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Summer Cocktails: How to tell a buck from a fizz

on 21/06/11 at 11:35 am

Booze News

Gin Fizz Cocktail in a highball

Cocktail nerds like me love taxonomy. We’re forever discussing issues of classification and categorization. What’s the difference between a sling and a toddy? How exactly does one define a punch? Is a daisy related to a cobbler?

It’s all a little obsessive, because when it comes to classic cocktails, the differences often boil down to relatively minor tweaks: lime juice in lieu of lemon juice; mixing in the glass versus shaking and straining; an orange twist instead of an orange wheel.

These differences can be almost imperceptible, and mostly irrelevant, to regular folks. Even now, years into the supposed cocktail renaissance, many still call anything served straight up in a V-shaped cocktail glass a “martini.”

Cocktail people dissect the classic concoctions because they are the basis of nearly all of the great, often wildly experimental drinks you find on contemporary cocktail menus. Learn the classics, and you’ll soon be able to invent your own interesting, well-made drinks simply by substituting a little of this for a little of that.

Perhaps the most confusing family of cocktails is the group of classic long drinks enjoyed when the weather gets hot: the highball, the Collins, the fizz, the rickey and the buck. The drinks seem almost interchangeable; they’re all various combinations of spirits and soda mixers, served over ice in a Collins or highball glass. But when you look closely, the way a cocktail nerd would, you’ll start to see that small variations make for big differences in taste.

{Full story via Washington Post}

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