I'm a big supporter of "culinary" cocktails, or "farmers market" cocktails: drinks made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingedients like berries, herbs, exotic spices, even different types of vegetables. But I'm also aware that this can be taken to the extreme, to a point where you have so many different ingredients in one cocktail competing against one another, leaving something to be desired n the final product.
I love simple, sublime cocktails that call on 3 to 4 ingredients to work its magic. And some of the best "farmers market" or "culinary" cocktails that I've had called on just a few ingredients to create a truly transcending drinking experience. And that got me to thinking. As much as I like the culinary side of mixology (most of my own creations fall into the "farmers market" cocktail category as of late), I'm an even bigger fan of classic cocktails...2 to 4 ingredients, usually all alcoholic in nature, often with the addition of aromatic bitters. The Manhattan (sweet vermouth and whisky, dash of bitters), Blood & Sand (Scotch, Cherry Heering, Vermouth and Fresh orange Juice), Sazerac, (spectacular Rye Whisky cocktail that's now the official drink of New Orleans), The Aviation, Brandy Crusta, Sidecar, Pegu Club, Mint Julep, etc. When drinking, these are the cocktail I most want to imbibe. And when creating cocktails, I try to stick with the tradtional formulas that make these classics so appealing.
So with that in mind, I embark on creating a new whisky cocktail this afternoon. 3 to 4 ingredients. A base spirit, a modifier (probably an herbal liqueur of some sort), and of course, bitters (perhaps my new grapefruit-infused bitters).