Mastering mixology at home can be intimidating and challenging. Shrub and orgeats, to stir or shake, what do you even need at your home bar to make the perfect hand-crafted cocktail? Billie Keithley, Liquid Chef at the Breckenridge Distillery, is offering a few simple tips that can elevate your domestic happy hour.
“The key to becoming a successful at-home bartender is experimentation,” says Keithley. “Don’t be afraid to try different ingredients, flavors and profiles of flavors. Remember the importance of balance and lastly, complement, not compete.”
Most people already have all the tools needed in their cupboards; a measuring cup, pint glass, spoon, chopsticks, bottleneck for muddling and slotted spoon for straining. Want to take it up a notch? Here is what you need to purchase; a Boston shaker, bar spoon, Hawthorne strainer, jigger, paring and channel knives, citrus juicer and a muddler.
Here are some of the most commonly used ingredients; citrus, sugar, bitters, spices, ice, and of course, Breckenridge spirits.
How to make simple syrups: Use a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. If using fruit, herbs, spices, raw sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple, adjust the ratio of sugar-based on how sweet the fruit might be or how rich the sugar might be. Simple syrups will keep approximately 2 weeks when refrigerated.
How to make shrubs: While shrubs can be made cold, a stovetop method is preferable because while it simmers on the stove you can smell the aromas and you can taste every five minutes to hit that perfect balance. Shrubs usually consist of fruits, sugar, cider vinegar (vinegar makes the flavor pop), herbs and spices. Shrubs need time to rest to absorb the ingredients and meld together in perfect harmony. While the shrub rests you can adjust the spices by the hour if needed. It can take hours to get the right profile you seek. Shrubs will keep approximately 2-8 weeks when refrigerated, a bit longer if you add a hint of Breckenridge Distillery spirits.
Here are three cocktails with ingredients commonly found in your cupboards:
2 oz Breckenridge Bourbon (Buy Now)
¾ oz honey simple syrup*
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz lime juice
1 egg white
Dry shake ingredients (without ice). Add ice and shake for 50 seconds. Double strain.
Garnish: Teriyaki sauce and toasted sesame seeds.
*Honey simple syrup: over medium heat combine 1 cup water, 4 oz Colorado honey, 4 oz sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool.
HEALTHY BUT BOOZY SMOOTHIE
1 oz Breckenridge Gin (Buy Now)
4 oz frozen fruit mix of choice and what’s on hand in the freezer
3 oz orange juice
1 oz Colorado honey
1 ripe banana (optional)
Blend all ingredients
Garnish: crushed granola bar
WHAT’S IN THE FRIDGE
What’s in the Fridge
1-1/2 oz Breckenridge Vodka (Buy Now)
¾ oz berry fruit spread shrub*
¼ oz lemon juice
Shake top 3 ingredients with ice. Strain over new ice. Top with sparkling water.
Garnish: mint and lime
*Berry fruit spread shrub: over medium heat combine 1 cup water, 4 oz fruit spread, 3 oz sugar, 1/2 oz cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let rest for 2 hours. Cool then strain.
Looking for more easy cocktails to make at home? Check out more recipes from Billie Keithley.
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