This section covers The Not-So-Basics: additional drinks beyond The Basics, some from the book, others beyond the book. Drink recipes will be shared at random intervals with detailed written steps. Also covered under The Not-So-Basics are advanced tips, techniques, and ingredients.

NOT-SO-BASIC DRINKS: AN ONGOING LIST

Americano The Final Ward Navy Grog Southern Exposure
Aviation Hardly Wallbanger Nui Nui Vienna by Train
Bijou Highballs La Otra Palabra Whiskey Barrel Punch
Bloody Mary Hot Buttered Rum Palmetto Whiskey Sour
Brandy Milk Punch Hot Toddy La Paloma White Russian
Caipirinha Improved Genever Cocktail Penicillin Wild-Eyed Rose
Corn ‘n’ Oil Irish Coffee Pimm’s Cup Wordsmith
Corpse Reviver #2 Jack Rose Planter’s Punch Zombie
Cosmopolitan The Last Word Ramos Gin Fizz    20th Century
Detroiter Mai Tai Rattlesnake
El Diablo Martinez Rum Crawl
Egg Nog Mojito Sangrita
 

I’ll add advanced tools and ingredients here as they’re called for in the growing list of not-so-basic drinks. Take your time adding these extra bits & pieces as you go along.

Hardware: Box grater, Mixing glass, Fine-mesh strainer, Standing mixer, Electric blender, Nutmeg grater or microplane, Plastic measuring cups & spoons, Sieve, Slotted spoon, Spice grinder, Vegetable juicer

Glassware: Double Old Fashioned, Highball glass, Irish Coffee glass, Punch Bowl & Punch Cups, Tiki mugs

Spirits: 151 demerara rum, Applejack (100-proof Apple Brandy), Cachaça, Genever, Aged rum, Dark rum, Gold rum, Blackstrap rum, Irish whiskey, Islay Scotch whisky, Tennessee whiskey, Plymouth gin, Jamaican pot-still rum, Vodka

Mixers & Liqueurs: Agave nectar, Beer (Russian Imperial Stout), Campari, Carpano Antica (Italian vermouth), Champagne, Chartreuse (green and yellow), Cinnamon syrup, Cocchi Americano, Coffee, Coffee liqueur, Crème de Cassis, Crème de Violette, Demerara sugar, Egg & Dairy, Falernum, Galliano, Ginger Beer, Ginger syrup, Gomme Syrup, Grade B Maple Syrup, Gran Clasico, Grapefruit Soda, Grenadine, Hot Buttered Rum Batter, Lemon Soda, Lillet Blanc, Maraschino liqueur, Pimento Dram, Pimm’s #1, Scotch whisky (Highland), Vanilla syrup

Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Apple juice, Beet juice, Celery, Celery salt, Chili powder, Cinnamon stick, Coffee bean, Cranberry juice, Cucumber, Demerara sugar, Fresh ginger, Candied ginger, Ginger juice, Grapefuit juice, Horseradish, Hot sauce, Freshly-grated Nutmeg, Orange juice, Pineapple juice, Pepper, Salt, Steak sauce, Strawberries, Tomato juice, Vanilla extract, Whipped Cream, Worcestershire sauce

 

highballEngland, early 19th century

The mission here with “Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics)” is to make the sometimes-intimidating world of cocktails accessible to all interested. But as much as we cocktail nerds love our Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, even those relatively simple drinks are complex and fussy compared to the family of drinks known as “Highballs” – a shot of booze with a non-alcoholic fizzy mixer served tall over ice, nothing more. I’ll be a purist here and say that adding anything else – even just a squeeze of juice – takes it out of Highball territory: the simple Rum & Coke becomes a Cuba Libre if you add lime juice (and a bit of gin and Angostura, as in the fancy version in my book). One addition makes good sense, though – a pinch of oils from a citrus zest garnish adds brightness and dimension to the mix.

