New York Bar Association

Just this past Thursday, I taught of class of very enthusiastic and very thirsty lawyers.

The class theme, was to learn the basics on how to create a delicious summer cocktail.   Along the way we discussed bar tools and their use;  The art of creating a balance cocktail using acid, sugar and alcohol; Some tidbits about a fellow lawyer named David August Embury, who also happened to be a cocktail enthusiast  and wrote one of the most influential cocktail books of his time called “The Fine Art of Mixing drinks” . 

Lastly the  path of cocktail creation through time and the basics of what makes, Vodka Vodka, Gin Gin and Tequila Tequila..

This week, in honor of my students from the NY Bar Association, I am going to discuss  Mr. Embury and his theory’s.

Plus the cocktails created in class.  Tune in next week for  the “basics on how vodka is produce”

 David Augustus Embury: November 3, 1886 in Pine Woods, New York – July 6, 1960.

was a senior tax partner with the respected Manhattan law firm of  Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle.

Embury makes it clear that he had “never been engaged in any of the manifold branches of the liquor business” and that his experience was “entirely as a consumer “.  He possessed an insatiable curiosity about the whys and wherefores of many things and particularly of food and drinks.” Embury’s was passionate about quality cocktail’s and used that passion to write a book called The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948), a classic encyclopedia of the 20th century cocktail.

  Embury’s Basic principles

  •A drink will never be any better than the quality of the cheapest ingredient in it

  Components of a cocktail

  •The base is the principal ingredient of the cocktail. and typically makes up 75 percent or

more of the total volume of the cocktail

• The modifying agent is 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. i.e. vermouth, campari etc

 • Special flavoring and coloring agents include liqueurs (such as Grand Marnier or Chartreuse) Cordials, and non-alcoholic flavored Syrups (such as Grenadine or Orgeat syrup)

  Categories of cocktails

 •Cocktails of the Aromatic Type use as modifying agents bitters or aromatic wines or spirits.

•Cocktails of the Sour Type use as 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.

•The idea that a drink must be made according to one exact recipe preposterous, and that the final arbiter is always your taste.

Once one understands the basic components of each type of drink, new cocktails can be created by substituting a different base or modifying agent or by adding a special flavoring or coloring agent.

Using these theory’s and basic principles of balance: Acid, Sugar and alcohol anybody can make a great cocktail.


The cocktails we created were:

Coconut Colada2 oz Cîroc Coconut

1 oz pineapple juice

.5 oz whole milk

Directions: Starting from the least expensive ingredient first, pour each into the mixing glass.

add ice and shake vigorously. Using your hawthorn strainer strain the liquid into a rocks glass filled

with fresh ice. Squeeze a lime wedge over the top of the drink and then throw in.

Glassware:  Rocks glass

Garnish: Squeeze of Lime


Hot Pink

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1.5 oz Fresh Watermelon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup

Directions: Add 1 slice of 1/4 inch think jalapeno into the mixing glass,
next add simple syrup and muddle the two together until the jalapeno is broken up.
tip for a hotter cocktail add the jalapeno seeds, less spicy remove them.
2nd- wash hand thoroughly to remove all the oils from your fingers

Next add watermelon, lime juice, Don Julio Blanco and ice shake vigorously.
Using your hawthorn strainer strain the liquid into a rocks glass filled
with fresh ice. Squeeze a lime wedge over the top of the drink and then throw in.
Glassware: Martini glass or Rocks glass
Garnish: Watermelon slice or lime wheel

Coconut Caiprioska
1 whole lime cut into quarters
2 spoonfuls of sugar
2 oz Cîroc Coconut
Top with soda water
Shake and strain over ice

Directions: Add 1 whole lime cut into quarters into the mixing glass,
next add 2 spoonfuls of sugar and muddle the two together until the lime
juice is extracted.

tip for less sweet, add less sugar and vica versaNext add Ciroc Coconut and ice, shake vigorously.
Using your hawthorn strainer strain the liquid into a highball glass filled
with fresh ice, top with club soda
Glassware: Highball
Garnish: Lime Wedge


Cucumber Fresh
1.5 oz Tanqueray Ten
3 cucumber slices
4 leaves of mint
.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup

Directions: In the mixing glass add 3 slices of english cucumber sliced a 1/4 inch thick,  mint and simple syrup.
Muddle them together until cucumber juice is extracted. Next add lime juice, Tanqueray Ten and ice.Shake vigrously and using your hawthorn strainer strain the liquid into an ice cold martini glass

Glassware: martini glass
Garnish: Cucumber wheel

Good luck and if you would like to learn something about vodka, turn in next week for my next post.

Saving the world one cocktail at a time!!


~ by duffontherocks on June 8, 2010.

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