Love & Sex

Happy Hour: All Hail the Cocktail Chef

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The other night, a bunch of us decided to have a schmancy cocktail party, inspired in no small part by a recent visit to the Sidebar in Oakland. We each came prepared with a signature cocktail recipe and its makings, with the idea that everyone would play bartender at least once, then it’d be a free-for-all with the remaining ingredients. As far as I can remember, it was an absolute success.

It was also an excellent reminder of how fun fancy cocktails can really be — we so rarely order them out now that the $11 martini has become a standard. The good news? You can have your own signature cocktail night without completely breaking the bank. First invest in a decent bar book:

[$10, Amazon]

[$17, Amazon]

Also check out Webtender for a pretty hilarious "online bartender" that will recommend drinks based on what you have in your arsenal. Really, the DIY fancy cocktail is all about imagination.

Next, consider having a copy of Cocktail on hand. We found that after three or four rounds, it was, as the box claims, "totally entertaining:"

[$14, Amazon]

And in case you need more inspiration, here was my signature cocktail recipe:

The Earl Grey Martini
• 2 shots of earl grey-infused gin
• 1 ounce of lemon juice
• 1 ounce of simple syrup
• 1 egg white

To "easy infuse" the tea and gin, simply put five or six bags of earl grey in a decent bottle of gin and let it sit at least overnight in the refrigerator. Pour all ingredients except egg white into a shaker, shake thoroughly, then pour into a glass. Beat the egg white until semi-firm, and top each drink with a dollop. Delicious!