Congratulations, you’ve mustered up enough charm, wit, and social awareness to have real people consider visiting you. Now what? What do you do with all these newly arrived houseguests? More specifically, how do you come across as suave, courteous, man of the world, and not someone who’s freaking the hell out because he has no idea how he’s gotten this far?
Do you plan elaborate games, maybe order food from the best restaurant in town, or perhaps come up with an amusing story about your fictional trip to Monte Carlo? Sure. But everybody does that. You’re reading this because you’re a man who wants to make an impression by showing your guests a exciting time, with minimal effort and opportunity cost on your part. That leaves you with two choices. Magic, and Cocktails. Magic is infantile, and we’re really bad it, so we’re going to teach you how to make rather neat cocktails, that will conjure the illusion that you’re more talented and courteous than you really are.
The thing about cocktails is that they give people the illusion of sophistication. Take for example the rum and coke, a humble mixture of two easily obtainable beverages, but add a little lime and a garnish and voila! You’ve just created a Cuba Libre´ and are infinitely more attractive to women. Most cocktails are surprisingly easy to concoct, even to the uninitiated; it’s all about nailing the presentation.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite cocktails which are relatively simple, taste amazing, and won’t require you going out of your way to source the ingredients. You can thank us later.
Ingredients: Gin (60ml), Lime (1tsp), Sugar Syrup (1.5tsp), Soda (Top-up)
The Gimlet’s lack of excitement might have been a problem if gin drinkers weren’t so unexciting themselves. It is, however extremely refreshing and tastes considerably better than the more traditional gin and tonic. If you don’t have sugar syrup lying around the house you can always make it by mixing equal parts water and sugar, and boiling it till the sugar dissolves. The Gimlet is a handsome cocktail if garnished properly, but can easily be mistaken for Limca if it isn’t. Be sure you present it to your guests over ice, in a cocktail glass.
Bourbon Iced Tea
Ingredients: Whiskey (60ml), Iced Tea (120 ml+), Soda (Just a dash)
For all its simplicity, the Bourbon Iced Tea is quite possibly one of the most appealing cocktails ever conceived. The jarringly different tastes of whiskey and iced tea strangely complement each other in a manner that’s unbelievably pleasant, and when they don’t you can always add a little soda to neutralise the effects of human error. In many ways it’s like drinking very good tea, and this comes from people who think tea is hipster leaf water. Putting mint leaves in your drink will make it look a lot more sophisticated, but not quite as much as a well placed straw.
Ingredients: White Rum (30ml), Lime (1tsp), Mint, Sugar Syrup (30ml), Half an Apple, Apple Juice (60ml), Soda (Top-up)
The Apple Mojito requires considerably more effort than the other cocktails on this list, but it’s well worth the additional effort. You begin by crushing the apple, mint leaves, sugar and lime in a shaker or a bowl. We recommend you dice the apple and kind of crush it with a muddler (or the back of a fork) because the little chunks of fresh fruit you get in the process enhance the flavour considerably, just like in Sangrias. If you prefer, you can always just use packaged apple juice instead, though we recommend against it. The mint leaves need to be bruised, not shredded to release the essential oils. Then just add the alcohol, mix, and pour over ice. Overall, and despite our disdain for white rum, we believe the Apple Mojito has the potential to be a delicious and exquisite cocktail, though you might want to get a little practice before you test it on a human subject.
Ingredients: Flavoured Vodka (60ml), Lime (1tsp), Sugar Syrup (1.5tsp), Soda (Top- Up)
If you want to be the kind of man that all men want to be, and all ladies want to be with, being adventurous with your cocktails is a good place to start. We decided to tamper with an old classic, the Vodka Collins, by replacing the boring vodka (distilled potato juice in our opinion) with a slightly more exciting flavoured vodka (the same, but smells pretty). What we got was cocktail whose core ingredient could be changed to match the preference of an individual guest, thus giving the illusion that you care about them. You could use any conceivable flavoured vodka (except chocolate), and the drink would still be appealing. The beauty of the Vodka Collins is how ridiculously flexible it is to work with, while remaining a pleasant drink.
Ingredients: Whiskey (60ml), Honey (1tsp), Ginger Ale (60ml), Soda (Top- Up)
The Horse’s Neck gets its name from the long, winding lemon peel that curls around the inside of its glass(we’re lazy). Full disclosure, we accidentally invented this version of the Horse’s Neck when some buffoon who was four drinks down added honey to it because he thought we were making a Bees Knees instead. You’ll be happy to know he was relieved of his services, and later shot in a back alley. His invention however, lives on, and is actually rather brilliant, though it all depends on the quality of the honey you use. This version of the Horse’s Neck is much more likeable than the original because the honey adds its own unique blend of complicated flavours to what is otherwise a very simple, almost rudimentary cocktail. Every time you make this cocktail you have to verbally credit The Bombay Report, or we’ll sue.
It isn’t hard to make great cocktails at home, you can make a great tasting drink with just some lime and sugar you find around the house. That being said, presentation is everything, and a lemon peel, an orange rind, or a mint leaf will go a long way. Just remember to confidently say the name of the cocktail out loud and make eye contact with your guests when handing them their drink. This will ensure that the illusion of decorum and sophistication is maintained, and your guests might even come back a second time.
This article was first published in our column for Urbane, a magazine for the “evolved man”.