Suggest a new signature house drink
September 11, 2021 4:49 PM   Subscribe

We have a couple household signature drinks that are delicious and easy to throw together from ingredients we have on hand. What should our next addition to the list be?

Would love some more ideas to add to our drink playlist. I’m looking for simpler drinks from relatively shelf or refrigerator-stable ingredients, although I’m willing to make exceptions for something delicious. I know bartending is not a science, but it is helpful to have actual recipes to soothe my baker’s soul.

We always have lemons and limes on hand, and usually mint growing somewhere in the house. We have an above-average kitchen setup including things like a quality steam espresso frother and more blending devices than is really right. I don’t mind doing extra steps like syrups and infusions if they can be done in batches and keep well.

Current beloved options are
-Moscow mules (1 oz lime juice, 1 oz homemade ginger syrup, 2 oz vodka, soda)
-raspberry vodka lemonades (shake juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 TB sugar and 2 oz raspberry infused gin, add to ice-filled cup, add soda to taste)
-raspberry g and ts (juice of 1/4 lime, 2 oz raspberry infused vodka, 4 oz tonic)
-mojitos (muddle scant 1 TB sugar, 5-6 mint leaves and 1 oz lime juice, add 2 oz rum, ice and soda to taste)
posted by charmedimsure to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Hello, your friendly neighbourhood gin mule evangelist checking in. Take that moscow mule, swap out the vodka for gin = unqualified upgrade (imo obvs).
posted by juv3nal at 5:03 PM on September 11, 2021 [11 favorites]

You might like a brandy sidecar, it's my go-to in the cooler months.
posted by Temeraria at 5:05 PM on September 11, 2021 [5 favorites]

If you usually have limes, maybe a serrano-infused paloma (grapefruit juice and tequila).

The recipe notes that while you can infuse liquor or simple syrup with serranos, it’s just as delicious (and easier) to muddle a pepper round in the bottom of the glass. When I make these I halve the agave and just use canned grapefruit juice so it’s pretty shelf stable, and the peppers keep a long time too. Maybe better as a spring or summer drink, YMMV!
posted by stellaluna at 5:20 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Richmond Gimlet = 2 oz gin (Tanquerey if possible), .75 oz simple syrup, .75 oz lime juice. Shake with ice and some mint leaves, strain into a coupe. Garnish with mint sprig.

Blackbird = equal parts Jameson and Montenegro. Stir, serve over ice in a rocks glass with an orange peel.

Martini = 2.5oz gin (Tanquerey preferred), .5 oz vermouth. Stir with ice, strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist or an olive -- or garnish with an onion and call it a Gibson.

Negroni = equal parts gin, Campari, sweet vermouth.

Two-Legged Dog = 1.5 tequila, .5 rye, .5 sweet vermouth, .5 cointreau. Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass filled with ice, garnish with orange peel. The best drink I know and 2 will knock you out.

Manhattan = 2 ounces rye, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, 2 dashes angostura bitters. Stir over ice. Strain into a coupe, garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
posted by dobbs at 5:26 PM on September 11, 2021 [5 favorites]

If you don't mind buying a few semi-obscure staples (as in, they're useful in other drinks but not really in any super standard drinks), you could get some Chartreuse and maraschino to go with your limes and the gin I assume you have already, and make the extremely easy and delicious Last Word.
posted by babelfish at 5:39 PM on September 11, 2021 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I have no problem with buying weird liquor, as long as it will keep!
posted by charmedimsure at 5:44 PM on September 11, 2021

I also assume you have gin, despite making g and t’s with vodka (?), so stock up on prosecco and simple syrup to make French 75’s, a brunch drink par excellence.
posted by ejs at 6:02 PM on September 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Oy, we make the g and ts with raspberry gin. My brain is bad.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:07 PM on September 11, 2021 [3 favorites]

A couple of spoons full of frozen orange juice concentrate, some Midori, some Vodka, some Water, shake/stir... the 'duh' is what makes it good.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:11 PM on September 11, 2021

The Kneecap Night Cap is a great post-dinner cocktail for sipping on the couch/by the fireplace.

A Black Manhattan is a more complex (but still simple to make) take on the classic manhattan. I've enjoyed using Black Walnut bitters to place the basic Angostera bitters.

Or the Infante, for an upgrade to the classic margarita.
posted by jpeacock at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2021

If you want to take things in a more herbal direction, dry vermouth will add complexity. You could do a vermouth cassis with seltzer and either crème de cassis or your fruit gin on hand. A whisper of fruit syrup added to a dry martini adds interest; or a 1/2 oz stiffener of gin/vodka and 1/2 oz fruit to 2 oz of vermouth for a lower-octane cocktail like the Fallen Rose.
posted by Hypatia at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2021

To further enhance a Moscow mule with the vodka swapped for gin - infuse the gin with fresh blackberries for a month first!
posted by centrifugal at 6:24 PM on September 11, 2021

Kentucky Mules! Use bourbon instead of vodka.
posted by cooker girl at 6:32 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm partial to Blueberry Tea in the Fall/ Winter.

