There are several basic skills I feel I need to have in order to consider myself an adult: know how to set and stick to a budget, be able to cook at least one meal really well, and know how to prepare a classic cocktail. While, obviously, being an adult entails way more responsibilities and requires more knowledge than these three simple things, improving upon these three skills is something that definitely differentiates my post-grad life from my life in my early twenties.
Although large gatherings of people make me uncomfortable, I’ve always enjoyed hosting small groups of friends for dinner or cocktails. In college, having my friends over for a dinner party meant putting some frozen chicken breasts in the oven and opening a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. However, as I’ve gotten older, both my cooking skills and my abilities behind the bar have improved (much to the relief of my guests, I’m sure).
When it comes to learning how to mix cocktails, I think a classic martini is a great place to start. Not only does a martini lend itself to flexibility (as it can be made with either gin or vodka, depending upon the preference of your guest), it’s very simple and requires almost zero prep. I normally use this recipe and then add about 3 tsp of olive brine to make it dirty. As for the garnish, I usually opt for garlic stuffed olives or fresh blue cheese stuffed olives (you can find these in the deli section of most grocery stores), but pearl onions and pimento stuffed olives also make for a tasty presentation.