Every house should have a signature drink — one that reflects your personal style and comes out perfectly every time. With master mixologists rising to star status in the culinary world, there are experts dedicated to helping you perfect great cocktails with a sure hand. Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon in San Francisco partners with Pottery Barn to shake up some favorites in your well–equipped home bar right here in Lehigh Valley. Each of Jonny's drink recipes celebrates a classic cocktail that was created in one of America's great cities. Map it, mix it, taste it and have fun adding a little Pennsylvania flair to create your special house drink. That's a great party in itself.
Depending on how many guests you're inviting, you can mix a drink or two at a time, or you can make large batches and serve them in drink dispensers.
In either case, you'll want to have your mise en place prepped in advance. Just before your party begins, wash herbs and place in a glass as you would for flowers. This way, you can pluck fresh leaves right from the stem. Slice any fruit or vegetable garnishes and place in separate finger bowls with a few ice cubes to maintain freshness. For anything that browns, like apple, wait till you're ready to serve before slicing – or sprinkle a little fresh lemon juice over the slices if they need to last an hour or two.
Have plenty of bar towels on hand. Reaching for linen rather than a paper towel to wipe up a spill elevates the look and feel of your presentation, which is a significant part of the experience of enjoying well–crafted cocktails. Have a couple stacks of freshly washed, neatly folded bar towels right next to your prep area for anyone who wants to try their hand at tending bar.
If you're prepping large batches, make sure all the ingredients — including spirits, juices and garnishes — are cold prior to mixing. This will minimize dilution as the temperature rises. You can even freeze any fruit garnishes in advance to keep your concoctions cold. Then, be sure to place your drink dispensers on stands for easy pouring and in a shady spot to keep everything cool.
If guests are helping themselves, make the presentation very clear. Hand–stamped cardstock tied to lids label each drink. Print ingredients on the reverse in case anyone has questions about the concoction. Set plenty of appropriate glassware right next to the dispenser, using trays to clarify which glass and garnish goes with which cocktail. Monogramming is a nice way to create a unified look between several varieties of glassware. Have plenty of serving platters on hand, lots of small plates plus small bowls for olive pits, and extra napkins.
Reusable straws are a fun accompaniment for summer punches. Place a dozen in a Mason Jar Mug so guests can choose one if they wish.
Don't limit your presentation to merely a buffet or a dining table, but consider setting up various tasting stations all around the dining and living rooms, on console tables and side tables.
Ice Scoop — With its simple, classic design, our Thurston Scoop cracks, scoops and strains what's arguably the most important ingredient of any artisan cocktail — ice. Muddler — By acting as a short pestle, our carved–wood muddler crushes fruits, herbs, sugar and ice right in the glass.
Bar knife — The Thurston Bar Knife slices garnishes on the spot for ultimate freshness. A serrated tip allows you to pick up and transfer garnish to glass.
Jigger — Unless you've mastered the art of the free pour, a jigger helps you measure the perfect shot every time, which is essential once you've found the ideal proportions of your signature cocktail.
Bottle opener — For a simple tool like this, which is an obvious must–have in every bar, a little style goes a long way. Our Mermaid Bottle Opener brings vintage charm to an ever–useful everyday object.
Hand juicer — Squeeze citrus juice, minus the seeds. Our Thurston Hand Juicer allows you to use the freshest juices in small quantities — perfect for the home bar.
Stirrer — Use the Thurston Stirrer to combine ingredients evenly without bruising fruit or herbs — and without any splashing.
Zester — Cut thin strips of citrus rind for maximum zing. A burst of citrus oil will accompany each freshly cut twist, imbuing the drink with fresh flavor and aroma.
Strainer — Our Thurston Strainer lets you shake or stir, then strain away ice and herbs.
Corkscrew — Learn to open bottles like a pro. Whether you're opening a simple table wine or a locally bottled raspberry shrub to mix in one of your signature cocktails, it's likely that you'll need a simple corkscrew within reach.