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3 Cocktails You Should Know How To Make

The three Ms—martini, Manhattan, mojito—are the keys to top-notch entertaining

Served Podcast Cocktails

Last Friday, the DO editors gathered around the mics as they usually do for #servedthepodcast (the episode is live, by the way, and you can find it here). But instead of chatting up a celeb chef or chitchatting about our culinary exploits, we took a different tack: We made cocktails. On the show.

The inspiration came from our friend, CBS4 traffic reporter Joel Hillan, who let us know he was new to mixology and wanted to learn the basics. So we picked three of our favorite libations—a martini, a Manhattan, and a mojito—and made the drinks while we chatted about the wide world of Denver/Boulder cocktails.

As a reference for readers and listeners, we wanted to follow up with the recipes and tips on how to make your drinks sing. Let’s get shaking, shall we?

What tools you need for your home bar: 

Shaker
Strainer
Bar spoon
Muddler
Jigger (with 1-1/2 ounce and 3/4 ounce pours)
Strainer
Glassware (lowball, highball, and martini glasses)

What liquors you should always have on hand:

White rum (Bacardi to start, Montanya for more nuance)
Dark rum (Captain Morgan is a good base spirit, but move on to Dancing Pines for Colorado flair)
Gin (Tanqueray is solid and affordable, but Hendricks is a notch above)
Whiskey/bourbon (Bulleit is great for mixed drinks, but for a couple bucks more, Leopold Bros. is a better choice)
Vodka (Absolut is most folks’ go-to, but we recommend Woody Creek)
Tequila (Jose Cuervo, Patron, or Don Julio blancos are all good picks)
Dry/sweet vermouth (Dolin is da bomb)
Bitters (local Strongwater bitters are tops for us)

Served the Podcast Manhattan

The classic Manhattan: whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and cherry juice

What you make with this deliciousness:

Martini (served up): Dock a martini glass with 2 olives on a toothpick (or drop in a lemon twist, if you prefer). In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine 3 parts gin and 1 part dry vermouth. Stir with a bar spoon 20 times one direction and 20 times in the opposite direction. Strain into the martini glass over the olives.

Manhattan (served up): Dock a martini glass with 2-3 Luxardo cherries on a toothpick. In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine 2 parts whiskey or bourbon and 1/2 part sweet vermouth. Add 4-5 dashes angostura or aromatic bitters and a drizzle of Luxardo cherry juice. Shake with moderate vigor for 20-30 seconds, then strain into the martini glass over cherries.

Mojito: In a tall/highball glass, add 5-6 mint leaves and the juice from 2 lime wedges. Add lime wedges and muddle for 10 seconds. Pour in 3 ounces white rum and a drizzle of agave syrup. Stir and top with sparkling water. Garnish with more mint and a lime wheel.

Where you can learn more:

Penned by cocktail guru Jeffrey Morgenthaler, “The Bar Book” covers all the bases of mixology for cocktail neophytes. How-tos for 60 recipes, stellar photographer, info on bar equipment, and essential tips/techniques make this a must-have. Available on Amazon.com.

Do you have a favorite cocktail recipe you’d like to share, or advice to offer for cocktail newbies? Send us a note on any of our social channels (@dodenverboulder) and tag #servedthepodcast. We may share your tips on the show!

[For more delicious #servedthepodcast episodes, check out the podcast archives here!]

Jeffrey Steen, Managing Editor