Mixed drinks come in plenty of different forms. Some are simply spirits combined with non-alcoholic mixers, such as the gin and tonic; others are considered cocktails — drinks that require a little craft. When ordering at a bar, make sure you are specific about what you want to get the best drink possible.
The martini is one of the most famous cocktails in the world. It is a simple combination of either gin or vodka with vermouth, and it can be served in a number of different ways. They can be dry, in which the vermouth is simply a background flavor, or wet, in which the vermouth is present as an ingredient. They can be shaken in a cocktail mixer or stirred with a spoon, and they are served with either a piece of lemon peel or a green olive.
Gin and Tonic
A gin and tonic is made by mixing gin with tonic water, which is carbonated water flavored with quinine. The most commonly used type of gin is London dry gin. A gin and tonic is served over plenty of ice and usually with a slice of lime, although some claim that lemon is preferable. It is served in a 12-oz. highball glass, containing a shot of gin and topped up with tonic water.
A margarita is, in its simplest form, two shots of tequila, a shot of triple sec orange spirit and a shot of lime juice. The ingredients are shaken together and then strained into a margarita glass, a form of martini glass with a curved rim and bulging shape. The rim is given a coating of salt. A variation is the frozen margarita, in which the ingredients are blended with crushed ice.
A whiskey sour combines bourbon with fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup. Two shots of bourbon, a shot of lemon juice and a shot of syrup are shaken with ice and half an egg white (the egg white is optional, but it adds texture) and then strained into a rocks glass. The drink is garnished with a cocktail cherry and a slice of lemon before it is topped with aromatic orange bitters.
References and ResourcesIn the Spirit: Martini
Art of Drink: Gin and Tonic
Drink Nation: Margarita
Difford's Guide: Whiskey Sour