Be your own mixologist

Jose Torrella promises making cocktails at home is easy, if you add in a bit of love. (Provided)
Jose Torrella promises making cocktails at home is easy, if you add in a bit of love. (Provided)

After a long day at work, simply popping open a beer or pouring a glass from the bottle of white wine that’s been taking up space in the fridge might appear the easiest option.

But even the best mixologists have go-to cocktails at home they promise will take just five minutes — and often with items you have on hand. They gave us their advice for how to make the quickest cocktails at home.

Jose Torrella, mixologist at the InterContinental’s Barclay Bar in Midtown, promises crafting a classic, complex cocktail is a breeze.

“It’s not that hard,” he says. “Just have a little creativity, and add a little love to it.”

Dan Bronson, beverage director at the Strand Smokehouse in Astoria, Queens, says all he requires is a clean glass and favorite spirit.

“When I go home at night, sometimes the best cocktail I like to make is super simple,” he says. He tops nice ice with “a spirit that you really like and really believe in. It tastes really good with a little water and ice.”

In his cabinet, he only keeps two things in summertime: mint and sugar.

“As long as you have those two things, you are really set,” he says. “Gin, bourbon, rum, pretty much anything that has a little flavor to it, you get that sweet pervasiveness that’s so cooling.”

Add the ice

Ice is key, and mixologist Frank Nobiletti, who works at Danny Meyer’s Maialino NYC, suggests king ice cube trays. “They fit perfectly in a glass, they dilute perfectly,” he says. Dilution is one of the most important parts of making a cocktail, he says. “It really only takes five minutes of your time it’s interesting. … [For a Manhattan,] put all your ingredients in a glass, put the ice in there and then you can walk out of the room, let it sit for three minutes. You don’t even have to do any work.”

Citrus style

“Citruses, lemons and limes, are always going to be your go tos,” Bronson says. He also suggests pomegranates, kumquats and grapefruits to squeeze a little juice into the drinks, perhaps a bit of fresh grapefruit and gin over the rocks with a bit of soda water.

Make it with mint

“I don’t have time to go to the grocery store every day,” Bronson says, “so keeping things like rosemary, thyme, which have a shelf life of up to a month, are a great way to make a really easy cocktail at home.”

Go the extra mile

Torres suggests these purchases, if you want to take amp up your skill level:
Jigger
28-ounce cocktail shaker
16-ounce mixing glass
Bar strainer
Bar spoon
Cocktail muddler
Citrus squeezer

The mixologists suggested these easy-at-home recipes: 

Torres takes two weeks to create a cocktail menu at the Barclay including signatures like the lavender margarita, but he promises these concoctions take only minutes:

Mr. Hendricks
Muddle three cucumber slices, five mint leaves
½ lemon juice
1 and ½ ounces Hendricks gin
Splash of simple sugar
Shake and pour into a glass, top off with sprite.

Razzdelisus
Muddle four raspberries
1 and ½ ounces Stoli raspberry vodka
¼ ounce Stoli vanilla vodka
½ lemon juice
1 ounce of simple sugar
1 ounce of water
Shake and pour into a glass, garnish with 3 raspberries on a wooden stick.

Nobiletti suggests the Negroni:
One ounce of Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
One ounce of gin
One ounce of campari
Stir and serve.
“The Negroni recipe is one of the most simplest recipes.”

Bronson gave us this recipe for Kent Greens:
Two sprigs of thyme
Quarter of a lemon
Put ice and two ounces of gin with a little seltzer in a glass, a spritzer of lemon. Peel off the thyme leaves and use the sprigs as a stirrer in the glass.
“It’s just so fresh,” he says. “You get this great citrus burst from the lemon, but also the clean grassiness from the herbs goes so great with the gin.”

Jason Galang, sommelier at BLT Fish, suggests this Apricot Pop:
One ounce St. Germain (Elderflower) Liqueur
Two ounces vodka
Two ounces apricot puree
One ounce sparkling wine
Mix St. Germain, vodka and apricot puree in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into champagne glass. Top with sparkling wine.
“The use of apricot puree gives it a fresh twist. You can make your own or buy at stores such as organic markets.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison



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