theFashionSpot: What do you focus on when planning a cocktail menu for a get-together?
Jason Drückenmiller: I like to get inspired by ingredients that are in season. Grey Goose Vodka is a field to bottle brand, so fresh, farm to table ingredients accentuate the spirit very well. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to find seasonal ingredients to build a fresh based cocktail.
tFS: What mistake do novices often make when mixing cocktails?
JD: Complicating the cocktail by adding additional ingredients that are not needed can often take away from the final goal. In order to appreciate the taste of spirit, I recommend keeping it simple and always using fresh ingredients. For example, the Gimlet is one of my favorite cocktails. To create this simple cocktail, combine vodka, fresh lime juice and a little simple syrup. This drink has been around since the late 1920's and history proves great tasting cocktails with minimal ingredients always last the test of time.
tFS: What essentials should everyone own for their at-home bar?
JD: A bottle of Grey Goose is essential, of course! It can easily be enjoyed in a cocktail or on its own by sipping at cellar temperature – a standard refrigerator will achieve this temperature nicely. Also if you are looking to branch out from the ordinary and add a little flavor to your cocktail, try a flavored vodka like La Poire (pear) , L’Orange (orange) , Le Citron (lemon), or Cherry Noir (dark cherry). Essential bar tools include the jigger, cocktail shaker, hawthorne strainer, muddler, a mixing glass and a bar spoon. These tools will help you achieve the ultimate, mouthwatering cocktail.
tFS: If you're trying to create a natural, fresh cocktail, what are some ingredients to use and what are some to avoid?
JD: Citrus is always a great base to start when creating cocktails, as most cocktails call for some acidity for balance. It's pretty easy to locate fresh lemons, limes and grapefruits just about anywhere throughout the year. I usually try to avoid ingredients that aren’t enjoyed by most, like hot chilies for example. You can still utilize chilies in a cocktail to get that peppery flavor, but stay away from the ones with a lot of heat.
tFS: Can you give us recipes for guilt-free cocktails?
JD: My favorite is the Le Mule, which is 1/2 parts vodka (can also use one of the flavored vodkas), 1/2 part fresh lime juice, 2-2.5 parts Ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge. This cocktail is a total of 100 calories.