Ever since the now-famous bartender Jerry Thomas published "How To Mix Drinks or a Bon Vivant's Companion" in 1892, the science of mixology – the art of making cocktails – has evolved and given us tasty combinations that take spirits and liquors to delicious heights. There are as many combinations
Before Lunch or Dinner
Forgot to book a table and have to wait 20 minutes? Invited your friends for dinner, but there was a problem in the kitchen? Prepare aperitifs, which are cocktails that are served before a meal. Best part, they are easy to make and don't require many ingredients. Go classic and make a soda Campari by mixing one part Campari with three parts chilled club soda. Too bitter for you? Try mixing one part of the Italian concoction with three parts orange juice to make an orange Campari. Be trendy and master the recipe for the negroni, which calls for equal parts dry gin, Campari and vermouth. Offer calorie-friendly wine spritzers made with white wine and soda water.
All About the Classics
Classic cocktails are staples and are found in every bar and restaurant around the world. The key here are the mixers, non-alcoholic beverages such as fruit juices, iced tea, energy drinks, sodas, syrups and sauces, which add oomph (and calories) to these combinations. Opt for fresh fruit juices and sugar-free mixers to reduce the amount of calories in the drinks. Mix 1/2 tablespoon of honey with 3/4 tablespoon warm water to make a healthier and antioxidant-rich, simple syrup. Ditch the extra sugar (or replace it with your favorite sweetener) in most recipes. Make your own mixers – for example, buy organic tomato juice and mix it with lemon, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce to make your own bloody Mary; garnish with two celery sticks. When out and about, choose drinks with few mixers: the gimlet, old fashioned, julep and gin and tonic are excellent choices.
Tropical Paradise Found
Coconut cream, pineapple juice, sugar and rum are key ingredients in tropical cocktails. Store-bought pineapple juice is loaded with sugar, so try to stick to sugar-free brands or make your own by blending pineapple and water. Mix vodka, blue Curacao, lemon juice and white rum to make a Blue Curacao. Stick to drinks that have no dairy or coconut cream, such as the caipirinha; muddle sugar and limes and add cachaca
Mocktails are perfect for when you want to impress friends or colleagues who prefer not to drink alcohol. Mocktails also allow you to experiment with mixers and different takes on classic cocktails. Most of these concoctions have few calories and, if made with antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries or vitamin-C champions, such as orange juice, you'll be getting important nutrients, too. Make a watermelon margarita by mixing watermelon, lime juice, agave syrup and sparkling water. Enjoy an acai mojito and boost your immune system by mixing fresh mint leaves, blueberries, acai juice, lime and club soda. As a rule of thumb, keep the mocktails simple, and remember that fresh is always best.
White Russians, eggnog and other milky and sugary combinations are like a dessert in a glass, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid them all the time. Use low-fat or coconut milk instead of regular milk and add fruit to the recipes to give them an edge. Mix strawberries with low-fat milk and raspberry vodka to make a Pink Russian. Try a breakfast eggnog by mixing brandy, milk, orange Curacao and a whole egg. Replace the milk with coconut milk to give it a creamy, tropical feel. Indulge and try a red velvet cookie cocktail made with vanilla ice cream, milk, flavored vodka and red velvet cookies; or simply enjoy a brandy Alexander made with half-and-half and sprinkled with nutmeg.