I recently got behind the bar with with Tad Carducci: a tippler of the highest order, and we made some mean manhattans! The Tippling Bros are two guys with one vision; to help the world drink better… and that’s just what I learned more about. Because I believe that you can never stop learning, or you don’t grown, and in order to make sure Somm In The City readers are drinking better, I took a cocktail class with Tad and have a ton to share with you.

“Building a beautiful cocktail involves science, but it’s not rocket science. It is an art and craft to build the perfect cocktail” – Tad Carducci.

So, what goes into building the perfect cocktail? 

  1. IMG_5872Great ingredients make great cocktails. Now, some of you may say, “I already knew that”, but just because you know, doesn’t always mean you have the best ingredients in your home to craft the perfect cocktail.
  2. Fundamentals are needed! Technique and knowing the difference between a shaken vs. a layered cocktail is key to knowing what you’re doing behind the bar, whether at home or at work.
  3. Spirits are the backbone to building the cocktail… so make sure they’re quality driven.

So, now that you can build a cocktail, what do you need behind your bar?

  1. 30oz Mixing Tin + Pint Glass that fits into the mixing tin. You can also use a Cobbler Shaker, which is very common in the home bar area of many stores (hint: it’s usually labeled as a cocktail or martini shaker). 
  2. Mixing Glass- this is essential for boozy cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan (two of my favorite cocktails).
  3. Jigger– 2oz and 1oz
  4. Strainers- Hawthorne Strainer and a Julep Strainer. You may need both if you get pretty serious about crafting specific cocktails at home, however a regular hawthorne strainer will do just fine for all your cocktail needs if two strainers don’t fit your budget.

IMG_5907Now that you have some craft cocktail basics, it’s time to craft your perfect cocktail. When I was with Tad, I made a Cocoa Walnut Manhattan using Cocoa Liqueur, Walnut Liqueur, Red Vermouth, and Bourbon. Ultimately he could not decide between my manhattan and Sara from the Lush Life’s hibiscus manhattan, so we both won and got to enjoy them. If you want to learn more about unique cocktails you can craft at home, Tad and Paul  of Tippling Bros just came out with a great cocktail book: A Lime and a Shaker- Discovering Mexican Inspired Cocktails. $18.99 and filled with plenty of recipes to keep your thirst quenched all summer long!