SEATTLE — Ben Paris assistant general manager and bar manager, Abigail Gullo, is basically a cocktail master. Not only is she able to whip up creative drinks on the Ben Paris menus, but she's a passionate cocktail historian, as well. She even has a podcast with her friend Elizabeth called Drink and Learn.
She's also a big proponent of classic cocktails, and both their simplicity and class. It also makes them easier to make them at home.
"I encourage people to just make the cocktails no matter what you have on hand," Abigail says. Although she does add that having the right tools does help.
According to Abigail, the term cocktail first appeared in a newspaper in Hudson, New York in 1806.
"It describes it as a concoction that involves spirit, bitters, sugar and water," Abigail says. "And it's supposed to renter you stout and bold, if not a little befuddled in the head."
We asked Abigail to show us how to make two iconic drinks- the daiquiri, and the Manhattan. Check out the recipes below.
1/3 oz simple syrup
1 oz lime juice
2 oz rum (any kind)
Pour that all into a shaker filled with ice, pop that top on and give it a good shake, and then strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. Abigail prefers using chilled glasses because it keeps the drinks colder, even as you sip them. And if you don't have a strainer? Use your fingers. Don't have a shaker? Coffee thermos with a top.
Simple syrup, which is equal parts water and sugar, is easy to make at home. Just throw a cup of water and a cup of sugar into a pot, boil it up until it dissolves, and there you have it. Abigail also suggests pouring the cheapest ingredients first- that way, if you mess up the recipe, you're probably not throwing out super expensive ingredients.
For the lime juice, Abigail suggests fresh limes. While it's easy to get the little lime squeeze bottles, it does make a big difference, taste-wise.
And here's a fun fact to send you off. The daiquiri was invented in a mining town in Cuba to act as a cure for malaria. The more you know!
2-4 dashes of bitters
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 oz rye whiskey
Combine those in a glass filled with ice, gently stir it, and strain it into a chilled glass of choice. Abigail uses Nick and Nora glasses, which are named after the hard-drinking characters in the popular Thin Man movies.
You'll notice bitters in this drink, too. "Bitters are like spices to a bartender like spices are to a chef," Abigail says. They only add flavor, no sugar, so they're great for flavoring drinks without adding any extra fat or sweetness.
And here's a fun fact- vermouth doesn't last very long, even refrigerated. It lasts about a week in the fridge, because it's essentially fortified wine- and wine doesn't last forever. So don't keep your bottle of vermouth too long, because it can turn your Manhattan from a smooth, rich drink to something not as delightful.
But remember, no matter what drink you make, you must always add the most important ingredient of them all- love!
Ben Paris | 130 Pike St, Seattle | 206-513-7303