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The 4 Cocktails Geoffrey Zakarian Says Every Home Mixologist Should Master - Exclusive

Geoffrey Zakarian headshot
Geoffrey Zakarian headshot - John Lamparski/Getty Images

The goals of a professional mixologist are like those of a top chef: Match creativity and precision by employing an in-depth knowledge of flavors, textures, aromas, and ingredients that evoke senses. If you're someone who wants to begin dabbling in this art, it can feel like a lot to grasp. Fortunately, there are some easy places to get started. Mastering just a few key cocktails can elevate one's home bartending prowess from amateur to aficionado.

Geoffrey Zakarian is a Michelin-starred chef, restauranteur, cookbook author, and television personality — and he's also a seasoned mixologist in his own right. Known for his exactitude and discerning taste, Zakarian's social media presence regularly features inventive cocktail ideas, like his white Negroni recipe, for home mixologists. Recently, Zakarian spoke with Tasting Table for an exclusive interview about the essential cocktails home mixologists should know how to make.

Whether you're hosting a soirée or simply seeking to refine your cocktail repertoire, Zakarian identified four classic libations that can serve as cornerstones for any cocktail enthusiast. "You should be good at an Aperol spritz, you should be good at a Manhattan, you should be good at a nice whiskey sour, and you should be good at a martini," said Zakarian. "If you get those, anybody can make a margarita, anybody can have vodka and tonic, gin and tonic, but you want to be good at those four."

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Beverages For Parties, Duos, Or Cold, Solo Indulgences

Geoffrey Zakarian pouring cocktails
Geoffrey Zakarian pouring cocktails - Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

The four cocktails that Geoffrey Zakarian suggests — Manhattans, martinis, whiskey sours, and Aperol spritzes — are considered classics. Yet that doesn't make them easy to perfect. Each requires a bit of skill that, when taken together, represents a higher level of aptitude for home bartenders. Plus, there's a reason that these are the earliest cocktails training bartenders will learn: The mix of simple ingredients and basic techniques result in beverages that are good for groups, couples, or an after-work treat.

The easiest to start? An Aperol spritz. It typically requires only three ingredients: Prosseco or champagne, bubbly water, and Aperol. This drink relies on the proportions more than on how you build it, and by adding an orange slice — or even pear — to your Aperol spritz recipe, you can quickly level up.

Beyond the spritz, a Manhattan or whiskey sour is next in terms of difficulty. Each is a whiskey-based cocktail; the latter should ideally have bourbon; a Manhattan can be made with bourbon or rye whiskey. Both cocktails require practiced preparations. Following a Manhattan recipe will perfect your stirring strategy, while a proper whiskey sour requires two rounds of shaking.

Some might find it debatable, but making a martini might be the most challenging of cocktails that Zakarian recommends. Although it's made with simple ingredients, there is a lifetime of literature dedicated to martini recipes. With so many variables to dial in, mastering this cocktail is a pinnacle for the home bartender.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.