I guess I should start by making sure that no one gets the wrong impression about the drinking habits at the Willoughby house. First of all, we have a cocktail or two (or a few glasses of wine)over an hour or two. We're not getting drunk, and under no circumstances are we driving. I'm not gonna lie, we like our alcoholic beverages around here, but we're responsible about enjoying them, and I urge you to do the same, okay? I feel better having said that. Let's move on.
Since I know that we are going to make cocktails on Friday evenings, I usually start searching for recipes on Friday afternoon. We rarely follow a recipe, but I like to look at a few for inspiration. Sometimes we're trying to create a particular color or flavor, sometimes we want to try something new, and sometimes we want to use what we already have without buying a new ingredient. There are also times, like this past Friday, when one of us wants something with a particular flavor. I really wanted something with coconut rum, it's one of my favorites. Thus, the Island Sunset was created.
Most of our drinks turn out well, but some need tweaking and some end up down the drain. I don't post the drinks that don't make the cut, but trust me, we've had more than a few that were undrinkable. Most notably, the mixed berry and spiced rum concoction. It sounded like a good idea but it was vile.
If you are thinking of having a cocktail night at your house, here's a few tips I'd like to pass along.
- There are thousands of sites on the internet that have cocktail recipes. Some are great, some are not. Most of these sites allow users to submit their own recipes and they are published without review. There's nothing wrong with that except that some recipes are far from bar/restaurant quality. Think college kids/frat house.
- Use a measuring cup to get an accurate measurement of your bar equipment and glasses. We have shot glasses that are supposed to be double shots (2 oz.) but actually only hold 1 1/2 ounces. We wouldn't have known if we hadn't checked them for accuracy with water and a measuring cup. Also, you wouldn't want to try to fill a 6 oz. glass with an 8 oz. drink.
- If you want to make a frozen drink, check to see if the recipe calls for ice cubes or crushed ice before adding the ingredients to your blender. A full cup of ice cubes equals about 1/2 cup or less of crushed ice. If you substitute one for the other, you must adjust accordingly or your drink will have the wrong consistency.
I'm glad that so many of you seem to enjoy our Friday Night Drink Demos. We love creating them and plan to continue. With spring here and summer just down the road, we'll be moving our operation from the kitchen to the backyard bar very soon. I'd like to share some pictures of the bar and possibly the instructions on how to build your own. We built ours a few years ago and it's construction and materials are a bit unusual.
Oh, and the sneak peek I promised? We're hoping to get a little sophisticated and share some classic cocktails with you. Since the creation of the Bikini Bottom, we're interested in concocting some more layered drinks, too.
If the spirit moves you (pun intended) to try any of the drinks I post, please be sure to share your thoughts on it with me. Tell me if you loved it, hated it (I can take it) or made any changes to it. I'm always up for suggestions, too. If you have a drink recipe or just a vague idea that you think we should try, let me know.