kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

Inspired, but still do-able, cocktails

I've gotten my hands on my fair share of new cocktail books over the past year (such great bedtime reading--I just love to bookmark the next drinks I plan on whipping up...) However, while some of them tout amazing drinks that would certainly wow guests at a party or gathering, one glance at the paragraphs of directions often makes you want to put away the shaker and opt for a glass of wine or beer instead. (Any recipes that includes several days of steeping or infusing, followed by multiple attempts at straining, is too much for my instant-gratification self to handle. I don't usually plan my tipples for the evening that far in advance.)

Recently I got a copy of "Mix Shake Stir," cocktails for the home bar from Danny Meyer's New York City restaurants (The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, etc.) The book has gorgeous photography, great tips and quotes. But most importantly, the recipes are not at all overwhelming for the home bartender looking to impress friends or just mix up something different. There is a definite focus on fresh ingredients like fruits, veggies and herbs, as well as high end and new liquors (Domaine de Canton, St. Germain), but most of the recipes are blessedly brief, making them perfect for entertaining. Here's a great example:

Thai Basil Bliss
Courtesy of Mix Shake Stir
5 fresh Thai basil leaves
4 1-inch cubes fresh pineapple
Ice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. silver tequila (preferably Patron)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Splash of Champagne (optional)

Muddle 4 of the basil leaves and the pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add ice to the shaker and then the simple syrup, tequila and lime juice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and add the splash of Champagne, if desired. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and serve.

You can get "Mix Shake Stir" for $19.89 on Amazon.