Traditionally, it's 1 Amaretto (almond/ stonefruit pit liqueur), 1 Grand Marnier (orange liqueur), 4 orange pekoe tea.

I have access to an excellent Blue Star Earl Grey, and substitute the pekoe with that. I've experimented with strongly brewed pu er, iron Buddha (ti guan yin), and jasmine and those are nice, too.

I find Amaretto to be a little too sweet so I substitute Sljivovica, a plum rakia instead.
posted by porpoise at 6:46 PM on September 11, 2021

While we're riffing on mules, my favorite is Fernet Branca instead of vodka.

If you've got fernet and campari, you've got a ferrari soda--fernet+campari+soda, done.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:01 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Bee’s Knees (gin) or Gold Rush (bourbon)!
posted by Arthur Vandelay at 7:06 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you've got Fernet Branca, make a Toronto instead of a Manhattan.
posted by blob at 7:54 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

(obligatory "this is when I was drinking"), I loved apple pie. Hard cider, fireball or other cinnamon liquor, butterscotch schnapps. Proportions are up to the drinker. Super easy as long as you keep the cider on hand, and any cheap cider will do.

Be warned, they go down super easy; it's easy to down a couple and end up way more turnt than you realized. :)
posted by joycehealy at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Canelazo: Boil cinnamon sticks in water and sugar (lots of sugar). Add lemon juice (lots of lemon juice). Add Zhumir ideally, but white rum will do. Drink hot.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:22 PM on September 11, 2021

A proper classic Paloma is made with grapefruit soda, as in Squirt or Diet Squirt, Fresca, Safeway/Vons really excellent regular or diet store brand grapefruit soda. I do like a squeeze of fresh lime in mine, but bottled will do.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:37 PM on September 11, 2021

Paper Plane: equal parts (3/4 oz or so) bourbon (Buffalo Trace is the usual), Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker with ice, give it a good long shake, strain in a coupe.

Everything's shelf-stable except the lemons, and the ingredients are useful for other drinks.
posted by zachlipton at 11:02 PM on September 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’m very fond of Maraschino liquor. Two great drinks are:

Hemingway Daiquiri
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Marachino
3/4 oz grapefruit juice
2 oz white rum

Shake, serve over rocks. You can serve over cracked or shaved ice, but it’s not necessary.

A Manhattan with the red vermouth swapped for white and 1/2 oz Marachino.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:10 AM on September 12, 2021

Orange Crush
Juice of one freshly squeezed Florica orange
1.5 oz Smirnoff Orange Vodka
1.5 oz Triple Sec
Pour over crushed ice
Top off with a splash of Sprite
posted by maxg94 at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2021

Mint juleps?
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2021

Hibiscus might fit into your list. Either *very* strong brewed cold tea, or home made alcohol infusions. (A week long infusion of generous dried petals in a jar of 150 proof alcohol is very flavorful.) Adding soda, gin or vodka, and lime or orange is something I quite like. Adding simple syrup (or gum syrup if you want to be fancy) is probably what most bartenders would do.
posted by eotvos at 2:48 PM on September 12, 2021

Some warm options I love as staples include the Hot Toddy (bourbon for me) and the Irish Coffee. Both are excellent evening drinks, are super customizable to one's taste, and don't require fussing about with lots of ingredients.

Bonuses: the hot toddy is a nice treat when sick, and Irish coffees let you make your own whipped cream (or try a marshmallow instead!)
posted by enigmango at 3:21 PM on September 12, 2021

Bartending is a science. As a former bartender and science enthusiast, I’d say that’s what separates a good drink from a bad drink. You mention Gin, Vodka, and White Rum, but you don’t say if you have any other liquors/ liqueurs on hand or if you’d be open to procuring more. In the event that you’d like to get some supporting players, I’d add in Campari or Aperol and Cointreau, and then you can make a Jasmine Cocktail (or as my jazz musician friend misheard it- The Jazz Man).
If you have Aperol you can also make an Aperol Spritz.
You can even make a Pimm’s Cup subbing in your raspberry infused gin. I guess my real question is...what liquors do you like, what are your favorite flavor profiles...spicy, sweet, fruity, fancy? Once you come up with that it’s easier to figure out a drink suggestion that is tailor made for you!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2021

Mojitos are already on the list - leave out the mint and soda, and swap out the sugar for a sugar syrup and you have a classic daquiri. For fun, try making it with a COCONUT rum instead of regular rum.

