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08.25.10 by  

2-1-1 is the E=mc2 of Intellectual Cocktail Circles

If Einstein were a mixologist, he would’ve used this formula for calculating the perfect drink every time.

We’re calling it The Theory of Mixology and it’s mathematical cocktail genius: 2 parts Strong + 1 part Sweet + 1 part Sour add up to Sip Nirvana every time you shake, relatively speaking. Put this formula into action whether you’re mixing in ounces for a single cocktail, cups for a few friends or gallons for a massive house party (or post domestic squabble). As with any scientific method, a few factors come into play.

The key to successful house parties is a mixture of spirits, syrups and citrus.

Strong. This is the good stuff. The juice, the sauce, the reason for being. It ends up being half the content of your cocktail, so steer clear of house-quality brands or anything your staff gifted you at the holiday party. Spike with swill and you’ve ruined your drink. A theory: Start with liquor you’re willing to sip on its own.

Sweet. Think cane sugar, raw honey and maple syrup — they’re the mother’s milk of your formula. Cut their sweetness with warm water at a 1:1 ratio before using so they’re a consistency that’s conducive to mixing. Thick = yuck (yep, these are real scientific terms). To do: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 1 cup of sweet to combine. Don’t boil once mixed because evaporation will skew the ratios. Cool the mixture and store in a glass bottle for easy pouring. You can also use sweet fruit jams or juices.

Sour. It’s your citrus fruit component, and basically the only antioxidants getting near your cocktail habit so don’t overlook. Generally, these are limes or lemons. We say channel your inner mad scientist and throw in a grapefruit, kumquat, orange or clementine. Heck, a pomelo even. The funkier, the more interesting.

Taste drinks using a straw (to sample your experiment and dupe guests into thinking you’re not leaving your DNA on the glass). Do this before adding ice, which begins diluting the cocktail the moment it hits, making every second count. Ask yourself: Does the mix taste too tart, boozy or sweet, or have you nailed the ratio? Make adjustments to any of the three components to balance the flavor. Also consider whether the mixture would be rounded out by layering one more element, think apple juice, vermouth or bitters. Here, it’s anything goes.

Shake the magic potion over ice, longer when serving cocktails up and less when serving over ice. Fight the urge to add any pseudo-sexy hip or shoulder moves while shaking. Trust us, it never looks like you imagine it does.

Garnish cocktails with orange, lemon or lime twists for the classic route. We say, go off radar and look for herbs like mint or basil to add another dimension to the experience.

2-1-1 Raw Cane Daiquiri

  • 2 parts rum (we like Charbay)
  • 1 part cane sugar simple syrup
  • 1 part lime juice
  1. Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.

2-1-1 Gimlet

  • 2 parts vodka or gin
  • 1 part cane sugar simple syrup
  • 1 part lime juice
  1. Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a basil leaf, spanked and twisted to release aroma.

Next time you hit a house party, scavenge (or better yet, bring…) the best spirit in the house, mix yourself a tall one using the theory and watch all the mystery punch drinkers try to snag your drink.