Pre-prohibition cocktails were simple drinks, mostly spirit with little else. Modern cocktails on the other hand, have become an art form of their own, with many high-end bars and restaurants employing Mixologists (cocktail sommeliers).
Like cooking, the cocktail is all about the balance of sugar, salt and acid. A mixologist's goal is to achieve this optimal balance in a creative way.
Read below the jump for some favorite modern cocktail recipes:
Jason Kosmas of Cocktail Conceptions - New York, NY, Adapted by StarChefs
This cocktail is a variation of the traditional Brandy Sidecar. Calvados is an aged brandy made from a variety of apples grown in the Normandy region of France. An inexpensive Calvados that is brown in color will add a rich flavor to this sweet-sour cocktail.
Yield: 1 Serving
1 lemon wedge
Superfine sugar, as needed
1 1/2 ounces Calvados
3/4 ounce Beretzen Apple Liquor
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 orange twist
Use a lemon wedge to wet the rim of a Martini glass and twirl it in superfine sugar. Shake off all excess and set aside. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass sugar rim. Garnish with orange twist.
Pumpkin Nog - a great holiday "Nog"
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist
1 fifth Southern Comfort
12 jumbo eggs
5 cups of whole milk
1/2 lb superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
*1/2 cup pumpkin puree same as used in Pumpkin Pie
Separate eggs. Set egg whites in the refrigerator. In a mixing bowl, beat yolks until creamy. Gradually add 1/4 lb of sugar, beating at high speeds until thick. Stir in milk, Southern Comfort, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. Remove egg whites from the refrigerator and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 lb sugar, beating until stiff peaks. Fold the chilled Southern Comfort mixture into the egg whites. Serve in a goblet, garnish with freshy grated nutmeg.