Adult beverages have been around for a very long time, but they are always evolving. Even a drink as simple and as perfect as the classic daiquiri can be modified, riffed, or hacked to delightful results; and seemingly non-negotiable methods can be altered and adapted. Here are 12 good ideas we had and updates we made to cocktails in 2022, in no particular order.
Calculate your drink’s ABV with this handy calculator
Knowing how much alcohol you’re drinking can help you have a less sloppy night and more pleasant morning, which is why this ABV calculator from bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler is so handy. All you have to do is plug in some values and let the spreadsheet tell you just how potent your favorite potable is.
Make spicy-sweet cocktails with pepper jelly
Sweet and spicy pepper jelly is equally at home and comfortable in a Bloody Mary or margarita. The amount you add will depend on the strength of your jelly, so add a little bit at a time until you find the sweet spot. Just make sure you strain after shaking. Those seeds can be lethal.
Make limoncello two different ways
Limoncello has a fancy reputation, but it is quite easy to make at home. You can make it two ways: Slowly, using a classic room-temperature infusion; or quickly, using a sous-vide immersion circulator. (Both are great.)
Turn watermelon rinds into a cordial
“Watermelon cordial” might conjure up visions of violently pink, Jolly Rancher-sweet liquids, but this no-waste cocktail syrup is more sweet-tart than sweet, slightly vegetal, and vividly green.
Make your own ranch water
Ranch water is like hard seltzer, only lighter and less sweet. You can buy it, but it’s an easy—and delightful—thing you can make yourself, with very few ingredients.
Put an olive in your spritz
Spritzes have been popular for many years now, but this was the first summer I saw them garnished with olives, a la the Venetian spritz. As a fan of pairing the salty and pungent with the sweet, I hope it’s a trend that sticks a round.
Make a daiquiri without any syrup
Liquor, citrus, and simple syrup are, according to nearly everyone in the cocktail community, the three ingredients you need to make a sour, including a daiquiri. Dave Wondrich, however, has a different take on the classic, and makes a streamlined daiquiri using plain old sugar.
Put some chili peppers in your crappy pink wine
I did not expect to like this maneuver at all, but it turns out putting a few slices of hot chili pepper into a glass of crappy rosé really does make it taste better, or at least a little more interesting.
Make creamy cocktails without any cream
Lactic acid and burrata water are not common cocktail ingredients by any means, but they can do incredible things if given the opportunity. The former brings a cultured tang, while the latter gives your drink a rounder, creamier mouthfeel without weighing it down.
Make your own mulling spices
Pre-packaged mulling spices aren’t just overpriced, they’re redundant. Don’t believe me? Check out your spice rack. You most likely have everything you need to make your own festive beverage blend.
Winterize your gin
Gin may not have a very wintry reputation, but there are several ways to get your favorite spirit in the holiday spirit, none of which involve stirring your martini with a candy cane.
Season your mimosa with bitters
A simple mimosa made of nothing but Champagne and fruit juice is pretty good, but a slightly less simple mimosa made with Champagne, juice, and bitters is better.
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