To help you get a more in-depth understanding of cocktails, it is important to learn about the different families of drinks. Once you grasp this, it will be much easier for you not only to identify and
the ‘anatomy’ of a drink but also help you create your own cocktails in the future. This list comes from ‘The joy of Mixology’ written by Gary Regan, which I highly recommend for you to buy and read.I have also added come categories that were omitted in the book. Here are the families:
Champagne cocktails- Cocktails that contain champagne or any other sparkling wine. Examples: French 75, Champagne cocktail, Mimosa, Bellini, Kir Royale, Old Cuban.
Cobblers- Made with a dominant base liquor and a sweetening agent, such as simple syrup, grenadine, or a liqueur; They are built in glasses, filled with crushed ice and garnished with an abundance of fruits. Examples: Jamaican Cobbler, Bourbon Peach Cobbler.
Swizzles- A drink composed of spirit, sugar, citrus, bitters, and crushed ice. Built in a tall glass and swizzled with the swizzle stick until the glass is frosted. Examples: Rum Swizzle, Sailor’s Swizzle, Queen’s Park Swizzle.
Duos and Trios- Duos are cocktails that call for two ingredients, usually a spirit and a liqueur; Trios call for cream or a cream liqueur to be added to the duo. Examples: Black/White Russian, Rusty nail, Godfather, Alexander, Grasshopper.
French-Italian drinks- Cocktails that contain either sweet, dry or white vermouth or any other vermouth relations such as Lillet. Examples: Martini, Manhattan, Rob Roy, Vesper, Blood and Sand.
Frozen drinks- Cocktails that are blended with ice to create a slush-like texture, most of these are fruity and exotic. Examples: Frozen Daiquiri, Frozen Margarita, Frozen Pina Colada.
Highballs- Built in highball glasses; they call for a base spirit and are filled up with a mixer. Examples: Pimm’s Cup, Cuba Libre, Gin and Tonic, Salty dog, Screwdriver.
Bucks: Highbal style drinks that are topped up with either ginger beer or ginger ale. Examples: Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy.
Hot drinks- Like the name suggest these are alcoholic drinks that are served hot. Examples: Hot Toddy, Irish Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum.
Juleps- Cocktails that use mint as a flavouring agent. Examples: Mint Julep, Southside.
Milanese drinks- A small family that uses Campari Liqueur as an ingredient. Examples: Negroni, Valentino, Americano, Milano-Torino.
Muddled drinks- Cocktails that are made by crushing some of the ingredients with a muddler before adding ice and spirits. Examples: Caipirinha, Caipiroska, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Mojito.
Pousse-cafes- Layered drinks that are made by floating one ingredient on top of another, or several others, to create a multi-layered effect. Examples: B-52, Slippery Nipple.
Punches- Made in large quantities for parties and other social gatherings. Usially made with five ingredients and served in a punch bowl. Examples: Fish House Punch, Artillery Punch.
Snappers- An old term used for savoury drinks that use ingredients such as tomato juice, beef bouillon and clam juice. Examples: Bloody Mary, Bullshot, Red Snapper.
Sours- There are many types of sours coming from different areas of America, but in general they are cocktails that call for a base liquor, either a lime or a lemon juice as the souring agent, and are sweetened by a liqueur, fruit juice or just plain sugar syrup. Examples: Daiquiri, Aviation, Whiskey Sour, Last Word, Side Car, Cosmopolitan, Margarita.
Sparkling Sours- Sour style cocktails topped up Soda or any other carbonated soft drink. Examples, Tom Collins, Long Island Iced Tea, Ramos Gin Fizz.
Tropical drinks- Fruity and mainly Rum based cocktails originating from exotic places. Examples: Mai Tai, Planters Punch, Hurricane, Zombie, Pina Colada.
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Fill a pitcher a third of the way with crushed ice and add all the ingredients. Churn vigorously until frothing (or shake in a large shaker) and strain into 4 rocks glasses filled with fresh ice. Garnish each with orange slice, pineapple cube and a cherry.