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What’s in Name? Everything!
A signature cocktail is a creative opportunity for the amateur or professional mixologist to truly show their passion for cocktails. Mixologists generally incorporate seasonal local ingredients, party themes and regional flavors when devising their cocktail. For instance, Giuseppe Cipriani created the Bellini by using summer white peach juice and Italian sparkling wine. While there are no hard and set rules when it comes to creating a signature cocktail, here are some simple steps that you can take to concoct your own personal masterpiece.
Choose a Base Spirit
A base spirit is the canvas of a signature cocktail. Everything that you pick to incorporate into the drink must highlight the taste of the base spirit. Select a base spirit that you prefer to drink such as gin, tequila, rum or vodka, etc. Mix things up by using a spirit that is flavored, locally distilled or aged. Use 1.5 ounces of base spirit per cocktail.
Fruit juice subdues the intense alcohol flavors in base spirits. Again, there is no hard rule when it comes to what kind of juice to use. Citrus juices will contribute a delicious sourness to the cocktail; meanwhile, a fruit juice will infuse a sweet flavor. Avoid being too heavy handed with sweet fruit juices, because you risk creating something that tastes more like a juice box than a cocktail that has well balanced flavors. If you wind up using too much, add some seltzer water to dilute the juice. Try using approximately ¾ ounce of juice to begin with and add more or less depending on what tastes great to you.
Select a Liqueur
A liqueur is any spirit that has been sweetened or flavored with oils, extracts, creams, syrups, herbs, etc. They add complexity to cocktails and highlight the flavor of the base spirit. There are thousands of different liqueurs available, so you have ample opportunity to get creative. One way to choose one is to smell the liqueur and then smell your base spirit and juice. If the smells compliment each other, there is a good chance that they will taste great when mixed. Experiment with the amount you want to use by slowly pouring some into your cocktail then tasting the mixture.
Garnishes bestow a visually appealing touch to signature cocktails. There are a number of different options to choose from:
Make the cocktail really pop by selecting a garnish that contrasts with the color of the cocktail. Be sure to select a garnish that compliments the cocktail and highlights its complex flavor profile.
Name that Cocktail
Naming the cocktail is always everyone’s favorite part. You can use your own name, the name of your state, a friend’s name, the ingredients used in the cocktail or the season as a source of inspiration. When serving your cocktail at a party, be sure to create a label. You can also include the recipe that you used, so that your new signature drink can reach the same notoriety as the Bellini, Mojito and Bloody Mary.