Fancy mixology is impressive and all, but when you're entertaining guests, you've got enough things to remember (Order that case of red! Why's the lasagna on fire?).
So here's a good idea: Commit to committing one easy cocktail ratio to memory.
My party standby is a little go-to concoction I call the "Blood & Something," an open-source riff on the classic Blood & Sand.
The original dazzler is composed of three-quarters ounce each of sweet vermouth, whisky, orange juice, and that cherry herring you've never known what to do with.
Shaken with ice and strained into a nice coupe, it's balanced, slightly acidic--and just strong enough to ensure your guests don't realize that your flatware doesn't match.
Use the mnemonic S-W-O-C to remember the ingredients.
Got it? OK, now forget the rules and and try substituting whatever you've got on hand for each of the components. Because this magical ratio of vermouth, brown spirit, juice and weird cherry herring is the booze blueprint that forgives a replacement or two and welcomes any weird name you'll throw at it. Just use equal parts of each component to retain some semblance of balance.
No whisky? Use rye and call it the Blood & Turf, a bromide for entertaining bros and bromos alike.
Cleaning lady "spill" the sweet vermouth? Swap in Antica Campano for a Blood & Terraza.
Out of OJ? Try grapefruit for a "Blood & Field" with your lady friends.
Go wild, you jazz artist of boozes! Print out this article, cut along the dotted lines of our cheat-sheet below, and shove it into your wallet or pocket-book until you get the drift. May the blood flow freely.
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