You needn’t be an award-winning resort-town mixologist like Tupelo’s Trevor Brown to mix a decent drink. The back-to-back PCARA Cocktail Contest winner took a moment to share a few tips on crafting the kind of elegantly classic cocktails that will keep your next shindig from having the aesthetic of luau night in a frat house basement. Among other pearls of wisdom, Brown said, “It’s very easy to add too much sugar to a cocktail, so err on the side of a touch too bitter or citrusy and add more as preferred,” and, “Practice makes perfect.” There’s your excuse for the extra cocktail next Tuesday night. Tupelo: 508 Main St., 435-615-7700, tupeloparkcity.com

Three Classic Drinks It’s Time to Stop Messing Up

To mix like a pro, start by mastering these three standards.

Margarita “The beloved cocktail that’s often brutalized.”

  • 2 parts tequila
  • 1 part orange liqueur
  • 1 part lime juice
  • ½ part agave nectar

“A margarita needs a salted rim, so do that first. Shake the margarita in a tin shaker for 15 seconds, then pour it over rocks in the salted glass and enjoy.”

Manhattan “It’s a straightforward cocktail, but one that’s easily messed up.” 

  • 2 parts rye whiskey
  • 1 part vermouth
  • Dash of angostura bitters

“Put it in a mixing glass with just enough ice that the liquid covers it. Stir it up for a nice dilution to take the alcohol harshness out of it. Serve it up or on the rocks depending on preference with a lemon twist or cherry.”

Negroni “A cocktail drinker’s cocktail that’s boozy and bitter but goes down easy.”

  • • 1 part gin
  • • 1 part Campari
  • • 1 part sweet vermouth

“Stir in a mixing glass with ice for 10 seconds. Serve it in a rocks glass with a single large rock, if possible, and a twist of orange.”

Bar Essentials

Base Spirits

  • Rye Whiskey: “It blends better in cocktails and adds a little more depth with a spicy character.”
  • Vodka: “You’ll need it for light, easy summer drinks.”
  • Tequila: “A margarita never hurts.”
  • Gin: “A good, dry gin makes a big difference.”
  • Rum: “Start with a good Jamaican rum if you want to get a little crazy.”

Flavorings

  • Orange liqueur of any preference
  • Campari
  • Grenadine
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Sugar cubes
  • An orange & a lime
  • Angostura bitters

See all of our bar coverage here.