Mexican joint. That’s when you order your predictably safe drinks.
But then there’s time when you maybe want to try to something new and less familiar. I’ve mentioned before that we started off pretty timid when it comes to drinking (and certainly making) cocktails. But at the great gastropubs we frequent we gradually started asking questions and learning more about how to make balanced and interesting cocktails.
We always go to the same liquor store and really trust those guys to point us in the right direction. Take time to find the liquor store that gets you and sells the ingredients you like.
But honestly, the best way to build your cocktail skills is to sit at the bar, try different drinks and observe what’s going on behind the bar. We have our handful of favorite gastropubs where we have gotten to know the staff well enough to ask questions and get some awesome pointers. Become a regular, it’s worth it.
A few notes about the Japanese Cocktail
This drink was first created in the 1860’s, and word on the street is that the name was inspired in some way by a regular stream of (cocktail-loving) Japanese delegates from the UN who visited the bar where the drink was invented.
Some recipes call for lime instead of lemon, but we loved the lemon flavor instead.
Also, orgeat. Not or-GEET, but instead say: or-ZJHAAT. This lovely, aromatic almond based syrup can be found in the famous Mai Tai cocktail (which we will cover here soon) and adds such a pleasant bright, sweet, almost cherry note to this cocktail. You should be able to buy orgeat at any respectable bottle shop. Try it and enjoy!
Let us know in the comments if you have any other variations you want to share!
- 2 ounces Cognac
- ½ ounce orgeat
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- lemon peel for garnish
- Combine the Cognac, orgeat, and bitters in a mixing glass.
- Fill glass with ice and then stir until quite cold.
- Then strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
- Don’t forget the lemon peel garnish