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Breaking the monotony - Making cocktails at home

Drinking at home has (especially to Singaporeans) always been a bit of a taboo. With exception to social gatherings, having a good bit of alcohol at home may draw some attention from concerned family and friends. "Wow ____, are you an alcoholic? Why are you drinking at home for no reason?" These concerns may escalate when they find out that you've been consuming mainly hard liquor instead of the casual glass of wine or bottle of beer. 

We here at Cellarbration understand your appreciation for the fine art of the drink (however, please do seek help if you are struggling with alcohol addiction). However, we've noticed alcohol consumption in Singapore can be rather… one-dimensional. 

Mixology has long been a relative stranger to most of us, who may view it as something only "richer folks" can afford to appreciate. When one takes a look at the cost of cocktails at the local bar, one could probably understand why - the average cost of a cocktail in Singapore can go upwards of $15 per cocktail. 

We are here to show you how to drastically lower that cost by making your own cocktails at home; to show you that the delicious beauty of cocktails is accessible to anyone that searches for it. 

Anyone - and we mean anyone can create a DIY bar in their very own home with the inclusion of a few bottles and ingredients. We here at Cellarbration have taken the liberty to build a basic guide to how you may start on this quest. However, while your home bar is unlikely to be a perfect replacement for artisan cocktails at professional bars, they offer a decent alternative to quell a craving, and if made right may even offer a unique homemade twist on otherwise traditional drinks.

First off, we're going to need a few basic liquors that can be used in a wide variety of drinks. Because any cocktail exponentially boosts the yumminess of any type of booze, higher-priced liquors aren't necessary. "Whew" - whispered the wallet.

Liquors

  1. Whisky. Depending on your preference, rye or bourbon are two options to consider when looking for a whisky to fill your home bar. Rye whiskey tends to be more dry, while bourbons tend to be sweeter. Bars have recently begun using more bourbons in cocktails that traditionally call for rye, due to the growing preference for sweet cocktails. If you’re just starting out, bourbon might be an ideal entry point. 

  2. Vodka - Thankfully, vodkas tend to have lesser nuances to their flavours than whiskies. Here, we think a nice, temperate vodka such a Belvedere would hit just the spot.

  3. Gin - As with vodka, a basic choice of gin would suffice. Tanqueray offers a smooth, full-bodied gin with strong scents of juniper. 

  4. Rum - Possibly one of the most versatile liquors in this list, rum can play an instrumental role in numerous cocktails such as mojitos and daiquiris. Most recipes utilise a white rum

  5. Vermouth - there are mainly two forms of vermouth: dry and sweet vermouth. Vermouth is a key ingredient in several cocktails and would be a banging contributor to your arsenal.  

Mixers 

Thankfully, a basic assortment of sodas and juices will suffice. Just to list a few:

  1. 7-Up

  2. Cola

  3. Club soda water

  4. Orange juice

  5. Lemon juice

  6. Ginger beer

  7. Tonic water

Garnishes 

Most garnishes are easily obtainable; lemons, olives, salt, ice, and even hot sauce. However, bitters are a common garnish in several cocktails such as daiquiris, Old-fashioneds, martinis, and even Manhattans. Keep a bottle of Angostura bitters in your home bar. 

Glassware

When it comes to glasses, cocktail aficionados can be rather… contemptuous. Of course, various glasses do play a role both in the aesthetic of the cocktail and the consumption of the cocktail. 

The signature martini glass was designed to optimise the delivery of the martini. A long stem prevented excessing warming of the beverage by the drinker’s hands; while a wide brim allows the spirit to “breathe”, allowing the botanicals of gin to shine. 

However, since this is after all, a basic home bar, there are several alternatives that fulfil the main requirement of the necessary glassware. For example, highball glasses could be replaced with any other mug or cup, while a martini glass can be replaced by any wine glasses you find at home. 

Without further ado, here are 3 starter classic cocktail recipes that you should attempt with your newly assembled home bar. 

The Old-Fashioned 

You will need:

2 oz whisky

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

1 teaspoon sugar

1 orange peel (garnish to taste)

Instructions: 

In a glass (preferably without a stem), muddle sugars and bitters, before adding a single large ice cube. Douse with whisky and stir. Add orange peel if desired.

G&T

You will need:  

2 oz gin

4 oz tonic water

1 lime wedge

Instructions:

Pour gin with tonic onto ice cubes into a glass, stir well and garnish with a lime wedge. 

Moscow Mule

You will need:

2 oz vodka

0.5 lime juice

5 oz ginger beer


Instructions:

Add vodka and lime juice over ice and top with ginger beer. Stir and serve. 

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While these recipes seem rather… basic, they allow for tons of space for experimenting. Don’t be afraid to shake things up (pun intended) and adding different ingredients! 

DIY cocktails can be a useful activity during dinner parties, house parties, or even a quiet evening at home. Ever experienced times when you were at a friend’s place thinking of something to do other than board games? Bam, you’ve found a tasty activity in mixology. 

As your interest in mixology grows, so will the extensiveness of your home bar - and soon you’ll be prepared with both the equipment and skills to be a (semi) professional bartending expert.

 

 

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