(4/5) Gin and Tonic
We're still keeping things really basic with this drink. Jacob Ryan, the Brand Ambassador for Four Pillars Gin, says that you need to be able to get a basic 'one and one' kind of drink right before you move on to others. Mastering a gin and tonic will help us to nail ratios, an important part of crafting a proper drink. Stronger is not always better.
(3/5) Whiskey Sour
Hey, here's where that sour mix can come into play! You can either use your mix and just add whiskey, or you can use a classic recipe like this one. Chad Solomon tends bar at Midnight Rambler in Dallas. According to him, mastery of the whiskey sour is like opening a gateway to a whole new world... of booze. Learning to shake, chill, dilute and aerate gives you a leg up on all kinds of other drinks, plus the basic recipe can be slightly altered to make things like gimlets, daiquiris, fizzes and much more.
Jim Kearns, of Slowly Shirley in NYC, didn't even hesitate with his suggestion. According to him, a proper Manhattan is a must. Luckily, there are only three ingredients (four if you count garnish), and all it takes to do it right is to make sure you pick quality stuff and store it well. Get your ratios right, and you're good to go. Get them wrong, and your drink will taste like dollar-store hairspray. Trust us.
This drink has been popular since the 1800's; according to Kat Desonair with ViewHouse Eatery, Bar, and Rooftop in Centennial, CO, there's a reason. She says martinis can take the edge off after a long day or they can be the kick-off to a wild night. Like other drinks on the list, figuring this one out can help you make others. There's a wide and wonderful world of possible martini recipes, but nail down the classic and you'll get the rest of them, easy as pie. Oh, and by the way, they're not actually supposed to be shaken. Sorry, James Bond.