As the reality of our new normal sets in and we adjust to homebound daily life, we’re all coming to terms with the fact that we’re now required to carry out many duties we typically turn to professionals for: cutting and coloring hair, overseeing kids’ classrooms, baking bread, making cocktails. Now is as good a time as ever to try your hand at home-bartending. Just keep in mind: It’s not an exact science. Don’t be afraid to improvise. Switch up the fruit. Don’t have a shaker? Use a take-out quart container. Worried about using raw eggs? Try the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Seriously. I asked a few bartenders for a favorite recipe to make at home. None of their suggestions disappoints.
Jenn Harvey, Temple Bar
Jenn Harvey, general manager at Temple Bar, in Cambridge, has a few tidbits of advice before you plunder your liquor cabinet. First, while spirits and bitters don’t have expiration dates, an open bottle of vermouth doesn’t stand the test of time. Get rid of it. Her other nugget of wisdom? Don’t be afraid to be adventurous — or at least resourceful.
“Cocktails should be fun,” she contends. “Want to make a drink with apple sauce, go for it. I suggest using whiskey. Have some apricot jam in the pantry? Sounds like a great base for a gin drink. Mango sorbet in the freezer? Cool, now you don’t need ice.” To jump-start your imagination, consider this jazzed-up variation on a classic collins. She uses clementines, but feel free to play around with citrus. She also notes that any unaged spirit works if gin isn’t to your liking.
2 ounces gin (or another white spirit)
1 ounce fresh clementine juice
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce honey syrup (to make syrup: in a small saucepan over low heat, heat equal parts honey and water. Stir until integrated.)
1 ounce seltzer water
1. Pour all ingredients except seltzer into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously 15 seconds.
2. Strain into a collins or pint glass over fresh ice.
3. Top with seltzer water. Garnish with citrus wedge.
Adapted from Jenn Harvey, Temple Bar
Diego Pena-Herrara, Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drink
As someone who runs a bar as high-volume as the one at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drink, in Kenmore Square, it’s little wonder that Diego Pena-Herrera makes a simple point: timing is everything.
“When considering cocktails at home you have to remember that the preparation and time should never exceed the enjoyment of the beverage themselves,” he says. “Making drinks at home is more of a morale booster for your significant other or roommate, but don’t ever let it get too difficult because they may ask for seconds.” But that hardly means you have to stick to a rum and Coke or gin and tonic. Diego suggests the Florodora, a spin on the raspberry lime rickey made classic by the Old Waldorf Astoria. It delivers a taste of freshness to remind you of something you may have been too anxious to consider: Spring is here.
Florodora at Home
1½ ounces London dry gin (or vodka or white rum)
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup (Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool.)
4 fresh raspberries
Ginger beer, to top
1 lime wedge or raspberry to garnish
1. In a pint glass or mixing tin, muddle raspberries and simple syrup.
2. When all of the juice is extracted from the berries, add the lime juice and gin. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
3. Strain and pour into highball or pint glass. Add fresh ice and top with ginger beer.
4. Garnish with raspberry or lime wedge.
Adapted from Eastern Standard
Colleen Hagerty, Citrus & Salt
If ever a moment called for escapism, it’s this one. For help with that, it makes sense to turn to someone who’s run a restaurant that specializes in putting you in a vacation state of mind. Colleen Hagerty is managing partner at Citrus & Salt, which is designed to place you firmly on the Baja coastline. The drinks here lean heavy on tequila, but Mexico turns out interesting rum, too. Her riff on a daiquiri, a quintessential vacation tipple, employs an earthy rum from Oaxaca, but any unaged rum works for making the strawberry-and-pineapple infusion called for here. And this drink comes with a bonus: rum-soaked fruit for tomorrow’s sangria.
Thanks for Nothing, Ese
2 ounces strawberry-and-pineapple infused Paranubes Rum (or another white rum)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup (Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool.)
1 lime wedge to garnish
For fruit-infused rum
1 small bag frozen strawberries
1 small bag frozen pineapples
1 750-ml bottle rum
Pour rum into a sealable container. Add strawberries and pineapples. Seal container and leave on the counter for four days, stir daily. Strain through mesh strainer, pushing fruit against mesh to extract maximum juice.
1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously 15 seconds.
2. Strain into a coupe glass
3. Garnish with lime wedge.
Adapted from Citrus & Salt
Liza Weisstuch can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @livingtheproof.