As the pandemic draws out, your home bar supplies may start to dwindle. And while we always advise restocking, giving your local distillers and other producers some much-needed business right now, sometimes you just can’t.
Which is why we’ve included a few handy tips for stretching out the lifespan of your bar, even when supplies grow meager.
Infuse cheaper spirits.
It’s a great way to make a bottom-shelf bottle or rum or vodka sing. For the former, add things like orange peel and baking spices and let it rest for a week or two before straining. Because vodka is such a blank canvas, you can impart just about anything, from juice concentrates and berries to fresh herbs found on a walk. If you’re not in the mood for infusions, employ your bitters more generously than usual. An extra few dashes can mask even the most mediocre spirits.
If you haven’t bought into the Dirty Martini, now’s the time. In fact, you can add filth to a variety of cocktails with brine like pickle or olive juice in your fridge. It adds volume and a nice sour and savory kick. If things get dire, just go with a good old fashioned pickle back to chase that shot of brown liquor.
In the spirit of rationing, just go with less alcohol. Sub in non-alcoholic additions like flavored bubbly water and serve in smaller glassware to make you think you’re getting more. Depending on the cocktail, a reliable filler like cucumber water or pineapple juice can patch a lot of holes. And, in times like these, there’s no harm in diluting a classic cocktail with a little water.
It’s amazing how a little bit of something like nutty Disaronno or tropical Falernum can turn a cocktail on its head. Use these game-changering liqueurs and tinctures to inject a new flavor profile in a familiar drink and trick you into thinking your three-ingredient cocktail (now four) is farm more exotic than it is. The folks at Portland-based BG Reynolds make some great tiki-minded additions in smaller bottles that will last a long time.
Chill it down.
If Coors has taught us anything, an average product tastes all the better chilled. If you’re mixing up gin and tonics or Manhattans with entry-level hooch, you can up the tolerability by simply shaking it all down in ice. You’ll be astonished at how a drop in temperature takes a bit of the sting out of the drink. And, as spring really sets in, you might be looking for something colder and more refreshing anyhow.
A great way to stretch out a cocktail is add sparkling wine. The cheapest Prosecco you can find is perfect for the job and allows you to mix a smaller version of the cocktail (a Negroni, for example) and give it some added weight with an easygoing kind of wine that does great as a complementary mixer and can also be found at just about every supermarket (or online for delivery).