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David A. Embury's Basic Principles
It should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors. It should whet rather than dull the appetite. Thus, it should never be sweet or syrupy, or contain too much fruit juice, egg or cream. It should be dry, with sufficient alcoholic flavor, yet smooth and pleasing to the palate. It should be pleasing to the eye. It should be well-iced.
quality of the cheapest ingredient.
The drink will never be better than the ______
Base, Modifying agent, Special flavouring and colouring agents
The three components of a cocktail
The principal ingredient of the cocktail. It is typically a single spirit such as rum, gin, or whiskey, and typically makes up 75 percent or more of the total volume of the cocktail before icing.
The ingredient that gives the cocktail its character. Its function is to soften the raw alcohol taste of the base, while at the same time to enhance its natural flavor. Typical modifying agents are aromatic wines (such as vermouth) and spirits (such as Fernet Branca or Amer Picon), bitters, fruit juices and "smoothing agents" such as sugar, eggs, and cream.
Special flavouring and colouring agents
Includes liqueurs (such as Grand Marnier or Chartreuse), Cordials, and non-alcoholic flavoured syrups (such as Grenadine or Orgeat syrup). These are typically used in place of simple syrup, and are to be used sparingly.
Cocktails of the Aromatic Type, Cocktails of the Sour Type
The two categories of cocktails
Cocktails of the Aromatic Type
This type uses modifying agents bitters or aromatic wines or spirits.
Cocktails of the Sour Type
This type uses modifying agents a fruit juice (typically, lemon or lime) and sugar. For these a ratio of 1 part sweet to 2 parts sour to 8 parts base is generally recommended.