To be an expert bartender you only need to know six classic cocktails.
That’s the premise of “Cocktail Codex,” the James Beard Award-winning book by Death & Co.’s Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan, and Devon Tarby. Get a handle on those six drinks, the authors write, and you’ll be able to create innumerable variations.
They are the Old Fashioned, Martini, Daiquiri, Sidecar, Whiskey Highball, and Flip. In each drink, every ingredient falls into at least one category. Core is the primary flavor; balance enhances the core with sweetness, acidity, or both; and seasoning adds another dimension and complements or contrasts with the core.
Much like “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” Samin Nosrat’s best-selling cookbook-turned-Netflix series, “Cocktail Codex” advises readers to take a holistic, scientific approach to flavors. By understanding how elements like bright, tangy lemon juice balance a rich, heavy ingredient, you can then swap in other sources of acid — grapefruit juice, say, or yogurt — for infinite iterations.
Ready to start experimenting? This infographic illustrates the essential components of Cocktail Codex’s six root cocktails, plus three variations on each.