Is anyone ready for a drink yet?

Like many of you, I have been trying to hone new skills while in isolation, and here are some things I've learned so far:

Calories don't count if you cooked it from scratch. Watching yoga videos doesn't require actually doing the yoga. Dance like nobody is watching (hello! @Dnice is on Insta!). Drink like nobody is judging. Since 2006, teaching people how to mix cocktails is one of my favorite things about being The Liquid Muse. So, when groups could no longer gather, I moved my community online. My annual Taco Wars event has been postponed until to October, but in the meantime, here's a crash-course in creating the quarantini of your dreams in the privacy of your own abode.

Set up your home bar:

Cocktail shaker & strainer; ­jigger, muddler and a bar spoon. A knife, cutting board and blender come in handy, too, but with the following items, you can make 90% of classic cocktails. If you're starting out, pick a few and build from there.

Vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey (scotch, bourbon and/or rye), cognac (or other aged brandy). A selection of liqueurs, especially orange liqueur and maybe some ­absinthe.

Citrus and sugar (simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar)and optional add-ons like eggs, cream, culinary lavender, ginger, teas, etc.

Creating your own recipe begins with knowing the classics. Like cooking, learn the rules before you break them. Once you learn correct recipes and techniques, follow the formulas to make your own. Take the Manhattan and swap out gin for whiskey, dry vermouth for sweet vermouth, orange bitters for Angostura, a lemon twist for a cherry—oh, wait! We just made a martini! Yes, classic martinis are made with gin and dry vermouth and follow pretty much the same formula as Manhattans. Note that even though we use the word "cocktail" as a blanket term for booze, not every drink falls into that category. Cocktails are stirred drinks comprised of spirit+ sugar+bitters+water/ ice.

Another true cocktail is the old fashioned: 2 ounces of spirit with bitters, simple syrup (or a sugar cube) and ice (stirred or on the rocks). Try rum, mezcal or cognac instead of whiskey.

The following recipes are built off the classic sour. With each ingredient addition, a new category is created. You can then swap out "this-for-that" to make them your own and impress your friends with your new quarantine skills (from 6 feet away, natch).

SOUR

= 2 parts spirit + 1 part citrus + 1 part sweet

Glass: serve "up" in martini glass or "on the rocks" in double rocks glass

Garnish: lemon or lime wedge/wheel

This is such a common drink type, we don't even realize how often we are drinking them!

Just mix them, shake them with ice and serve!

Lemon Drop: 1 ½ oz vodka, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup

Whiskey Sour: 1 ½ oz whiskey, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup

Classic Daiquiri: 1 ½ oz rum, ¾ oz lime juice, ¾ oz
simple syrup

DAISY

= 2 parts spirit + 1 part citrus + 1 part liqueur or grenadine (this is what jumps the drink from a sour to a Daisy)

Glass: serve "up" in martini glass or "on the rocks" in double rocks glass

Garnish: salt or sugar rim and /or lemon or lime wedge or wheel

This word "daisy" translates to "margarita" in Spanish, and this drink was named for its category, not the other way around. You can create your own daisy by subbing a ­different spirit with a ­different citrus juice and some other liqueur. Some common daisies include:

Margarita: 1 ½ oz ­tequila, ¾ oz lime juice, ¾ oz orange liqueur (optional: ¼ oz agave nectar)

Sidecar: 1 ½ oz cognac, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz ­orange liqueur

Cosmopolitan: 1 ½ oz vodka, ¾ oz lime, ¾ oz orange liqueur (splash of cranberry juice)

Tom Collins with gin and Meyer lemons. Oh. Em. Gee.
Tom Collins with gin and Meyer lemons. Oh. Em. Gee.

COLLINS

= spirit + citrus + sweet + soda ­water/seltzer

Glassware: Collins (tall cylindrical)

Garnish: lemon wedge or wheel and a cherry

Try swapping various spirits and even flavored seltzers. Shake the liquor, juice and simple syrup with ice, then strain over fresh ice in a tall glass and top with soda. Shaking the soda will remove the carbonation.

Tom Collins: 1 ½ oz gin (or vodka for Vodka Collins), ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, club soda

John Collins: 1 ½ oz whiskey, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, club soda

FIZZ

= spirit + citrus + sweet + sparkling water + egg

Glassware: Collins

Garnish: lemon wedge or wheel

When using egg in drinks, first do a hard "dry shake," meaning without ice, then add ice and shake again. Strain over fresh ice in a tall glass and top with soda.

Silver Fizz: 1 ½ oz gin, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, egg white, club soda

Golden Fizz: 1 ½ oz gin, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, egg yolk, club soda

Making the most of a challenging time is a testament to the human spirit. Get squeezing those lemons and make, well, cocktails!

For more cocktail tips, online classes, and to order home bar tool kits, visit TheLiquidMuse.com and join The Liquid Muse Cocktail & Culinary Club Facebook group.