Master Mixologist Says Creating a New Cocktail is a Science
on 05/12/10 at 8:47 pmSpirits
It’s not hard to invent a new cocktail. Pick a few bottles off the shelf, combine the ingredients in random proportions and assign it a naughty name. Whether it’s possible to choke it down is another question altogether.
How does one create a drinkable drink? Is it a matter of inspiration or dogged experimentation? For bartender Derek Brown, it is most decidedly the latter. He resides over a snug bar-within-a-bar, Washington D.C.’s Columbia Room, named this year by GQ as one of the 25 best cocktail bars in America.
He takes a minimalist method of mixing drinks, an approach rooted in the least flashy, most deceptively simple of cocktails, the Martini. It is a method that focuses on fundamental technique rather than wild flights of mixological fancy. After all, when making a Martini one is usually using only two ingredients, gin and dry vermouth—success or failure comes down to the quality of the ingredients and the way one handles them. (Mr. Brown is obsessive enough to use a thermometer so that every Martini he serves across the bar is exactly 30 degrees.)