Posted by Dennis Oakley on February 11, 2017
Hi BarBackers! Welcome to our newest blog series: "Lounge Cocktails".
For starters, Wikipedia defines a cocktail as follows: "A term used to refer to any generic alcoholicmixed drink, cocktail may mean any beverage that contains two or more ingredients if at least one of those ingredients contains alcohol." When a mixed drink contains only a distilled spirit and a mixer, such as soda or fruit juice, it is a highball; many of the International Bartenders Association Official Cocktails are highballs. When a cocktail contains only a distilled spirit and a liqueur, it is a duo and when it adds a mixer, it is a trio. Additional ingredients may be sugar, honey, milk, cream, and various herbs, mixing agents and fermented extracts.
Lounge Cocktails, which fall under the relatively new-age category of "Craft Cocktails", can be loosely defined as any type of craft or classic "sipping" cocktail that is typically enjoyed while sitting and conversing with others in a relaxed atmosphere or in a "chill", comfortable environment. This is where the term "Cocktail Lounge" came about in the early 1930's, when referring to popular, pricey high-end taverns and exclusive parlors, pubs or "lounging" hotel bars. In 2017, most often these craft cocktails can be found and enjoyed at trendy cocktail bars, gastro-eateries, retro-speakeasys, martini lounges and of course: cocktail lounges. However, fresh mixed artisinal cocktaisl are not a modern phenomenon. In fact, it’s a tradition that goes back as far as formal fermentation. Even in the Iliad, Homer wrote of epic heroes drinking wine mixed with goat cheese and ground barley. 
America’s foremost mixologist, Dale DeGroff developed his extraordinary techniques and talent for over twenty years tending bar at great establishments most notably, New York City's famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating great classic cocktails. DeGroff is a most notable pioneer in the "Craft Cocktail" Industry.
It would be rare to find a hand-crafted Lounge Cocktail served at a heavy metal concert or in the stands of any American football game. Due to the resurgence of craft cocktails in current popular bar trends, more and more home/amateur & hobbyist mixologists are mimicking their favorite cocktail venues menus. Many are adopting an affinity for decadent, tasty and provocative Lounge Cocktails by mixing and indulging in the comfort of their own homes.
Prominent professional mixologists and bar tenders will always be on the cutting edge of current industry trends, however astute non-professional enthusiasts are certainly always in contention for creating the next new recipe or technique.
The main common characteristic of all Lounge Cocktails includes having a balanced finish of fresh mixed ingredients with a substantially high "alcohol-to-mixture" ratio per portion, and should preferably have minimal ice in the glass (so as to not dilute the drink). Many jigger-slingers of today opt for either a large ice-sphere or a hand-chiseled large ice cube to keep the drink perfectly cooled. This allows one to take their time and enjoy each sip, as it will not become watered down and diluted. In addition, the bartender's concoctions will be consistently balanced throughout and maintain it's intended palatability. Proper chilling and mixing techniques should always be learned and utilized while fresh garnishes are always a must (anything floral is an added bonus). Creative garnishes with artistic arrangements are not mandatory, but definitely add pleasure to the experience.
Other than that, there are not many "rules" in the craft cocktail game. Originality is key while also maintaining reverence to the classics, proper balance and technique, (especially the tried and tested knowledge passed down through the last 150 years or so).
The ideal artisanally crafted Lounge Cocktail, will stimulate as many senses as possible by providing optimal taste, aromatics, color, temperature, aesthetics, alcohol content, fresh garnishment and glassware. Sometimes even auditory stimulation plays a role (as when chipping ice or shaking and stirring drinks during preparation).
This level of beverage quality can be likened to the fine cuisine of a Master Chef. The same standards are also prevalent, and are strived for by spirits distillers, beer brewers and wine producers.
Lounge Cocktails (like all "craft cocktails"), are born via part artistic interpretation and part science experiment. There is room for much creativity, and most importantly FUN, for a mixologist who can understand the theory, history and techniques of our "Modern Cocktail Culture". There is evidence of people mixing beverages together going back as far as Ancient Egyptian times, and this has continually evolved in many cultures world-wide throughout the ages. All popular cocktails in current times are an evolution of North American, South American and European pop culture dating back nearly a century before the "speakeasy era" of Prohibition in the United States (1919–1933), and will surely continue to develop into the future.
Have Fun & Happy Mixing!
Here's an original recipe of ours that we would like to share:
The "BEDSIDE MANNERS" COCKTAIL
YOU WILL NEED:
-A BARBACK TOOL
-ONE PINT MIXING GLASS
-ONE LARGE SHAKER TIN
-A HAWTHORNE DRINK STRAINER
-ONE 12 OZ ROCKS GLASS,
-ONE FRESH ORANGE.
-This cocktail is shaken and strained into a chilled rocks glass containing one extra large ice-cube or an ice-sphere.
THE ORIGINAL "BEDSIDE MANNERS" COCKTAIL
This is our first cocktail of this series.
Stay tuned for new recipes, stories, legends, "bar-lore" and more in our weekly blogs.
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