What Really Makes Craft Cocktails Crafty

Craft cocktails are inviting, delicious, and look great. But what is it that makes a craft cocktail, well, crafty? When compared to classic cocktails, the aesthetics, flavor, and ingredients are more elevated and refined. A craft cocktail is a work of art, which is why some of them fetch a pretty penny at the neighborhood bar.

They are made with curated ingredients, a keen eye for detail, and a ton of creativity. These cocktails are high-end versions of everyday cocktails and are created out of love, like soul food. While the essence of a classic cocktail is simplicity, the essence of the craft cocktail is complicated. 

It's important that they look as good as they taste. So, the mixologist spends extra time and consideration in picking out the perfect glass, colors, and garnishes. Basically, these cocktails are more of an experience than just a drink at the end of the day. They are expressions of art and a reflection of the person who crafts them. Craft cocktails can easily be made at home with a few essentials so the home bartender can show off their own artisanal skills and creativity.

What makes up a craft cocktail?

The first consideration that goes into a craft cocktail is the liquor. Only top-shelf liquor is used due to the quality of their ingredients and their smoothness. The mixers are just as important, especially bitters, because they add balance to the overall flavor of the cocktail. The additional ingredients like vegetables or fruit, aromatic herbs, and garnishes should be fresh and vibrant.

Ice is another major decision in crafting a cocktail. The water in the ice needs to be pure with a neutral taste i.e., not out of the tap. The size of the ice cube is important as well because if the cubes are too small, they will melt too fast and dilute the cocktail. Clear ice has become the industry standard in recent years because it helps the cocktail stand out, and they don't contain the impurities or air bubbles of regular ice.

Although the crafting process may be a bit convoluted, the goal of the craft cocktail is to have complimentary and simple flavors with an elegant look. Just like with any work of art, preparation is the key element. If the prep is done correctly, the results look and taste flawless, and are worth the extra cost.