The Definitive Guide to Houston

Spring Spirits: A Bartender’s Guide to Spring Cocktails

in Dining & Nightlife/Shopping & Style by

Josh Alden is the Bar Manager of Midtown hot spot, Mongoose versus Cobra, where he is dreaming up the next great cocktail for his guests to enjoy. After being in the hospitality industry for over ten years, Josh still works at being innovative behind the bar because he believes his customers deserve the best. “I’m here to make sure you have a good time, your drink is your drink,” Josh says when we asked him if there is ever a drink he hates making. Josh’s passionate mindset is with every drink, no matter how simple the ingredients, has room for growth. Viewing it as a constant puzzle, “how can I make a round of 5 cocktails faster?” or “how can I make this ingredient more sustainable, more cost effective for our business?” The physics and chemistry of making a cocktail and all of its ingredients are what keep Josh, and serious bartenders across the city, striving to create the next great cocktail.

Vodka: Vodka is the most flexible liquor, going great with citrus peels and house-made syrups. Because of that, if you ever see a drink that you like the ingredients of but not the liquor it can most likely be swapped for vodka and taste great! Try: Absolut Elyx

Tequila: This spring try out a tequila + spice cocktail, something with jalapeño or peppers or a Paloma made with refreshing grapefruit. Try: Tequila Ocho

Bourbon: Bourbon makes great springtime cocktails that pair very well with herbs like mint.  Try: Elijah Craig Small Batch

Rye: Bourbon’s spicier sibling excels in shaken cocktails like a classic Whiskey Sour, egg white and all. Try: Wild Turkey 101 Rye

Gin: Josh says that Gin was made for springtime, add an orange peel to your gin and tonic for a fun twist on the classic! Try: Avonak Distillery in Houston

Rum: “Rum is going to be the next big thing,” says Josh. You may think that a daiquiri is a drink reserved for the beach, but it is actually one of the hardest drinks to master as it is all about how you mix the 3 ingredients. Try: Casa Magdalena

Josh Alden, Bar Manager at Mongoose versus Cobra

Master Your Home Bar

The simplest drink can be the hardest to make because of the way the ingredients are brought together. Knowing when to stir vs. shake can easily transform you into the goto at home cocktail creator.  

Stir vs. Shake

Spirit + Fat + Bitter = Stir
You’re stirring to achieve a nice, chilled temperature, not wanting to shake and over dilute the drink. 

Spirit + Acid + Fat = Shake
You want aeration and dilution to spread out and open up with ingredients like citrus, dairy, and egg. 

Glassware & Tools

A Collins Glass is used for long drinks and drinks with carbonation, a Rocks Glass should be used for drinks that need chilling and a Coupe glass for stirred drinks and drinks without ice. 

A bar spoon, mixing glade, Hawthorne strainer, gingers, and if you want to be very fancy, a sous vide circulator, are all the tools you need to make the best drink. 

Coupe Glass from Kuhl-Linscomb | Bar Tools from The Monogram Shop | Cocktail Napkins and Gold Shaker from Biscuit Home | Whiskey Glasses and Decanter from Bering’s 

Visit Josh at Mongoose versus Cobra Monday through Friday 4 pm – 2 am and Saturday through Sunday 2 pm – 2 am.

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