If you get some grenadine syrup - either homemade or storebought - that could give you a few options, some of which just involve beer:

* The "Tango" is a shot of grenadine syrup in a glass of beer.
* The "Monaco" is 1-1/2 Tablespoons of grenadine in a mix of 3/4 cup beer and 1/3 cup lemon soda. (And while we're here, the "Panache" is half-and-half beer and lemon soda.)

I'd also suggest picking up a copy of the book Drinking French by David Lebovitz - it's a fun deep dive into Parisian beverage/cafe/alcohol/cocktail culture, with a lot of the recipes being simple ones. And - most happily for me - there are some non-alcoholic options as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:04 PM on September 12, 2021

I'm not much of a drinker, really, but was following the Three Ingredient Happy Hour posts on Lifehacker for quite a while, it is worth exploring because there are a ton of cocktails there _and_ they are all pretty simple(only three ingredients)
posted by TimHare at 9:07 PM on September 12, 2021

Response by poster: I guess my real question is...what liquors do you like, what are your favorite flavor profiles...spicy, sweet, fruity, fancy?

I am not usually a *huge* brown liquor fan, but we have acquired some over the years and if they are made into something warm I usually like them...a friend makes a whiskey chai for outdoor gatherings, for example, that I like a lot. Otherwise we tend towards vodkas, gins (my favorite readily-available gin for straight sipping is Roku gin, if that helps, but we usually go with Kirkland brand liquors for things that get mixed) and occasionally rum, but I think that's more because I know what to do with them than that I have a strong preference.

I love spicy (both things like ginger and hot things) and fruity more than sweet (but don't mind sweet if it's not sickly so and there's a little acid to counter it). I'm not usually into super-flowery tastes. Although I know it's not helpful to say so, I really like lots of things and am really pretty open to purchases and experimentation.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:31 PM on September 12, 2021

Spritzes....all the spritzes. We keep Aperol, Cappelletti, Nonino Apertivo and Otto Athens vermouth on hand ALL the time. Any of these can be a spritz with a bit of fizzy white (prosecco, cava, etc) and a bit of soda water, and a citrus + herb garnish. Orange and basil are lovely with the Nonino Apertivo, limes are great with the Otto Athens vermouth. You can also make a thing that Otto (the restaurant) serves called a Sardinian Iced Tea - it's equal bits of Meletti or other amaro and prosecco over ice with a bit of lemon juice. FANtastic.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:59 AM on September 13, 2021

Following up the daiquiri suggestions (great idea, by the way), I like mine with a darker rum like Plantation Original Dark. You need to experiment with the ratio of syrup, lime juice and rum. I like 1:2:4 but everyone has their own preferences. A darker rum is very versatile including being the perfect vehicle to enrich a cup of coffee with (real) cream and sugar on a Sunday morning.

I just tried a Genever Old Fashioned the other day and it was nice, though kind of sweet. 1:8 maple syrup:genever and a good shot of bitters (I used a cinnamon and cardamom one) shaken on ice and strained onto fresh ice. You could probably make it with gin too—I intend to try that one day soon. It would only be risking a couple shots of gin to experiment!

Another fun one is a real Gimlet, by which I mean “not with Rose’s lime juice.” Jeffrey Morgenthaler has a really easy recipe for lime cordial (if you have citric acid in the house). His blog has little activity recently but is a gold mine of cocktail wisdom. Again, you have to experiment with the ratio to find your sweet spot. He recommends 1:2 lime cordial:gin but I find that a bit cloying and go 1:4.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 4:45 AM on September 15, 2021

Ooh, a couple options for warm drinks:

* A shot of some kind of cordial or liqueur in hot chocolate is lovely. I've had amaretto, but I bet that some kind of mint-flavored thing like creme de menthe would also work, or some kind of cinnamon-flavor thing.

* You can also add a shot of whiskey, brandy, or rum to mulled apple cider. Or a shot of a combination of them.

* Or just make mulled wine.

* A few years back, there was a brief food trend about making hot chocolate with red wine. I tried it, and it actually was pretty dang good - it didn't really scream "wine", it tasted more like you'd made a cup of hot chocolate from scratch and you'd just happened to pick a fancy artisanal chocolate that had a bit of a fruity note. In fact, it was just making hot chocolate from scratch and using some red wine in the liquid. Here's a recipe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on September 15, 2021

I'm obsessed with French Gimlets lately, which are gin, St Germain (elderflower) liqueur and lime juice.

Lemon drops are also delicious (and now I'm just realising where all of our Triple Sec went!)

In cooler seasons, I love a Sazerac.
posted by urbanlenny at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2021

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