bar basics 104/1 : the sidewinder

We are in the midst of a cocktail explosion. Bartenders are mastering their craft in wonderful ways — to the benefit of our tastebuds. This, however, can be intimidating to someone desiring a home bar. Building a bar collection is expensive and must cater to the preferences of the owner. Luckily, many classic cocktails are adaptable and can be altered to suit your taste. 

Our first lesson in adapting a cocktail was at Drink in Boston, a bar known for their many variations of the Negroni (and drinks constructed similarly). We left inspired and began to explore this simple concept. 

A classic Negroni is made with three ingredients — 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari. Broken down more simply — 1 part spirit, 1 part vermouth, 1 part amaro or bitter herbal liqueur. Whats lovely about this is that switching gin for bourbon makes a “Boulevardier.” Using tequila/mezcal as the spirit makes a variation of todays cocktail, “The Sidewinder.” Don’t want to buy both vermouth and an appropriate amaro? Try using Punt e Mes only (technically a vermouth, but has a nice bitter component) — this is how we constructed todays cocktail. Further tweak your recipe by gently changing proportions to find the perfect concoction. Endless combinations can be created by using different combinations of the above - experiment and find your sweet spot!

New to making cocktails and want to seem like a pro when hosting guests? Here is your shopping list: gin, bourbon, tequila, vermouth, an amaro of your choice, angostura bitters, limes, and simple syrup. With these items you can offer the Negroni, Boulevardier, a variation of the Sidewinder, gin and tonic, Manhattan, among others. Remember keep it simple and only buy what you like — Cheers!