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5 simple cocktails anyone can make at home

Can’t go to the bar during the coronavirus pandemic? Make these drinks for yourself.
This homemade whiskey sour is an easy drink to pull off with your at-home bar. [MICHELLE STARK | Times]

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The most basic cocktail recipe usually boils down to equal parts sugar and acidic citrus, with a shot or two of your favorite liquor. With all bars in the state now closed for at least 30 days, those of us who would like a nice cocktail during these troubling times will have to come up with an at-home bar situation.

Easy, peasy. Here are five simple cocktails anyone can make, most made with household staples that are hopefully still in stock at your grocery store.

To make this as easy on yourself as possible, it would be helpful if you had a cocktail shaker, and a way to measure 1 and 2 ounces. And plenty of ice.

Old Fashioned

If you’ve never made this bourbon-based drink yourself, you probably think it’s way more involved than it is. The historically glamorous cocktail sounds fancy, but it’s simple to craft. Opt for a pretty good bourbon. If you don’t have a small bottle of Angostura bitters, now is the time to buy one. It will last a long time. Beyond that, all you need is sugar and a sliver of fresh orange.

1 sugar cube or ½ ounce simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 ½ ounces bourbon or Rye whiskey

Orange peel

Cocktail cherry, optional

Place sugar cube in a glass and saturate with bitters, then add a dash of plain water. Muddle until dissolved. If using simple syrup, just combine the syrup, bitters and water in the glass and stir until mixed.

Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Garnish with an orange peel and a cocktail cherry if you’ve got it.

Serves 1.

Whiskey Sour

This is hands-down one of my Top 3 favorite cocktails to make at home. It’s so easy, and so delicious. When I don’t feel like making simple syrup, I just use honey. This one is best when vigorously shaken.

2 ounces bourbon or whiskey

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce simple syrup

Combine bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.

Strain cocktail into a glass filled with ice.

Serves 1.

Tom Collins

Guess what? For this one, we follow the same formula as the whiskey sour, but with gin instead of bourbon. You could also use honey instead of simple syrup.

2 ounces gin

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce simple syrup

Combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.

Strain cocktail into a glass filled with ice, or a coupe glass.

Serves 1.

Minimalist Margarita

The salt rim is optional but not necessary in this homemade margarita.

2 ounces tequila

1 ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce agave syrup, or simple syrup

Combine tequila, lime juice and syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake for at least 10 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice.

Serves 1.

Jam Cocktail

Yes, this is what it sounds like: a cocktail made using jam. You probably have some in your fridge. Pick any flavor and pair it with either vodka or gin, and a big squeeze of lemon.

2 tablespoons jam, any flavor

Juice of half a lemon

2 ounces vodka

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. You want to shake long enough so any larger jam bits are broken up. Pour mixture into a glass and fill with more ice.

Serves 1.

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