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The Secret to a Well-Made Cocktail? Sticking to Just Three Ingredients


Drinks By Photo by Colin Price

While the craft cocktail movement has expanded palates, it’s also cluttered back bars. Celebrated cocktail writer Robert Simonson’s book 3-Ingredient Cocktails, available today, stands as an antidote to bloated bar carts — and a starting point for those looking to build a home bar from scratch. It’s loaded with both classic and contemporary recipes, all uncomplicated, easy and incorporating ingredients you’ll actually use.

“One ingredient, you’ve got a nice dram. Two, you’ve got a highball. Get three things to marry together, you’ve likely got a cocktail on your hands,” Simonson writes. “More than three and you’ve got a more complicated cocktail, but not necessarily a better one.” The three-ingredient cocktail, he notes, is pure: naturally balanced and crafted so that each ingredient serves a purpose.

Case in point: the Rob Roy, a drink often overshadowed by its more popular cousin, the Manhattan. For the home bartender, a Rob Roy could not be more perfect. It’s incredibly easy and it doesn’t call for top-shelf blended Scotch — a mid-range bottle is actually the better option.

Rob Roy

Combine 2 ounces blended Scotch, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe. Express a lemon twist over the drink and drop into the glass.

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