Mixology 101 for Murray Fraser Hall
By Duncan Pardoe
Entering and pursuing law is often accompanied by a host of new experiences. One such experience is the proliferation of cocktails at events such as company receptions, dinner parties, and after-work unwinds. Connected with or extending from this new experience may be the expectation to know how to make cocktails yourself; whether it be to craft a stylish drink to impress an important dinner guest, or to speak intelligently about how you’d like your martini made when ordering it in front of your clients. Regardless, as future lawyers it may be helpful to know a thing or two about how to make a cocktail that isn’t the proverbial rum and Coke. In fact, that’s what this piece is all about – providing you with the groundwork to take your drink-making skills to the next level.
Just because the drinks look fancy and their ingredient lists contain more foreign words than a Latin-infused legal memo doesn’t mean that you can’t make it yourself. Cocktails have a reputation for being elusive elixirs of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, but despite their aura of being the complex creations of muggle alchemists, they can actually be very easy to produce. You too can wow your future dinner guests with a liquid art piece or impress your friends at the next socially distant patio party with a fantastic Quarantini!
Like so many other culinary creations, cocktails are an art form. They combine tastes, smells, and appearances to provide a multisensory experience that can be paired with a meal or sipped on as a stand-alone. As such, it’s important to let yourself be creative while mixing, and be open to the fact that not every creation will be a drinkable Picasso. Further, there are two key rules that I’d recommend following before making a drink:
1. Know your ingredients! Like a chef building a new entrée, an understanding of an ingredient’s flavour, scent, and colour and how it interacts with others will help you better pair and balance your ingredients to create something truly special. However, this may involve responsibly tasting some strong and maybe even weird stuff. For example, bamboo ash or molasses moonshine likely weren’t at the forefront of your mind when you were planning to mix up something special for a weekend dinner party.
2. Have the hardware to mix! While you don’t need a professional mixing kit, it’s helpful to have some of the basics like a shaker, strainer, and a measuring device (either a marked up shot glass or a jigger). Further, a spoon can work for muddling and stirring, but a blowtorch to make flaming cocktails is probably unnecessary and potentially tortious (this is not to be construed as legal advice).
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients and are ready to mix, let your inner artist take the wheel. Whether it’s your choice of ingredients, garnish, or final presentation, use this as an opportunity to create something expressive and unique. Art is subjective, and so – to paraphrase Rob Ross – as long as you like it and had fun making it, that’s really what counts. To boost your odds of successfully wowing your future party guests however, I have included some of my favourite Duncan-Original recipes below. I hope that they can inspire your creative culinary side, or – at the very least – serve as a COVID-friendly substitute for the downtown open bars of Big Law receptions gone by. Enjoy!
The Business-Class Redeye
Taste: Bright and sharp – like how your client expects you to be when you land in Paris in 5 minutes.
Recipe: 45ml Campari, 25ml Limoncello, 15ml Grand Marnier, 15ml Amaro.
The Offshore Account
Taste: Semi-sweet and tropical – like the auspicious banking contract you signed in Panama City.
Recipe: 45ml White Rum, 20ml of Cointreau, 20ml Blue Curaçao, 20ml pineapple juice, 15ml Lime Juice, 158ml Coconut Water, 3ml Vanilla Extract.
The Wallstreet Julep
Taste: Rich but refreshing – a taste as paradoxical as the NASDAQ’s performance in a pandemic.
Recipe: 45ml Bourbon, 15ml Rosso Vermouth, 10ml Campari, 15ml simple syrup, 2 Agitated Mint Leaves.