Today’s article appears not here, but on BehindBars – the site that is used to complement the articles I write for various on and off-line publications.
The story is much more mixology focused, as I wrote it for Mixology magazine a german magazine for Mixologists, but aren’t we all mixologists at heart??
If you are a German speaker and interested in some of the world’s best writing on bartending and mixology, you should pick up the magazine.
By Kevin Erskine
Originally published in German in Mixology Magazine Issue 6/2008
The best cocktails are the ones that offer flavour complexity – built by using individual components – with each ingredient shining on its own. Fresh fruits, creams, juices, spices and herbs are being used in growing numbers – replacing the premixed mixes unfortunately clung to by the lesser bartender. More mixologists are experimenting with unusual flavours – using a wider variety of ingredients, which, at first blush, seem incongruent – but when combined in the appropriate manner prove to create new and unique flavour profiles.
However you may agree that the basis for these cocktails is far too often the same old white spirits – with mixologists tending to stick to the more neutral of these liquors. It’s the real daredevils who are branching out into more strongly flavoured spirits – including brown spirits – such as aged rum and tequilas.
Where many of these experimentalists fail is that instead of complementing these strong flavours, the mixologist tends to minimize and cover them. An over-abundance of sweet is the lazy-bartender’s way to try to subdue tequila (e.g., the Margarita). To my mind, the best bartenders are those who can create a delicious cocktail from the most flavoursome of spirits – and none are more flavourful (or varied in flavours) than the whiskies of the world. But, if the concept of a whisk(e)y cocktail sends shivers up your spine, might I suggest you consider, perhaps, Irish whiskey.
MY next article for Mixology is about the resurgence of Rye Whiskey.