Have you been thinking about featuring a Signature Drink at your upcoming event? I sat down with our in-house mixologist at One Lincoln, Peter Bales, to discuss his approach to creating the perfect signature drink and his process may surprise you! Join me as we explore how he does it.
1 – Name Your Drink
This seemed counter-intuitive to me. I assumed you would first choose your liquor but he said that picking the name first gives him a roadmap to follow. “If you’re planning to make a pulled pork sandwich, you’ve already defined it and know which direction to go because of the title.” It’s the same with the drink. Admittedly, only about 70% of the drinks keep the original given name, but the approach has worked well as the initial inspiration. He also suggests doing all the planning on paper rather than just mixing so things don’t get confused.
2 – Choose the Base for Your Drink
Certain alcohols only pair well with specific liqueurs, cordials, mixers, and bitters. Choosing the base alcohol also helps indicate how a drink will be prepared. For example, you can shake a vodka based cocktail all day long and it will do nothing to the chemical nature. However, if you shake gin, the alcohol would be bruised such that you can no longer taste the botanicals or juniper.
On your paper, start to write down things you think would pair well with your base selection. Consider a variety of mixers, juices, carbonated beverages, liqueurs, cordials, bitters, etc. Think about the desired look for the beverage and choose your glass style and garnish.
4 – Mix the Drink and Give it a Taste!
If you sample the drink and it’s awful, go back to the board and try again. If it’s pretty good, treat it like a Chef treats a recipe and begin to tweak until you find perfection. Pay attention to the items you’re adding as you go so you can deconstruct your drink later to create the recipe. As you taste, keep the five tastes in mind to help guide you…sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami, which loosely translates to delicious!
5 – Record Your Recipe
If you followed Peter’s advice and took notes as you worked, you should be able to reverse engineer the menu and keep this drink in your stash for years to come!
Cheers! Be sure to share your signature cocktails with us on One Lincoln’s facebook page.