But listen: simple doesn’t mean dumb. Highballs, like any other drink, are done well when one pays attention to the details: measure your pours, use high-quality ingredients, and employ good ice. A common mistake home bartenders make is eyeballing proportions that will fill whatever glass is on hand (“what is it… 50/50? oh well, down the hatch”). The standard Highball mix is a two ounces of booze with three ounces of mixer – like the previously-detailed Pimm’s Cup. Ideally, you’ll have dedicated Highball glasses around 10 ounces in capacity (shorter & wider than a Collins glass – but one of those will do in a pinch). Resist the urge to fill a bigger glass: either add more ice or just live with the glass not being full!

The name “Highball” came from the Irish, who call for their drink of choice as a “ball o’ malt” – so, simply a tall serving of whiskey (“boll” is Flemish for “glass” – the Dutch brought the term to England along with their genever, then to Ireland). Far as we can tell, the original Highball was the Scotch & Soda, mixed by people in the UK as soon as they could get their hands on the carbonated water first manufactured by J.J. Schweppe in Geneva and London. From there, it spread to Ireland, then Boston & New York. With the popularity of sodas like Coca-Cola, ginger beer, and 7-up in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Highball in all its forms became even more varied and accessible – and still reigns as the king of mixed drinks. A survey I read recently listed the top ten most popular cocktails in the US: seven out of ten were Highballs.

If you’re big on carbonated drinks, look into buying an iSi Soda Siphon for a steady supply of seltzer or homemade soda straight from the fridge.

GIN & TONIC

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: London Dry gin (recommended: Beefeater, Tanqueray)
Mixer: Tonic water (recommended: Fever-Tree Tonic Water or mix your own with Small Hands Yeoman Tonic Syrup)
Garnish: Lemon twist

HOW TO

Pinch a lemon twist into a Highball or Collins glass to express its oils, then reserve the twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz London Dry gin
3
 oz tonic water

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.


VODKA & SODA

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: vodka (recommended: Absolut)
Mixer: seltzer (recommended: Fever-Tree Soda Water or carbonate your own)
Garnish: Two lemon twists

HOW TO

Pinch two lemon twists into a Highball or Collins glass to completely express their oils, then reserve one twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz vodka
3
 oz seltzer

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the reserved twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.


RUM & COKE

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: Dark Jamaican rum (recommended: Coruba)
Mixer: Coca-Cola (if you can find imported Mexican Coke, your drink will be even better)
Garnish: Lime twist (try to get the most peel you can from the lime in one single piece)

HOW TO

Pinch a lime twist into a Highball or Collins glass to express its oils, then reserve the twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz dark Jamaican rum
3 oz Coca-Cola

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the reserved twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.


SCOTCH & SODA

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: Scotch whisky (recommended: The Famous Grouse)
Mixer: seltzer (recommended: Fever-Tree Soda Water)
Garnish: Lemon twist

HOW TO

Pinch a lemon twist into a Highball or Collins glass to express its oils, then reserve the twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz Scotch whisky
3
 oz seltzer

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.


WHISKEY & GINGER

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: Irish whiskey (recommended: Jameson)
Mixer: Ginger Beer (recommended: Barritt’s or Reed’s)
Garnish: Lemon twist

HOW TO

Pinch a lemon twist into a Highball or Collins glass to express its oils, then reserve the twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz Irish whiskey
3
 oz ginger beer

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.


JACK & COKE

THE KIT

Hardware: Barspoon, Jigger, Straw (optional)
Ice: Cracked ice
Glassware: Highball or Collins glass
Spirit: Tennessee whiskey (recommended: George Dickel)
Mixer: Coca-Cola (if you can find imported Mexican Coke, your drink will be even better)
Garnish: Lemon twist

HOW TO

Pinch a lemon twist into a Highball or Collins glass to express its oils, then reserve the twist. Fill the glass with cracked ice, then add:

2 oz Tennessee whiskey
3
 oz Coca-Cola

Stir well to blend and chill, then pinch the twist again over the top of the drink and garnish. Optionally, serve with a straw.