Sometimes I get the feeling that what we end up doing in life was planted in a random and completely unobtrusive way when we were younger. I’m not really surprised that I ended up as a recipe developer or a photographer, since I was surround by both in my home growing up.
What I’m really talking about is the eventual path to mixology. Anyone can make a cocktail,
grab some liquor, mixers, bitters and follow directions. There’s a little more to mixing up new drinks though and I swear it all started by our weekly outings to the local diner. It sounds strange but bear with me for a moment.
In pretty much any diner that you went to on Long Island, every table was laid out with the exact same paper placemat - pictures of classic cocktails with the ingredients listed below on how to mix them all up.
I was a pretty well behaved kid when we went out to eat, my parents didn’t need to bring toys to keep me entertained, and back in my youth we didn’t have iPhones and every other gadget imaginable. I was lucky to have a gameboy!
Nope, what I did while I waited for breakfast or my burger to come was either color with the provided crayons or read that placemat. Do you know how often we went to the diner? A lot. I can picture that placemat right now and clearly I feel like it was a deep seated path that I would start mixing up all these cocktails one day for my job!
By the time I was old enough to have my first drink, I remember my dad handing me a Tom Collins to try, just like one of the classics on the placemat! I didn’t like it much then, but it took time to appreciate the taste of gin.
These days, I’ll have one if it’s offered but I certainly prefer to take the base recipe and shake things up a little bit. The lemon juice has been swapped for ruby red grapefruit juice while they are still in season, and I added just a splash of Campari for color and bitterness. In general I tend to go towards bitter over sweet with my drinks.
This blushing grapefruit Collins ends up wonderfully refreshing and easy to mix together after a long day at work. Frankly, I think the classic might have been replaced!